It’s no secret that diners want to see premium features when
they go out to eat. It gives them the impression that they are enjoying
something special. In the food-service industry that panache quickly converts
into positive brand buzz. The question is at what point does that premium
service cut off? Does it just apply to food, or does a restaurant’s furniture
also provide that feeling of “premium” pleasure?
Common Premium Labels
When customers think about premium offerings on the menu
they are looking for alternatives that they consider better than standard
items. Sweet potato fries as opposed to just french fries, for example. Current
favorites include portabella mushrooms, pretzel buns, ciabatta rolls and
fancier cheeses. Just adding those items can boost sales and increase revenue.
It seems almost as if the more options you offer a customer,
the more they will feel that you are offering a premium, even if your bottom
line is no higher. By pushing these
premiums many limited-service restaurants have created a lot of buzz and moved
themselves up the ladder of customer satisfaction.
Translating Premium into Other Aspects of the
Of course, when you consider a traditional sit-down
restaurant, serving meals on a pretzel is not particularly practical – unless
you serve gourmet burgers. Expanding your options certainly does help, but it
will take more than a few additional side items to create the feeling of
indulgence that premium implies.
One of the easiest ways to upgrade your restaurant is to get
better furniture. Moving away from the classic laminated four-top and
plastic/metal chairs creates a completely different ambiance. High backed
wooden chairs and wood or glass tables make your dining room rise to the top
with class. If you run a bar, you might skip the peanuts and shells on the
floor and instead opt for finger foods and cushioned stools.
Your furnishings say a lot about the type of restaurant you
Stress Quality over Quantity
You can’t pick up a paper these days without seeing some
medical professional bemoaning the fact that portions have gotten bigger. Along
with those big servings comes the idea that quality has decreased, and in some
cases it has. Most diners automatically associate more modest servings with
better quality, even if it isn’t the case. If you opt for the quality over
quantity strategy, make sure you let the guests know about your choices.
Serve local beef that is grown in pastureland rather than in
a feed barn. Select some organic ingredients and local producers that create
products in small batches. Alter your menu to make the most of seasonal foods,
even if you can access them all year long. Just think how coffee drinkers wait
for pumpkin based drinks after Labor Day even if they can have them all year
long. Assigning a limited period of availability to something makes it more