Elevating your restaurant’s ambiance through flooring.
By Kendall Youngworth
Furniture, wall hangings and light fixtures in restaurants all help set the mood of the environment and establish the type of dining experience your customers can expect. Is yours a classy, simple but elegant dining room, a retro-themed diner, or an ornate, luxurious setting? Flooring is an important but often overlooked element in establishing ambience in a restaurant setting.
While flooring serves a very practical purpose in a restaurant setting and needs to perform well under a wide variety of conditions, the aesthetic of a flooring system also goes a long way toward establishing its ambience. With epoxy floor coatings and other fluid applied flooring systems, countless customizable looks can set the tone of your restaurant without sacrificing practicality.
The Importance of Cleanability
Having a nonporous, easy-to-clean floor in a restaurant setting is both an aesthetic choice and a practical one — nobody wants to eat in a setting that appears unclean or unsanitary, and maintaining a clean environment is crucial for food safety and compliance with health regulations. Even with the most careful staff, food and beverage spills are inevitable in a restaurant setting. Spilled liquids on tile or laminate flooring systems can become a slip-and-fall hazard if not cleaned at once, while porous surfaces such as carpet or unfinished concrete are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to thoroughly clean. Unsightly stains and foul odors are typical results.
In a fast-paced restaurant environment, fast cleanups are vital, but it is generally not practical to thoroughly scrub or soak a carpet stain in the middle of the dinner rush, or whenever a patron spills a drink. The smooth, nonporous, and virtually seamless surfaces created by a fluid applied flooring system makes resolving spills as easy as a simple wipe, sweep or mop.
Balancing Performance with Ambience
Restaurant flooring systems also need to be durable enough to withstand heavy foot traffic, scraping tables and chairs, and strong chemical cleaners, as well as slip-resistant to help lower the risk of injury to both employees and guests. But the floor in a restaurant shouldn’t be just functional — unlike furniture or wall hangings, the flooring system stretches the length of the entire establishment, making it the perfect unifying feature to tie together overall design and ambience.
Epoxy and similar floor coatings are at the intersection of function and beauty, adding strength, resilience and ease of maintenance to a concrete substrate, and can be customized to create a wide range of stunning visual effects.
The Role of Color in Establishing Mood
Much research has been done on the “psychology of color,” or the ways in which the dominant colors in an environment impact the mood of people in that environment. The appearance of the flooring system you choose for your restaurant will go a long way toward establishing mood and emotional response, so pick a visual effect that fits your setting.
- Warm tones: Browns, oranges and beiges make a space seem homey, intimate and cozy. Oranges have also been shown to stimulate the appetite.
- Cool tones: Cooler colors like blues and greens are soothing, and create a calm, serene environment. Purple tones are often associated with luxury.
- Solid darks and metallics: Solid dark tones — and even metallic coatings that imitate the look of marble — can be used to give a space a luxurious, modern look.
- Lighter colors: Choosing a lighter flooring system serves the dual purpose of making a space seem larger and of multiplying the light present in the space, which may help save on energy costs.
Adding Texture with Flake and Quartz Blends
Epoxy floor coatings are available in a wide range of smooth, solid colors, but there are also ways to add an element of texture and depth to a colored surface. Flake blends, usually made of vinyl or similar material, are one option that allows for almost unlimited customizability in terms of both color and size. Decorative flake is available in a various sizes, which help create different visual effects and textures. One popular use of decorative flake in fluid-applied flooring systems is to imitate the appearance of terrazzo, a far more expensive, mosaic-style flooring. In addition to terrazzo’s prohibitive price tag, it also simply is not equipped to withstand the daily wear-and-tear of a restaurant setting. Epoxy and urethane flake flooring systems achieve a similar look with greater durability at just a fraction of the cost.
Another way to add texture to an epoxy flooring system is with decorative quartz. Quartz is available in countless colors and color combinations as well as various sizes. Broadcasted into resinous flooring, a smaller aggregate sizes helps create a light to medium texture, whereas larger aggregates create a rough texture. One type of quartz system that typically uses both small and large quartz is the troweled quartz system. Instead of broadcasting the quartz into the resinous coating, the quartz is mixed directly into the resinous coating, then troweled onto the concrete surface. This creates a thick robust system with a smooth surface while still maintaining the visual appeal of the quartz.
Patterns, Logos and More
Additionally, floor coatings can be installed in multiple distinctly colored areas. Geometric patterns in contrasting colors create a clean, modern look, while more organic patterns can be visually stunning and can be made to imitate the look of polished stone, bubbles, marbling or other natural materials. In a large space with an open layout, distinctly colored areas can help establish walkways, section off different areas, and create a natural traffic flow.
For an experienced flooring contractor, the possibilities for these floor coatings are endless. Multiple colors can be used to create graphics or even embed your restaurant’s logo directly into the floor itself, where it will never fade or wear.
Finding the Right Flooring System for Your SPACE
The floor coating that is best for your restaurant should work both functionally and aesthetically. No two restaurants are alike, and flooring is one of the many ways to highlight what is unique about your establishment. Concrete floor coatings add durability and strength to the concrete substrate and enhance safety through slip resistance and cleanability. You don’t have to choose between performance and appearance — pick an epoxy floor coating that visually sets your restaurant apart, and creates the perfect “wow factor” without sacrificing performance.
— Kendall Youngworth is a senior marketing specialist at Tennant Coatings with more than 10 years’ experience assisting clients across many industries in the selection and installation of optimal concrete flooring for their facilities. Minneapolis-based Tennant Coatings is a leader in flooring experience, knowledge and expertise. For more information, visit www.tennantcoatings.com.