How does your restaurant make people feel? If you don't know the answer to that question, consider stepping out your front door for a moment. Then, come back in – not as the owner, but as a new customer. What do you see, feel, smell? Were you greeted well? Does the staff seem happy to see you, or are they hurried and rushed?
The feeling you had when you walked in is the vibe that your diners get each time they walk through your doors. It has to do with the culture that you create in your restaurant, and in this article, we're going to take an in-depth look at it as we discuss how to attract more customers and enhance the vibe of your restaurant. Let's look at how you can attract more customers by enhancing the vibe of your restaurant through the five senses – sight, smell, sound, touch and taste.
The Sense of Sight
What do your customers see when they walk in the door? Are they met with smiles, nice décor and a clean, tidy space? What are their thoughts regarding your décor? Can they tell what you're all about by how your restaurant looks on the inside? If not, it's time to rethink the vibe customers get from the visual aspects of your restaurant. This means what they see from the minute they drive into your parking lot, all the way to their trip to the restroom.
There are a few steps you can take to fine tune the visual vibe you give off. First, you need a vision. Know what you want your restaurant to "feel" like and let that define how it looks. For example, are you a sports-themed restaurant, a modern café, a farm-to-table fast casual place or a warm, cozy spot? Whatever vision you choose, you want to ensure that the theme and vibe carry through from your exterior to your interior. Don't leave anything to chance and make sure it all gels for one cohesive look.
Pay special attention to:
- Wall and floor coverings
- Color scheme
- Furniture style (high tables, low tables, bar stools, banquets – the options are many)
- Table décor (vases, candles, glassware, linens, etc.)
- Staff uniforms
- Dishes and utensils
The Sense of Smell
Your food plays an enormous part in creating the vibe of your restaurant. It's what draws customers in. But did you know the way your restaurant smells also contributes to the vibe? Consider again the Greek restaurant on the corner, or the classic Italian pizza joint. The aroma emanating from the kitchen is another big part of the vibe of the restaurant, helping to create the culture.
The Sense of Sound
The vibe of your restaurant also includes the sense of sound. What are your customers met with when they walk in the door? Is your restaurant busy and loud or soft and quiet? Is your kitchen making a lot of noise? Are staff members huddled together in private conversations? Do you have music playing?
All of these noise makers play in to the vibe of your restaurant. Decide what you'd like it to be and concentrate on making it happen. When it comes to your music, you can bet what your customers listen to while they eat matters. Today's diners want the whole experience, and music is part of it. As with the sights in your restaurant, decide on your music sounds.
This is easy for a restaurant where the vibe is a 50s diner or an authentic Greek restaurant. But, if your restaurant concept doesn't lend itself to a musical theme, what should you do? Consider your restaurant at different times of the day. For example, your lunch crowd may be looking for something to listen to that is unlike what your dinner crowd wants to listen to. Perhaps your dinner crowd is young professionals who just got off work, but your lunch crowd is retirees. You'll find the playlist should rotate with the crowd. If you don't know right off what music you should play, you can ask your diners. Let them set the tone.
You may know that music evokes emotion and helps people remember things. So, it seems if you have the right music playing, your customers will remember the experience they had in your restaurant. Your customers will equate your playlist with the enjoyment of eating in your restaurant as part of the total overall vibe. Music enhances the atmosphere, making diners feel comfortable. You'll find that if your customers like your music selection, it's just another reason for them to revisit your restaurant again.
The Sense of Touch
Yes, the sense of touch plays a part in the vibe of your restaurant. It's actually the texture that contributes. Think of the texture as the surface area. This could be your table tops, your bar counter and your wall décor. Think marble tops, granite slabs, rustic wood, carpet, tile, wood floors, linens, draperies and more. It all works to create your vibe.
The Sense of Taste
Your restaurant menu is the catalyst for the vibe of your restaurant. This is where you'll start when building out your overall vibe and atmosphere. Your food is the instigator. For example, you might serve Italian, Greek, American, Chinese, Thai or something else altogether. But, whatever drives your menu also drives the vibe. So, when organizing the vibe of your restaurant, don't forget to factor in the taste.
To attract more customers, you want to enhance the vibe of your restaurant. This means that your culture, atmosphere and vibe is unique to your restaurant. To do this, know what your restaurant stands for. Are you the Italian restaurant where everyone feels like they just walked into their favorite grandmother's house? Or, are you the hip, modern sandwich shop where diners can feel comfortable eating on their own and escaping all conversation? Know the vibe you want to give off and focus on achieving it through your ambiance, food, décor and your customer service. Work with your staff to help them create this culture each time they work. Teach them that this is what defines your restaurant and sets you apart from the competition.
When they buy into your goals of creating the perfect vibe for your customers, everyone wins – you, your staff and your customers.
Article Courtesy of www.restaurantengine.com