The following article is a guest post from Felicia Baratz-Savage who is a writer and graphic artist living in Indianapolis, IN. As a contributor for Cooks & Travel Books, she specializes in travel, culture and education.
An old joke says, “Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? It’s got great food, but no atmosphere.”
For many people, both a restaurant’s food and its atmosphere go hand in hand and have equal value in what they look for when they go out to eat. Creating a comfortable and pleasant environment is crucial, as it will also play a factor in whether people choose to come back for a return visit or recommend it to friends.
Here we’ll examine the essential characteristics that draw in customers in terms of ambience and style. These apply to whether you’re an expensive, high-brow spot for special occasions or if you’re a casual local standby.
The mood & style factors
Having an effective atmosphere will go a long way toward making a connection with customers and allowing them to feel at home. Lighting, artwork and seating arrangements all are important factors here. Are the tables too close together? Is the lighting appropriate for a doctor’s office, but not for a relaxing evening? Does the music being played distract from the mood you’d like to set?
Whatever kind of style you want to create, it should be designed with the customer’s comfort in mind and create an appealing environment. If you’re an upscale place, distinguishing yourself as daring or different can be done with some unique décor, such as installing an indoor waterfall or some great artwork. These things will contribute to the impression you make on your customers and can serve as a conversation piece when people speak about your restaurant.
Whatever your style is, make sure that you’re consistent with it. This means that the colors, lighting and even what the waitstaff wears all fit together, without anything being jarring or incompatible. If you’re a causal pub or a formal, fine dining establishment, the mood you set should be conveyed on every level, from the big stuff to the smallest details.
The cleanliness factor
Apart from mood and style, this single factor can undo all the positives your restaurant achieves in creating a great atmosphere. Cleanliness should be a top priority, as it will be the way customers judge you and get a feeling for your trustworthiness. Giving people the sense that you’re organized and clean will let them know what they’ll be served will be worth the money they’re paying, and many customers consider cleanliness a greater priority than the quality of their food.
The whole deal: sight, sound & taste
Over the last few years, the percentages of people who go out to eat has been changing due to the economy, yet when we go out, we want to have a great time in addition to having a great meal. Your restaurant’s ambience is a way of achieving this, and atmosphere can even play a factor in how much people eat. Keep in mind that a good restaurant will be an experience on both a psychological and a gastronomic level, so ensure that your place is comfortable, clean and fun. How you present yourself will be a way of conveying the quality of your establishment and its food, no matter the price on the menu.