To improve the business of a restaurant, the owner may first start with improving the food and drink or paying for more promotions. Most of the restaurant owners do not consider the ambiance as part of the plan unless they are opening a new restaurant.
Ambiance does not sound like something that is flexible enough to be changed after the opening. Changing the ambiance often means renovations, which is a huge price to pay.
We will break this misconception. The restaurant ambiance is, in fact, one of the most influential factors to your restaurant business, and at the same time, changing the ambiance of a restaurant may be easier than you think.
Delight your Diners with Music
The magic flute may just be a fictional item, but how the music is able to influence human behaviors, including eating behaviors, is actually very scientific.
Based on consumer research and social science studies, people speed up chewing and finish the meal quicker with high volume and fast-tempo music. In contrast, when they hear slow-tempo music, they tend to spend 20% more cash in the restaurant. (Source: CNN & Association for Consumer Research)
The implication is that, if you wish to maximize the table turnover rate, you can play a fast track in peak hours. In quiet hours, you can make the guests stay longer and order more with a piece of soft jazz music. No matter what music you played in the restaurant, it is better than playing nothing.
Changing the color theme of the restaurant is like talking to the diners at a subconscious level. There is research suggesting colors do have an impact on eating and drinking behaviors.
Red provokes hunger and the desire to order more
Blue makes people thirsty and stimulates drink orders
Green echoes with healthy and natural ingredients
Orange and yellow make people joyful and feel less guilty for eating sweets
You may think this is easier said than done. To change a color theme, the restaurant may need different sets of the painting, the floor, the light, and the furniture. Fortunately, there is a shortcut to it.
If you are looking for a more economical solution, like most smaller restaurants do, digital signage can help change and set the color theme quick and easy. Placing your signage at eye-level, somewhere visible to diners, can replace the need for coloring the whole restaurant.
On top of cost advantages, there is one more advantage of using digital signage. Instead of plain colors, you can show vivid images belonged to a certain color theme. Comparing to a yellow light, a smiling girl holding a bunch of yellow balloons will make the joy and desire for sweets more contagious.
Better than just a plain blue light, showing a sea with clear blue sky will make the thirst and the desire to drink even stronger.
Curated Art and Photography to Reinforce your Brand
Branding helps customers make an impression of your restaurant, recall the dining experience and return. Atmosphere often influences the first impression more than the logo and the advertisement.
Like those hotels dressing up the space with art pieces, you can also dress up your restaurants with different art and photography. To choose the right visual styling, there are a few basic questions you need to answer:
- Who are your target customers?
- Why do the customers love your restaurant?
- How should your customers feel?
- What is the major difference between your restaurants and your competitors?
For example, if you use the freshest and best seafood in your restaurants that are popular with office workers, you may want to show iconic images of fishermen at work, which may hint the freshness and the quality make the diners feel energized and relaxed in a busy workday.
Test and Learn to Determine your Ideal Restaurant Ambiance
No one knows the best ambiance for your restaurant, not even the smartest brand agency or interior designer. They cannot guarantee how many more diners will eat at your restaurant with a change in the restaurant's ambiance. You should test and learn from customer reactions and feedback to get the preferred ambiance instead of overinvesting with vendors.
Think about testing a different mix of music, colors, photos, and videos, for a period of weeks or months to see how it impacts the dining experience, customer behaviors, and the revenue you make.
As a start, you can leverage digital signage to create several signage campaigns for both music and videos, and then broadcast them on displays to see their impact on diners and restaurant staff. Nowadays, digital signage allows you to schedule different campaigns playlists of videos and images and play them at the right times and locations.
Once you know the best restaurant ambiance for your customers, you can consider investing more in creating that customer-friendly atmosphere with things such as lighting, painting, and utensils.
This is a major reason why it is important to perform tests and develop learnings before making major investments.
Running a restaurant is not easy, but sometimes it needs a healthy mix of art and science for success. Good luck!