Curating Food Experiences
May 25, 2017
Consumers aren’t just looking for a meal these days. When they visit your establishment, chances are they have an appetite for an experience. You’ve probably heard some of this rhetoric coming out of the industry. Rising prices, shrinking wallets and increasingly competitive markets mean successful restaurateurs are becoming hyper aware of their need to differentiate. Usually that means pushing their boundaries and considering how to incorporate experiential elements like environment, tech, and special events. Here are two ways experiential elements can realistically be incorporated into a dining experience.
Designing space for nostalgia
The easy win for designing memorable restaurant spaces is considering how color, light and texture will play in the space. The mixed material look, inspired by agricultural and mill architecture, was extremely popular last year. It offered diners a rustic, industrial environment that hinted at some childhood place no one can quite remember. As the look becomes more mainstream, industry innovators are searching for new ways to stand out by rejecting the heavy color scheme and unfinished textures. Now, trendy restaurants are transitioning from the mixed material and Edison light palate to a much more open and airy feel inspired by the California sunshine. This trend is incredibly interesting because it doesn’t rely on an intricate décor pattern. Rather they use the space, colors, and light to mimic the sweet moment when sunlight peeks through redwood leaves and gently warms your face and hair.
The takeaway: Try to avoid kitsch restaurant themes, they only make you blend in. When you’re thinking about how your environment affects a dining experience, try to remember one single moment or memory that you would like to replicate for your guests. Use a combination of texture, color and light to recreate your happy memory.
Bringing humanity back
Personalization is a sore subject in the restaurant world. While restaurateurs know they should be generating some personal experiences with their customers, implementing any kind of realistic system or policy is nearly impossible. And, it’s really, really easy to assume that whatever interactions you’re already having with customers must be okay. They’re coming in, after all. When these two assumptions collide, you end up doing a whole lot of nothing. Please don’t fall into that trap. Your customers are still coming in, but soon, there will be an ‘apples to apples’ competitor restaurant who is willing to put in that effort.
The takeaway: Don’t let yourself get too ‘in the weeds’ about how to implement a personalization system. Instead, offer an employee incentive. Just remembering a customer’s name or usual order goes miles. Find a way to reward employees who make the extra effort to develop genuine connections with your guests. You’ll be surprised by the results.
However you create your guests experience, make sure it’s personal, memorable, and above all remarkable. Boxman Studios specializes in creating spaces that make it easy for restaurateurs to develop meaningful, authentic connections with their customers in the front of house, while remaining efficient and strategic in the kitchen. For more information about our restaurant offerings, fill out our contact form below.