When people talk about your restaurant, the last word you want them to use is “boring.” With the stark competition in the Pittsburgh restaurant industry, being boring is a death sentence. Keeping people interested in your place–so much so that they want to keep coming back–truly is an art. If you’re planning a new restaurant, keep these four “make or break” aspects in mind to help ensure the success and longevity of your business.

1. Ambiance

Ambiance

Your customers will immediately get a taste for the type of restaurant they’re visiting as they walk in the door. You want them to feel warm, cozy, and ready to eat. Believe it or not, there is some science behind which colors trigger your appetite and which suppress it, so it’s not a bad idea to do a little research or hire a professional designer before splattering just any color on your walls. The ambiance of your restaurant will also depend on things like the carpet design and condition, the comfort of your seating, the type of tablecloth, and any interesting artwork or statement pieces you might have. As a general rule of thumb, the more interesting and updated your décor, the better the dining experience will be for your guests.

2. Your Menu

Your menu is ultimately going to be the deciding factor in what and how much customers order. Is your menu colorful, clean, and well organized? Do you have appealing pictures of some of the featured items on your menu that might make customers splurge on a juicy, sizzling steak, rather than stick to a cheaper entrée? Your restaurant’s menu has to grab the attention of your customer and pique their interest so that they will want to order an appetizer, a cocktail, an entrée, and dessert!

3. The Food

The Food

Obviously, all the ambiance and mouth-watering menu descriptions won’t mean a thing unless your food looks and tastes good enough to back them up. Keep in mind that we eat with our eyes first, so pay attention to the way you plate and present your food. Don’t skimp on interesting, updated dishes, glassware, and silverware if you really want to make a statement, and try to make your plates as fresh and colorful as possible. If that means spending a little extra to have sprigs of parsley on hand, so be it. Small changes like this can have a big impact on your customers’ overall dining experience. In the same vein, don’t try to cut costs by ordering cheaper food items or switching from fresh to frozen. Your customers will notice and will slowly but surely look elsewhere for more satisfying meals, even if your décor is great.

4. Table Settings

Table Settings

As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. Everything that is (or isn’t) placed on your tables is going to impact your guests, whether positively or negatively. Right down to the salt and pepper shakers, your table settings can absolutely make a difference when it comes to standing out amongst the crowd. In warmer months, maybe your tables are dressed with fresh flowers in a bright-colored vase, whereas candle centerpieces create a warm and cozy feeling in colder weather. These seemingly small details won’t go unnoticed, and they’ll give your guests something specific to visualize when they think back to their experience at your restaurant.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re in the planning stages of your new restaurant or have been in the Pittsburgh restaurant industry for years, doing everything you can to keep your business interesting, exciting, and vibrant is one of the best ways to keep a leg up on the competition. If you need additional resources for funding to give your restaurant or bar a needed makeover, contact the experienced team of lenders at Specialty Group to help you rejuvenate your restaurant, increase business, and keep loyal customers coming back!