The economy is far healthier today than it’s been in years, and consumer confidence is strong. Consumers are likely to be far more discriminating with discretionary spending of the kind restaurant businesses depend on. If you haven’t worked on the ambience and customer experience of your restaurant in a while, you need to make sure to pay attention. Businesses that don’t stay on their toes are likely to suffer from competitive pressures.
Once you check the lease terms, you should discuss with the landlords what part of the final bill they might be willing to pick up. Considering that the renovations you put in go towards helping improve their building, a contribution is only to be expected. Once you have a financial commitment, you should begin thinking about a plan.
Certainly, updating the flooring, the wallpaper, the furniture and a lot else can help perk up the ambience. These are fairly routine updates to any restaurant. To truly make an update to the restaurant special, it’s important to try to come up with an original approach.
Trying the holistic approach
Most restaurants would directly go to work upgrading the decor. It can help to start on a more abstract level, though, such as thinking about the kind music that you will play for ambience. Your musical ideas can inspire the environment that will go with it. Music has the ability to inspire the imagination.
You don’t need to limit yourself to a playlist when you think about your musical plan, either. You might look into the possibility of live music. The need to set aside live music space could by itself dictate a few design choices. Alternatively, you could consider installing an advanced sound system unlike most restaurants have. At some point, it might occur to you to consider designing the restaurant around the theme of fine music and sound.
Rethinking the menu could be another way to inspire the imagination. You could aim for a theme that blended music, and adventurous menu and beautiful the court together for a consistent overall effect.
Think about your concept for the guest waiting area
At most restaurants, guests waiting for a table to open up tend to be given an unpleasant waiting corner with inadequate seating and no entertainment. The waiting experience can take away from the effect of the dining experience. Some restaurants, though, are beginning to give their waiting lounges the attention that they deserve. It’s isn’t a bad idea to go all out to ensure that customers are comfortable while they wait, with large televisions playing different kinds of entertainment, and high-quality headphones for everyone.
Look closely at the way the waitstaff acts
For restaurants, the schtick that the waitstaff bring to the job is part of the ambience just as much as the décor, the menu and the music may be. You could either go with invisible waitstaff, a super-friendly approach, the Hooters approach, or even the high-tech approach, with robots. Completely rethinking how the waitstaff present themselves can change the experience the restaurant offers.
Think of renovating the parts that no one sees, first
You’ll always find the will to renovate the dining area — it’s the part that customers see and experience. The kitchen, the bathrooms, the pantry, the appliances — these are the parts that restaurants usually keep far past their expiration date. Starting with these areas can help bring a great deal of energy to a restaurant renovation. It inspires with an inside-out energy.
Finally, you need to make sure that you get as much mileage as possible
A restaurant renovation is all about getting your customer base to sit up and take notice. It’s important to get the word out. A number of promotional methods are possible, and you can use anything that works well in your niche. From a food tasting event to a grand reopening and getting local media to cover you, you do need to make sure there’s excitement about what you’ve done to the place.
Ellen Grant has been in the restaurant business for a number of years and always enjoys the chance to share her insights and suggestions on topics like re-branding. She is a regular contributor for several different industry websites.