When making decisions about new changes in your restaurant, give special consideration to how they will affect all five senses.
Sight – If you’re familiar with real estate then you are very familiar with terms such as ‘curb appeal’ and ‘staging.’
What guests see from the outside is their first experience with your restaurant and you want to make sure that you make a good impression to keep them walking from the parking lot through the door. This also applies inside – what do you see when you first walk in? Also important – what does the food look like on the menu and upon delivery to the table.
Sound – Close your eyes and walk in to your restaurant. How do you feel? Is it loud? Does it sound busy, or worse, does it sound empty? Is the music so loud that you can’t hear the hostess? Or is the music setting a mood that makes it feel like you just walked in to a book store?
Changing up the music is really simple and you will be surprised at how it can impact the experience of your guests. Additionally, adding simple sound dampeners to the ceiling, walls or floor does not necessarily have to be a costly endeavor.
Smell – Before your guests can taste the food they will probably smell the food. But be careful, when you close your eyes and put some earplugs in, do you actually get a cacophony of smells?
There is a fine balance between sweet wafts of fries as they float by the table and a blend of all plates coming from the kitchen. Bottom line here is, if it doesn’t smell good, your guests are not going to want to eat and may leave before ordering.
Taste – This is probably the most obvious sense to prioritize for restauranteurs and is important to keep on the list. Help your guests by creating sample menus that combine different dish tastes for the most optimal overall experience.
Touch – Tables and chairs that look good are great for your eyes but not so much for your butt. When you sit down at your tables, do you want to stay there for a while? What about the texture of your food? That also affects how guests taste and experience your dishes.
When making decisions and thinking about new changes in your restaurant, give special consideration to how they will cater to all five senses. If they are pleasurable to the majority of them, success is sure to come.
Gina Lee De Freitas has 15+ years marketing the restaurant industry. She is the Chief Operating Officer/ Partner at IMM, a digital ad agency.