Personal and Functional Space
Banquet seating starts as little as 10 square feet per person to allow space for tables, chairs and narrow aisles. In an average restaurant or coffee shop, the banquet seating is generally 12 square feet per person to provide adequate space for the waiter, service stations and traffic paths.
However, in fine dining establishments, banquet seating can take up as much as 20 square feet per person. In general, dining areas in most restaurants take up a total of 60 percent of the space.
In a 100-seat restaurant with a total area of 2,000 square feet, 1,200 square feet of dining space is equal to 60 percent of the total area.
Aisles and Foot Traffic
A person who is seated requires 18 inches of space from the edge of table to the chair back. Likewise, the traffic path between occupied chairs in banquet-style seating needs to be at least 18 inches wide with at least 24 to 60 inches between tables.
Aisle allowances are based on table spacing. Providing 24 inches between corners of diagonal tables allows customer access but no aisle.
Leaving 30 inches of space between corners of diagonal tables allows customer access with a narrow aisle. A 42 inch allowance between squared tables with back-to-back chairs leaves 6 inches for chairs to push out.
Providing 60 inches between squared tables with back-to-back chairs allows for a 26-inch service aisle.
Classic Seating Style
Classic banquet style table placement consists of long rows of rectangular banquet tables or lateral seating with seats on both sides of the table. This setup enables you to have the most seats in a room.
An extra chair can be added where two tables meet if space is limited when tables are placed end to end. Additionally, the head can be seated at the front of the room in this banquet style.
Lateral seating of guests leaves 24 to 30 inches between each person. Divide the room area by 8 when using rectangular tables to compute for your maximum seating capacity.
To maximize the amount of round banquet tables you can fit in a room and allow more seats for guests, place them in a diagonal pattern instead of lateral rows. Round tables can seat more guests than rectangular tables.
A 72-inch-by-30-inch rectangular table can seat six to eight guests, while a table 60 inches in diameter can seat the same amount. Divide the room area by 10 if you're using round tables to figure out your maximum seating capacity.