Even though you know your restaurant serves delicious food and can offer customers an experience they won’t forget, you need be able to communicate that to everyone else. The best way to make the wider world aware of your wonderful restaurant is to choose a theme that conveys its high-quality characteristics.
This can be a bit tougher than it sounds. To give the decision all of the care that it deserves, you might need a little assistance. These helpful tips can hopefully lead you to the theme that perfectly fits your vision for your restaurant.
Consider Your Location
Just as realtors always stress the importance of a property’s location when clients are looking to buy a home, you need to take your restaurant’s location into account when picking its theme. If your restaurant is in an area with a lot of businesses nearby, you will want to pick an upscale theme that is suitable for these companies. If you choose wisely, the employees will not only visit your restaurant for their own lunch or dinner, but they will likely host business meetings and clients in your space.
Contrastingly, if your restaurant is in an area with a lot of playgrounds, parks, and stores, you want to gear your theme towards families. When there are activities in the area that families love, you can be sure that they’ll visit your establishment for a meal or a quick snack. Wherever your restaurant is located, consider what theme will appeal to the people in the area and bring them into your business.
Know Your Competition
While you may think you have the perfect theme to compliment your restaurant’s location, you also need to be sure that another restaurant in the area hasn’t also singled out that same concept. Do your research by visiting other restaurants in person and looking at their websites. You’ll want to look at what kind of food your competitors offer, what kind of an audience they attract, and how they price their menu.
If one of your competitors has a similar theme to the one you had your heart set on, think about how you can make it better. Try to gauge the areas in which your competitor is successful with the theme and where they fall short. With careful observation, you can spot where the theme would benefit from some improvements or changes. You can then implement that theme with some tweaks, setting up your restaurant for success and skipping the mistakes.
Target The Right Audience
While the location of your restaurant may partially determine your audience, many areas will have a diverse population with a range of potential customers. The theme of your restaurant is going to bring in certain demographics and you want to be sure that you’re prepared to serve the people you’re attracting. When you make the business plan for your restaurant, research the demographics of your area and choose your target audience from there.
Do you want to target on-the-go millennials or couples settled in their retirement? Or do you want your restaurant to be a hub for families with children and youth sports teams? As each of these groups will require a different theme, you will want to make this decision early on.
Millennials are typically eco-conscious and technology-focused. They will want to see sustainable efforts, such as reclaimed wood tabletops and paper straws. They’ll also look for speedy wifi and a streamlined ordering process. Older couples will likely be focused on a homey and welcoming atmosphere, and families will look for a space with plenty of kid-friendly accommodations. No matter who your target audience is, focusing on their needs will be a huge help in determining your restaurant’s theme.
Define What Inspires You
Unless you just woke up one day with the sudden urge to open a restaurant, you probably have a source of inspiration that drove you to go into this business. The key to settling on your restaurant’s theme is often hidden in this inspiration. Sit down with a pen and some paper and start writing out why you wanted to open a restaurant in the first place. If writing isn’t how you process your thoughts, ask a friend if you can talk it out with them.
Inspiration can be found in many different places. Maybe you have a signature dish that you think deserves to be a restaurant’s main attraction. Perhaps you loved the dishes your parents made for you during your childhood and you want to spread those lovely memories to others. It could be that you noticed your community was lacking a restaurant focused on vegan dishes that are healthy and tasty. Once you find the root of your initial inspiration to start your restaurant journey, you may also be able to find the theme that has been right in front of you all along.
Choose Your Service Style
Not every restaurant serves its customers in the same way. There are fine dining establishments that require guests to make reservations weeks in advance and have a menu complete with different courses. In contrast, there are fast casual restaurants that focus on simpler dishes they can make quickly for customers on the go. Covering the middle ground between these two options are family-style restaurants, which cater to customers who want a casual sit-down experience at a wood tabletop with plenty of meal options for themselves and any little ones.
If you’re struggling to choose a service style, think about the menu you plan to offer. Italian food and American classics, like a burger and french fries, are perfect for a family-style restaurant. However, pricey seafood entrees might not appeal to a child’s palette or busy adults looking for a quick dining experience, and therefore may be best reserved for fine dining restaurants. Once you find your service style, you can zone in on the themes that will work for that style.
The possibilities for your restaurant’s theme are practically endless. The most important factor to consider is what theme completes the unique vision you have for your restaurant. Choose a theme that feels right in your gut and you won’t have any regrets!