Why Atmosphere Matters In A Restaurant

While food is the star of a restaurant, it’s the atmosphere or ambiance that keeps a customer returning. Dining at a restaurant shouldn’t just be about the meal itself, but also about the experience. How many times have you gone to a restaurant and enjoyed your dinner, but never returned because the service was sub par or the music was too loud? Take your culinary academy education and keep people coming back to your restaurant.

How to determine the ambiance of your restaurant
The atmosphere of your restaurant should reflect the food you serve and your customer base. If you serve upscale French cuisine, it wouldn’t make sense to blast heavy metal music, and if your main customer base is 20-somethings looking for a greasy burger and a good beer, you wouldn’t invest in white linen tablecloths. For that upscale French restaurant, there should be soft music and dim lighting, and the servers should be dressed to reflect the price and quality of the food. For the hip bar, however, the staff would be able to get away with jeans, the music could be run on a jukebox, and the decor could be edgier. When crucial elements to a restaurant like decor, menu and customers don’t match, it’s awkward and doesn’t seem like a lot of thought was put into the design.

Attracting and keeping customers
It seems to hold true that restaurants that depend on hot waitresses or cheesy gimmicks to get customers in the door don’t serve food that’s anything to write home about. A good atmosphere isn’t the same thing as a restaurant made to look like a jungle or a sports bar that has waitresses in tiny outfits serving mediocre deep fried food. A good atmosphere means that the restaurant is an enjoyable place to spend time. If you’re trying to appeal to an eccentric crowd, a playlist of new wave music might keep people at the table for a couple of hours, ordering craft cocktails after their meal. If you want to keep a local crowd of sports fans in the bar, be sure to always have the televisions tuned into games. This will make your restaurant a prime location when a local team is playing.

Where to start
If you’ve already determined that what kind of customer base you’re looking to attract and what kind of food you’ll be serving, it’s time to get into the smaller details of restaurant ambiance. These are factors to keep in mind when you’re establishing your restaurant.

  • Seating: You want your customers to be comfortable, but you also want to fit as many tables as you can in the restaurant. Find a way to do both.
  • Music: Loud or soft? Classic or hip?
  • Lighting: Natural lighting works great during the day, but how about in the evening? Consider installing dimmers so you can adjust the restaurant’s lighting depending on the time of day.
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