Creating the Right Restaurant Vibe

3 min read

Running a great restaurant or café is more than knowing how to serve great food. To keep your customers happy and returning time and again, you need to build the right atmosphere too. Eating is a pleasurable, social experience – no-one wants to sit and eat in the silence of a library so creating an ambience will improve the dining experience you offer. Here are some ways to build a great vibe:

  • Who do you want to attract?

Imagine you’re staging an event and you’re in charge of the guest list. Is your event youthful and loud? Elegant and sophisticated? Family-friendly? Romantic, chic or hip and fresh? Once you have worked this out, it should be much easier to look at ways of creating the corresponding atmosphere to attract your target market. Who comes to your business has a big impact on the atmosphere that’s created.

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  • Concept

Having a story to tell is a good way to build a theme or concept idea for your restaurant. A concept links the food and drink on offer with a certain period of history, heritage, fashion, culture or style. For example, a 1950s diner will have totally different furniture, music and menu items to a designer French Bistro. Themed eateries can focus their attention on what they do best and appeal to their target market more effectively. Think about how your choice of menu design, furniture and music can best represent the concept you choose.

  • Staff

Everyone who works in your business adds to the overall atmosphere, whether it be the head chef, the bar, waiting or kitchen staff. Staff training is vital to guarantee that your customers are being welcomed in a friendly manner and their actions are reinforcing the theme or concept behind your establishment. Uniforms should match the concept too and guest sensitivity is important, for example, attentive and low-key service for romantic spots but fun and bubbly for a more laid-back, youthful atmosphere.

  • Sound

Getting the noise levels right at different times of the day is important to ensure customer comfort. Acoustics might need adjusting, such as placing a divider or grouping tables. You’ll need to think about matching the music and/or entertainment to your theme and whether you choose to incorporate other media such as TV screens, a juke box or live music acts. Where customers hear the music is also important. Will it be in the main dining area, the toilets, the bar or at the entrance? For help with all types of in store media, visit

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  • Colour

Your logo, branding and decoration should be consistent. Colour has also been shown to have an impact on appetite so think carefully about what you choose to represent your business. Cold colours like blue act as appetite suppressants whereas warm shades like red increase appetites. Associations are also made between certain concepts and colour. For example, a health food and vegetarian café might choose a fresh green colour whereas a rustic, country kitchen vibe will be created better with warm shades.


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