It’s been said that people eat with their eyes as well as their stomach. But in a restaurant, it’s more than the plate presentation that makes an impact on your patrons’ appetites. Before they walk in the door, and all the way through the journey to the table, your customers are building expectations and forming opinions about who you are, what you have to offer, and whether or not they’ll enjoy their dining experience. Your building’s exterior and internal layout and décor communicate so much about your restaurant’s identity—is it telling the story you want it to tell?
A Restaurant for Today
Does your restaurant feel modern and current? Is it intentionally “retro” or just dated? Clean lines and natural materials are one way of communicating a modern aesthetic, but incorporating styles from decades past must be intentional and with a 21st-century flair. Forgotten spaces with original furnishings can make patrons assume that the cuisine will also be from a bygone era. It can be costly to fully makeover your dining space, but a few intentional design updates can truly transform the experience.
A Clean and Safe Space
Even a current design can leave a bad impression if it looks (or worse, feels) dirty. Conversely, even a dated space can be cozy and appealing if it’s clean and well-maintained. More than wiping down tables between customers, all the public-facing spaces and food preparation spaces must be meticulously cleaned. For a legacy restaurant, one of the biggest improvements can be replacing carpeting (so popular a few decades ago) with modern flooring (such as stone, tile, or wood) that is easier to clean and sanitize. Paired with classic furnishings, fresh flooring can transform “dated” to “stylish.”
Ready for that Closeup
The Instagram fad of posting glamour shots of restaurant meals doesn’t seem to be slowing, and it’s not just a fun way for social media users to make their friends envious. It’s a powerful word-of-mouth tool that is bringing new patrons into restaurants to enjoy meals they might not have discovered on their own. According to a Zagat survey, three-quarters of those who browse food photos on social media choose to eat at some of the featured restaurants. How does this buzz affect your restaurant? Consider your lighting carefully. Harsh fluorescent bulbs or too-dim mood lighting are two extremes that don’t lend themselves to great dinner photos. It’s not enough to create Instagram-able plates—it should be supported with lighting that’s ready for a food closeup.
A great dining experience begins with a welcoming aesthetic from door to table. Pair your great cuisine with an inviting atmosphere and your patrons will reward you!
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