Not All About the Food: How Can You Make Your Restaurant More Than Just a Place to Eat?

By Lara Douglas, Contributor

The need (and love!) for food is something unites us. It’s so closely associated with social gatherings with friends and family, and enjoyable experiences. In that regard, going out to a restaurant is more than just having a meal that you didn’t need to prepare – it’s also an opportunity to spend time with loved ones, socialize and have fun.

That being said, restaurants are more than just food. Even if the meal was a little sub-par, a guest’s overall dining experience might be saved by a truly unique and memorable atmosphere. And that is the secret of an amazing restaurant -- creating a cozy and inviting environment that goes above and beyond what’s just on the menu.

Here are a few tips to consider to be one of these restaurants

Decide on a Theme for Your Restaurant and Stick to It

What’s your restaurant’s theme?

When it comes to picking a theme, it mainly depends on the type of food you are going to serve. If you are going for contemporary artsy food, then the interior of your restaurant needs to reflect that.

Your restaurant’s theme needs to be consistent in all aspects of your business -- the furniture, the lighting, the design of the menu, the music, and even the work uniform of the staff. Creating a great dining atmosphere has the power to whisk away your guest from the outside world and make them feel like they are somewhere completely different. It’s a feeling that they will take with them and that will make them come back for more.

Choose Your Stand Out Restaurant Item

What’s your restaurant’s signature dish?

When guests walk by your restaurants, they need to see something that will catch their eye and make them want to come in. Regardless if you choose to put your stand-out item on the outside or the inside, it is important to choose something unusual that people will not expect to see. For example, a 5ft tall chair in front of your restaurant as a decorative item. This will definitely not go unnoticed! But, remember, it needs to fit your theme!

Look for opportunities to add unique details as much as you can. Go for interesting and quirky glassware of plates, a lavish chandelier or a fancy clothing accessory for the staff. Odd items are easily remembered by guests and are highly Instagrammable. They will be spreading the word about your restaurant around in no time.  

Grab Their Attention with Light

Use the right lighting in your restaurant.

According to statistics, approximately 19 million people visit a full-service restaurant and typically in the evening hours. Since it is dark outside, it is the perfect opportunity to create an inviting atmosphere by using light. The type of lighting you need to choose will depend again on what sort of cuisine your restaurant is serving and the atmosphere you’re aiming for.

If you are going for high-class, you can use spotlights on the outside to reflect that. Dimmed light on the inside will add a touch of mystery and coziness. You can also use spotlights at each table to create an intimate feel for your guests. 

If, on the other hand, you are going for a funky steakhouse vibe, you need bright flashing light. A good choice to add more flair to your restaurant is neon lights. Neon lights are immediately associated with Las Vegas -- the place of endless fun and lavish lifestyle. To mimic that feeling, choose to place a big custom neon sign that will be visible from miles away. Also, don’t forget to turn up the volume of that music!

Organize Events in Your Restaurant 

Events are the perfect way of bringing more visitors to your restaurant while also promoting local artists, local bands, or local organizations. Team up with people in your area who have what to offer and offer something back to the community -- something that people will enjoy seeing.

Here’s a quick idea: collaborate with a local artist or a photographer and display their photos or paintings at your restaurant. In this way, you are giving guests the feeling that they are a part of something else which is much more memorable than a meal at a local restaurant. Have the artist come in for a meet and greet session. Auction off the art to guests. This is a winning situation for everyone -- the artist will get noticed by your guests and your restaurant will get noticed by the artist’s followers. It’s also makes for good press!

At the end of the day, food is important but there is something in the experience of dining as well. A good restaurant doesn’t always get its reputation only because the chefs are doing an amazing job; it is also about how people feel while they are enjoying their meal. If you can give them an incredible experience, then they will definitely come back for more.

Lara Douglas

About the Author
Lara Douglas is a young woman who loves interior designing and home decor. She is passionate about new trends and fashion forward home décor ideas. She regularly posts at Neon Signs Depot.