Establishing your brand identity is crucial for your restaurant’s success. Who you want to be and how you want patrons to view you should be major parts of your business plan before you even open.
Developing your brand identity requires more than just marketing. You’ll need to make sure everything within your space reflects your brand and remains consistent. When you want to give off a sophisticated vibe, taking extra care to add finishing touches to your restaurant will go a long way.
Which finishing touches matter? What should you be focusing on as you prepare to open for the first time, or after a brand overhaul?
Let’s cover what you can do to create a sophisticated ambiance in your restaurant that helps to boost your brand identity and make you more successful.
Start From the Inside Out
It only takes a few seconds to make a first impression. For a restaurant, that could mean the difference between a patron coming back or not.
So, if you want to focus on sophistication, start by making sure your business’s theme, aesthetic, and decor all fit the style you’re going for. Your decor and atmosphere will be the first thing people notice, after all.
A good rule of thumb is to start with a deep cleaning. It will offer you a sort of “blank canvas” to work with and allow you to produce a cleaning checklist you can use regularly. There are specific interior design tricks you can use to add sophistication, even on a budget, including
- Choosing warm paint colors
- Using “mood” lighting
- Ensuring the right temperature to make your guests comfortable
- Designing an ideal layout
You don’t have to have a huge business to make it look sophisticated. Even if you have a small space, utilizing colors like crisp white, and using your furniture wisely can make it look bigger. No customer wants to feel cramped while they eat, and many people associate sophistication with large, upscale restaurants. You can foster that environment in your small setting with a few changes.
Let Your Food Speak
People usually get into the restaurant business either because they have a passion for cooking or a passion for people. Either way, you probably love food – whether you’re making it or eating it.
A pretty restaurant with exquisite decor might make a good first impression, but patrons won’t keep coming back or talking about your place if the food is subpar.
The dishes you serve should showcase your brand identity just as much as your design and marketing efforts. Your food should be unique and creative, not something your customers could get anywhere. Sophistication doesn’t have to mean small portions and expensive ingredients. Why not try a new, innovative take on classic comfort food dishes? Or, fuse two cultures for a taste experience your customers will never forget?
One of the greatest benefits of making good food from scratch is the smell that will permeate your business. Using artificial-smelling air fresheners can make some people feel sick and might even be harmful to their health, causing problems like
- Skin conditions
- Respiratory issues
You can freshen up your business with things like live plants or other natural items that will “clean” the air and offer a pleasant smell. However, letting the scent of your food travel through the restaurant will entice your customers even more and boost their appetites before they’re ready to order. Some might argue that the wafting smells of your delicious dishes throughout the restaurant could be a unique form of marketing.
Superior Customer Service
One of the most important “finishing touches” that can give your restaurant a sophisticated ambiance is how your staff treats every customer.
Customer service should be a top priority in every food service business. However, a few specific details can make a big difference. Every person your customers come in contact with should reflect your brand identity.
Before you open (or re-open), take the time to train your staff on what they should do, depending on their roles. Your wait staff, for example, needs to make every customer feel important and seen. Your hostess should immediately address patrons walking in, and your cooks should be flexible.
Your staff should be knowledgeable about everything on your menu, and they should be happy to make suggestions and recommendations while accommodating special needs and requests. That little bit of extra attention will go a long way. It can boost customer loyalty and encourage word-of-mouth advertising to boost your brand.
Whether you’re opening for the first time or trying to take your brand in a different direction, there’s no reason you can’t make effective changes to add more sophistication to your business. Keep these ideas in mind to establish your brand identity, and create an atmosphere that will make every customer feel valued.
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