Setting the Scene at your Restaurant

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Any
disunity between the décor and the theme can create a mental dissonance that
makes it difficult for your guests to enjoy their dining experience.
Atmosphere helps define expectations for a
meal. These are the most important issues to consider when striving for a
cohesive visit.

The
Furniture

What
does your furniture say about your restaurant? People make inevitable
associations with certain styles of décor. If you run a French restaurant you
won’t fill your space with heavy wooden tables and easy chairs. You expect to find warm tones and decorative
patio setting in a Mediterranean bistro.

An appropriate setting tells your guests that you
have put some thought in to more than just the menu. If you are taking over a space that was used
previously for a differently themed restaurant, make sure to dedicate sufficient
resources to correct any thematic mistakes.

The
Menu

That
isn’t to say that you shouldn’t put a great deal of thought into your
menu. After all, people come to your
restaurant to enjoy the food. Food
connects people to their basest emotions: comfort, love, pleasure. Target a specific audience and excel. Your menu doesn’t have to run for pages, the
best restaurants have limited selections, just make sure that everything you
serve is of the highest quality every time.

The
Staff

The
interface between your guest and their experience is your staff. Without them nothing actually works. That means they need to be well trained and
welcoming, ready to smooth out any bumps and prepared to do whatever is
necessary to make the guests’ dining experience perfect.

Staff
can’t be expected to do what you want unless you teach them how. Do you want plates cleared as they are
emptied or should servers wait until everyone is done? How should they upsell
or suggest accessories to the meal? Where does the front of the house end and
the kitchen begin? These are all things
that should be completely clear to all, although everyone should be ready to
pitch in when a crisis arises.

Allow
Customers to Help You Out

One
of the best ways you can be sure that you are meeting your guests’ needs is to
let them participate in the process. Customer review cards are a simple way to invite guest involvement. Insert one in every check you present and
your customer has the option of sharing their opinions with you.

The
next step is to actually take those comments and put them to good use. Split the comments into categories: food,
service, atmosphere and so on. Include
your staff when considering how to address any problems, and of course, let them
know of any compliments. Follow up with any guests who were generous enough to
provide their contact information, so they know you are taking their input
seriously.

Like
a grand ballet or a theater performance, your success is created out of many
different pieces.  Keeping everything
operating optimally takes a continuous effort, but the results can be
spectacular.