March 20 2014 – Robert Fiumara
If you take a drive down any street in any town in America, or around the world, the one thing you are probably guaranteed to see is a multitude of dining establishments. That’s right, restaurants are everywhere, and they come in all different shapes and sizes.
Whether it’s based on the type of food served, the intended atmosphere, or the gimmicks that restaurateurs offer, you can bet there is truly limitless potential for establishing the intended experience your restaurant offers to diners. Managing those options and making the best selection for what you want your customers to experience may be the hardest job you have in starting your restaurant or even re vamping the one that you already have.
Determining the best atmosphere and experience for your restaurant can be daunting but it all depends on your straightforward answers to a few simple questions. As long as you’re honest about your expectations and desires, you can make the experience of dining in your restaurant excellent.
Finding Your Atmosphere
The first thing you need to sort out is the menu you plan to offer patrons. The type of food and the style of its preparation are critical factors in determining what your restaurant can be and what kind of experience you can provide. For example, if you plan on offering an expansive menu with many different selections, you may want to offer a more traditional dining atmosphere.
By that I mean shut your kitchen off from guests, and let your front of the house staff manage guests, their complaints and concerns, while you focus on producing at the highest level of quality you can. If you plan on offering a varied menu with a lot of options for customization, then you won’t make it through your first shift trying to interact or help your customers.
Options, options, options
If on the other hand you want a small restaurant that offers limited options, or you’re one of those chefs who doesn’t believe in shaping your dishes to the whims of uneducated customers with unrefined palettes, then consider a different feel for your restaurant.
For example, maybe you’re considering partnering with a few local producers to provide a limited daily menu, depending on what you can get on that particular day. The plan is to produce two different options each day, a few small appetizers, and one desert. You aren’t going to be taking any requests for customization from your patrons, and work is more about getting there and working through the huge number of orders you’re going to get. In this case it might be worth it to consider opening up your kitchen.
By placing it in the center of the restaurant, or at least so that your guests can see it, you allow them to interact with the process of producing their food. They can see what exactly goes into their meal, and they can get a chance to interact with you and your staff. This will create a cozy and quaint atmosphere at your restaurant. Guests will feel as though things are a lot less formal. They will see their food being made from order to delivery, and they will get a chance to learn more about you and your staff. This allows you to really craft the experience you want to provide, and make sure that you’re guiding guests through every part of the dining experience.
This is not an exhaustive list of the considerations that need to be made when trying to craft an atmosphere for your restaurant. Figuring out your menu does however give you the best chance of building the atmosphere that you want for your restaurant from the ground up.