Opening your own restaurant can be quite the challenge and it is one that many food lovers like to take on. But an appreciation for great tasting food is not the only thing a restaurant owner needs to perfect to keep the customers rolling in.
Whilst the food is certainly one of the most important aspects of a restaurant, it is the experience as a whole that will keep the customers queueing – or have them running for the exit.
The reality is that people can find good tasting food anywhere and if they struggle, they can find a recipe themselves and whip up their idea of a perfect meal at home instead.
But what is much more difficult to come across is a restaurant that serves high quality food, with fantastic service, mouth-watering drinks and an all-round unforgettable experience.
Achieving the perfect restaurant ambience is not an impossible task and if you are determined to stand out from the rest of the restaurant crowd, then creating a flawless atmosphere should be at the top of your priority list. Here are the tips from Nucleus Commercial Finance to achieve just that…
Hire and Train the Right Kind of People
Often, it is not just the food in a restaurant that forms the lasting memory of a particular restaurant. Most individuals remember how good – or bad, the service they received was. Dealing with waiting staff that go above and beyond can completely transform the experience for diners, and equally, a bad encounter can leave a sour taste in the mouths of your customers.
Firstly, make sure that you are hiring staff that enjoy being sociable. Choosing a people person to be the front of house at your restaurant is a must, and all of your waiting and bar staff should be confident individuals who do not mind being put in front of large crowds of people.
Secondly, you need to ensure that your staff are attentive. Train them to recognise instances where customers need a little bit of guidance with ordering and help them develop a keen eye for when customer’s glasses need refilling.
Lastly, your staff need to be knowledgeable. They should know the menu like the back of their hand, they should be able to make suggestions based on diet preferences and it is always a nice touch when waiting staff have the right knowledge needed when it comes to assisting with choosing a fine wine. Holding regular tasting sessions for food and drink will make your staff feel included and empowered to advise customers.
If your restaurant business is starting to pick up and you are at the stage of needing to hire new staff, it is definitely worth investing the extra money into getting the right people into the job. If your cash flow is somewhat limited currently, you can always utilise theavailable to businesses to fill the cash flow gap and hire the best people for your restaurant.
Experiment with Menu Items Regularly
It is of course a good idea to keep the most popular items on your menu at all times, as many repeat customers often go back to the same restaurant time and time again because they fall in love with one specific dish. Places can be launched into restaurant stardom thanks to one particular meal they have perfected, so always keep your bestsellers available.
But there are also plenty of customers who like to be spoiled for choice, so mixing up the menu and swapping things every now and again is also a good approach to take.
Your kitchen staff will thank you for it too, as preparing the same meals constantly will most definitely get a little repetitive – and without passionate kitchen staff who love what they do, that trademark dish that keeps the customers coming back might start to lose its magic.
Create a Welcoming Waiting Area
If your restaurant can become a pretty hectic place during weekends when socialising is at its peak, then it is likely that your customers will be spending some of their time waiting – especially if they have not managed to make a reservation.
Most people do not mind waiting, providing that their waiting experience is not an unpleasant one. You should avoid having customers waiting in foyer areas and outside in the cold at all costs. Create a warm, welcoming area that your customers can enjoy themselves in while waiting for a table.
To keep them really happy, try offering them a tasty starter along with a drink, or have your staff circulate with a canape selection.
Make Splitting the Bill as Easy as It Should Be
These days, splitting the bill is more common than ever before. Large groups of friends enjoy dining together regularly, and even couples like to pay half and half at times. Rather than expecting your staff or customers to grab a calculator and work it out themselves, invest in technology that you can recommend to customers in your restaurant for this purpose.
There are functions available that will automatically split the bill between the number of people dining. Some even allow each customer to pay for their part of the meal individually, meaning that there is never one poor customer having to foot part of the bill for a very expensive bottle of wine, when they chose to sip on bottled water instead. Apps like Splitwise mean that there are no arguments about who owes what – a single person can pay the bill to reduce hassle and the other guests can pay them back automatically through the app interface.
And lastly, it goes without saying that live entertainment is part and parcel with delivering the best experience for your diners. Additional entertainment can meant that customers are more likely to stay longer, drinking and eating more than they would otherwise. Whether you choose to have musicians quietly strumming away on their guitar in the background, or opt for a singer to wow guests on the piano during a stage performance, providing in-house entertainment is one way to fast-track your restaurant to the top of the leader board in the minds of your customers…