THE BLOG
11/17/2016 04:53 pm ET Updated Nov 18, 2017

5 Ways Restaurant Owners Can Improve the Feel of Their Restaurants

Some restaurants are more popular than others. Sometimes it's the food, but most of the time it's because of the feel of the place. The meal is just part of the experience. It's the time spent before and after talking, laughing, and enjoying the company of your family and friends.

If your restaurant doesn't have this scene the chances are it's something to do with the feel. Some simple changes can alter the feel of your restaurant and make it stick out in people's minds.

Choose a Theme to Stand Out

Look at so many failed restaurants and it becomes clear that a huge number of them had no theme. They served certain types of food and set out some tables and chairs. That's not enough to make sure that people are going to keep coming back for more.

The best restaurants gain lots of repeat customers because they create memorable experiences. Keep in mind that going to a restaurant is all about the experience. A memorable experience will encourage them to come back in the future. To create a certain feel, you need to choose the perfect theme.

There are no rules on what that theme is. It just must be memorable, it must be original, and it must be embodied in every facet of your restaurant.

Use Light Strategically

The power of light shouldn't be underestimated in a restaurant. The way a restaurant is lit can make a huge difference to how people feel when they're in there. In general, you should be looking to use as much light as possible. Nobody likes sitting in the dark among shadows.

Some restaurant owners attempt to change things up with light, but the truth is well-lit has always worked and it continues to work. You can have some stylish or trendy lighting options, but overall people should be able to see clearly and they shouldn't feel like they're sitting in a dungeon.

Try to illuminate those dark corridors and reduce the amount of shadowing. You'll be shocked at how much of a difference it can make.

Promote Healthy Food Choices

2017 is set to continue the trend of healthy food choices becoming more prominent in restaurants. The fact is that healthy foods are becoming more popular and patrons have come to demand them. Regardless of the type of restaurant you're running, add some healthy food choices to the menu.

Scientists have been studying the effects of healthy food on the body for years. They have concluded that people are naturally happier and more energetic when they make healthier food choices.

So, what effect does this have on your restaurant?

Happier customers. And when customers are happier they're more likely to come back and share their experience with friends and on social media.

Stop Catering to Everyone

This may seem counterproductive to completely ignore some people, but it's the only way to create the right feel. You can't create a quiet family-friendly atmosphere if you also want to cater to the rowdy crowds who want to eat heavy and drink hard. Pick one.

Make the feel of your restaurant a staple of your reputation and the customer experience. Think about who the ideal customer is and cater to that group only. When people get the experience, they want, they're more likely to come back. Don't compromise on this.

Play with the Noise Levels

The sound systems at your restaurant can have a massive effect on the feel of the place. Get your staff to monitor the noise levels and report back to you.

The first rule about noise in a restaurant is that during busy periods the noise shouldn't be coming from you. Your sound systems shouldn't be drowning out your patrons. Your customers shouldn't have to shout at each other to be heard. Turn the music down.

Likewise, during low periods, you should turn the sound up slightly to give the restaurant an atmosphere. If there are only a few people in the restaurant they shouldn't feel like they're alone. They should feel as if they're in a bustling, warm establishment.

The music you play depends on the restaurant's theme, but it should never be obnoxious. The best music has no lyrics so it doesn't interfere with the conversations going on between customers. Simple is usually better, but don't be afraid to experiment.

Conclusion - It's a Learning Process

Every restaurant is different and every restaurant's clientele is different. There are no solid rules for how to improve the feel of a place. You need to figure out what works and you need to go out of your way to experiment. This is why in this business it takes time to be successful.

What tips do you have for improving the feel of your restaurant?