What Makes a Great Restaurant
What makes a great restaurant is more than just the delicious culinary masterpieces you create, but it’s also the customer experience and service you provide. Plenty of restaurants provide great food but fail in online reviews complaining of poor service and an unfriendly ambiance.
If you want your restaurant to be successful, you must make sure all your bases are covered. Let’s take a look at the keys to success for restaurateurs.
On the Front End
Everything on the front end includes what the customers see. The front-end management of your restaurant is crucial because it’s what attracts people in, or pushes them away.
Delicious Food 😋
The biggest draw for any restaurant is the food. You best be sure most of your time will be going into menu planning. Define the style of your cuisine and put love and care into every dish - trust us, it shows.
Another tip for the food is to go for higher quality ingredients if it’s within your budget range. Try not to skimp on the quality to save on the price because your guests can taste the difference. You want your restaurant to be known for its top-quality ingredients and a delectable mix of flavors that are sure to bring repeated business and good reviews.
Location, location, location! Where your establishment is located can make all the difference. It should be in a place where there is relatively heavy foot traffic. Being near attractions such as a park, shopping mall, or even in the heart of downtown will see more potential customers.
However, it’s not as easy as renting an expensive space where many people frequent. You also have to make sure your chosen spot is suitable for your restaurant concept and target demographic.
Decorations and Ambiance 🎊
When considering the restaurant concept, you should also think about the theme, decor, and how to create a special ambiance. For example, if you’re planning on serving Mediterranean food, a good idea for the theme and decor is a seaside feel sprinkled with light and bright colors.
When guests patron a restaurant, they want an experience that only your establishment can provide. Make sure to give them what they want by creating a one-of-a-kind experience. The colors to the style of the furnishings and even the lighting can complement the menu and transport your diners to where the food is from.
Is it a cafe in Paris, or a luxury bistro somewhere in Germany? Use the decorations and concept of the restaurant to realize your vision.
Behind the Scenes
Behind-the-scene elements are everything the customers can’t see, such as business operations and fund allocation. How your restaurant is managed and marketing tactics can tie everything together to portray a well-run business.
Good Business Management 📋
Good business management will make sure your staff members are happy and things run smoothly. In our experience, things work best when the owners step up. It also helps if you could put in some face time with customers, especially the ones that frequent your restaurant. It adds a personable element that is irreplaceable.
Keeping your employees happy with bonuses, employee-of-the-month perks, paid vacations, staff trips and a good tip system can make all the difference. Disgruntled staff can lead to burnouts, a high employee turnover rate, and poor customer service.
A big part of restaurant success hinges on the marketing strategy (read our article How to market your restaurant). Anything from word-of-mouth to handing out flyers and online marketing are crucial elements to your success. In fact, marketing is where most of your revenue will go. Marketing can make or break your restaurant, so it’s definitely not somewhere you want to cut corners.
Marketing is split into two main categories: online and offline marketing.
Online Marketing 💻
Digital marketing can still cost a pretty penny, but it is one of the most efficient and effective ways to get your restaurant out there. Never underestimate the power of social media marketing. You can also focus on e-mail marketing by sending out newsletters with updates and the latest information about your restaurant.
Offline Marketing 🤝
Offline marketing is a great way to establish interpersonal relationships and build rapport with partners and customers. Think about hosting events, this is especially effective and welcomed around the holidays. Local advertising and community outreach such as sponsorship programs and volunteering your time for a good cause will not only give you more exposure but also foster a positive impression.
It’s in the Intangible 🥳
The intangibles are what we cannot perceive. It’s the indescribable feeling that the customers get when they step foot into your establishment. Customer service and a unique selling point are two intangible elements that can propel your business forward.
Exceptional Customer Service and Experience 😊
Aside from your food and marketing, the customer service you provide is another characteristic of a successful restaurant. Your wait staff, hosts and hostesses, and chefs should always be friendly and helpful, making your customers feel welcomed and valued.
Other aspects that can contribute to the customer service and experience are well-priced dishes because no one wants to pay an arm and a leg for subpar quality, and customer engagement.
Waiters and waitresses don’t need to engage in long-winded conversations with guests, but a friendly greeting and checkups once in a while will definitely help raise the bar for tips.
How you handle criticism and complaints will also reflect your customer service quality. While you don’t necessarily have to follow the “the customer is always right” concept, rectifying the situation if you’re at fault could prevent negative reviews.
A Unique Selling Point 💵
Lastly, there must be something unique about your establishment. You have to set yourself apart from the competition. It’s not enough to just have amazing customer support, yummy food and effective marketing. What makes you different from the rest? Maybe it’s a special theme with matching dishes that fit into the concept, or a signature fusion dish that guests can’t find anywhere else.
Define what makes you unique and make the most of it. Just make sure that everything you do is in keeping with the restaurant concept you choose.
Most restaurateurs aim to be the best, but not everyone can claim that title. Ensuring success doesn’t mean you need to be at the top of the pyramid. Having a loyal customer base with consistent raving reviews about your establishment due to your delicious food and wonderful customer service is really what makes a great restaurant.
Your Take a Seat team