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Writing an Interior Design Brief for Hospitality.

August 3, 2017

Establishing a project brief for your new café, restaurant or bar interior is the first step in understanding your aspirations and functional requirements for your new venture.  This all-important document will enable you to prioritise the elements that are key to a successful design.  It is also an important element of your business plan and will be a foundational statement against which your business success can be continuously measured.


The value of a successful hospitality interior cannot be overstated.  It is often the draw-card for interested customers, before they even see the menu.  The power of the often-illusive ‘ambience’ can make or break a business, but creating ambience is more than tea-lights and a good play list.  Engaging an interior designer is as key to your success as engaging a chef to write your menu. 


An interior designer will require your brief in order to prepare a scope of works and fee proposal for you.  Once engaged, your designer will develop your initial brief into a much more detailed checklist of functional and aspirational parameters (sometimes referred to as a return-brief), assisting you to think through the finer details that may not immediately come to mind.


Your initial interior design brief should provide the following information as a minimum.  Hypothetical answers have been provided to assist your response: 



Business Name: CoLAB Coffee

Business Description: Specialty café offering a unique range of single origin grounds and small complimentary range of pre-prepared food items.

Business Location: Hardware Lane, Melbourne.

Target customer: Mainly tourist traffic, exploring the center of Melbourne’s iconic laneway culture, with a small local community of inner-city dwellers. 

What type of experience are they looking for? Customer is seeking an iconic Melbourne ‘coffee’ experience with fast-service takeaway and short-stay dining.

Business Hours: 6.30am – 4.00pm Monday-Friday / 8.00am – 3pm Weekends.

Business Format: Predominantly take-away offering with limited short-term interior seating (non-serviced).

Brand Identity: If the business brand has been developed, please provide samples of the logo, website, menu etc.



Premises area:  30m2 total

Lease (if applicable): 5 years

Existing interior elements to be reused: Cool-room, grease-trap.

Existing services to be reused: Air conditioning, commercial cook-top/oven and extraction canopy.

Landlord restrictions: Exterior shop front finishes cannot be changed.

Local council restrictions: Heritage overlay to this laneway may restrict signage design.



  • To offer an authentic Melbourne café experience.

  • To establish a solid community of inner city dweller ‘regulars’.

  • To create an atmosphere of retreat, but also of friendly, vibrant community.