Seven Things Your Restaurant Needs Besides Killer Food
If you’re starting a restaurant, then it might seem the sensible priority that your food is the most important thing to your success. However, that might not strictly be the case. A restaurant is much more than just the food you serve, it’s the experience that comes alongside it. It’s the brand, it’s the look, and it’s how you make you patrons feel. As such, you’re going to need to nail a strong brand, and here are seven ways you can do just that.
Make a big statement
People don’t just come to the restaurant because it’s a good place to eat. To many people, restaurants are also physical destinations and a place to go out to and be seen at. As such, it’s important to invest in making it as appealing a destination as possible. Finding a good location to appeal to foot traffic and catch attention and key. From there, you need also invest in some visual merchandising, whether it’s displaying some items that adequately advertise the “vibe” or aesthetic of the place, or simply a high-quality, unique sign that helps to divert eyeballs towards it. It’s a good idea to make use of the same kind of furniture and aesthetic inside and extend it outwards, such as having an outdoor dining table.
The customer service is key
A big part of the restaurant experience is just how the customer feels like they are being treated by your staff. People go out to restaurants to be treated well. What this looks like for you depends on the kind of atmosphere you want to create, whether you want a more relaxed and friendly eatery or want a formal, or even pampering experience. What’s crucial is your team is a) given the kind of restaurant hospitality training that they need to consistently deliver a great experience and b) that they are given the respect and good treatment they deserve. Happy employees are much better able to invest the energy into ensuring happy customers.
Create the right scene
Of course, that dedication to the visual aspect of the restaurant should continue inside, not just be something you hang at the front door. A great dining atmosphere is essential, so having some unifying thought and design behind it crucial. A lot of people tend to go with the theme of the cuisine, such as a specific nationally, and reinforce it with the decor. Others go with a certain period of decor, and others come with more unique twists still. Investing in high-quality decor materials such as hotel quality tablecloths from Richard Haworth is essential. Otherwise, take the term to find your own unique typography, wall art and light fixtures to really nail the style.
Your own branding materials
When people come to the restaurant, you want them to leave with a very memorable experience of not just the food, but also the brand. The better they remember it, the more likely they are to not only come back but to recommend the place to their friends, as well. As such, think of locations and items on which you can thoughtfully place the brand. Having it on your menu is obvious enough, but you can also have custom glassware printed with your logo on them from teams like HelloPrint. The brand is communicated by more than just the visuals, as well. For instance, what kind of music you select can either reinforce or clash with the aesthetic of the restaurant. For instance, playing Caribbean originated or inspired music in a Caribbean restaurant only makes sense.
The online experience
Some restauranteurs have trouble creating an experience on the internet that has any ties to the kind of experience their diners can expect in the restaurant itself. The lack of a 3D space and the inability to engage the important senses of smell and taste might make it seem like your options are limited. However, you can’t skip the online world when it comes to marketing, nowadays, and your website is the most important online marketing material of all. Working with a professional web designer to create a website that is bespoke and takes inspiration from the design and spirit of the restaurant is important. However, your online experience can go a lot further than just how you market to your customer, nowadays. It can also include ways to tie the service you provide to your customer, too, such as allowing them to make reservations online.
The social experience
Social media is undoubtedly one of the most potent tools when it comes to making your restaurant more visible, growing a supportive community, and fostering real customer loyalty. As such, you shouldn’t hesitate to make use of it and to start getting in touch with your customers. Social media management tools like HootSuite make it easier than ever to be engaged on not just one account but multiple if you have multiple platforms. You can share interesting content, boost positive reviews, and even offer customer support all from the one platform.
A balanced reputation
Restauranteurs will rightfully fear the critic, but there’s never a situation in which you should try too hard to “take down” a review. If it’s patently false, only then it’s worth trying to take down. Mishandling a poor review can quickly become a major hassle for the business. If you provide a great experience and great food, you can still expect some negative reviews but the overall should skew in the positive. As such, you should do what you can to attract reviewers, short of offering so many free meals that you operate at a loss. For instance, you can encourage customers who engage with you on social media or who visit your website to leave a testimonial, serving as the positive social proof that can be a very convincing tool for potential patrons in future.
Naturally, on top of all of the aspects that your restaurant needs to nail, as described above, you do still need to serve some top-quality food. You can brand the business however you want, but you’re going to need to back it up with the eating experience, too.