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“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This famous quote by Maya Angelou may seem like a powerful way to open an article about restaurants, but it’s very fitting. It’s true that after your guests leave your restaurant they might struggle to remember exactly what you spoke about, what they ate and how you served them, but they will almost always be able to recall how comfortable they felt while they were there.

There are so many factors that go into making people feel relaxed and at ease when they dine with you, and it’s impossible for you to have control over them all. However there are plenty of ways that you can quickly improve guest comfort levels and ensure that they leave feeling satisfied and happy, and looking forward to coming back.

Greet Them as Soon as Possible

Nobody likes to feel ignored, so even if you don’t have time to take an order right away, aim to greet each one of your guests within ten seconds of their arrival. They’ll be much more patient if you acknowledge their presence and offer a quick apology for their wait.

Light Up the Action

As with temperature, the wrong level of lighting can set your guests on edge. Too bright or too dark and you’ll create the wrong mood among the guests in your restaurant. Dimmer lights are a good long-term investment so you can adjust the lighting according to the time of day, but candles and lamps help to add touches of light when and where it’s needed most. Again, ask guests for their feedback on the lighting if you feel it necessary – they’re likely to appreciate being asked for their valued input.

Offer Some Room with a View

Of course it’s not possible for you to offer your guests a breath-taking view of a beach at sunset when you’re in the middle of Manchester, but you can at least ensure that their chair doesn’t directly face the toilet door. When you’re laying out your restaurant or re-arranging a section, take the time to sit in each seat and take note of what the guest will be able to see, or what will be happening around them that they might not particularly enjoy.

Closely Monitor the Temperature

Being too hot or too cold will instantly alter your guests’ moods, so take a walk around your restaurant at regular intervals to monitor the temperature and adjust it accordingly. If you aren’t quite sure, don’t be afraid to ask guests as they are seated if they are happy with the temperature, as there’s a good chance you will feel warmer from walking around.

Add the Right Soundtrack

Never underestimate the power of music in a restaurant. Studies have discovered that when background music is too loud, it suppresses salty and sweet flavours and the overall enjoyment of the food, and a social experiment carried out in a restaurant suggested that up-tempo music makes guests gobble down their food faster. This would suggest that soft, slow music is ideal for restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick to classical violin - you can change the genre of music you play and its volume depending on the time of day in order to create the mood you desire. Don’t forget, to play music in your restaurant you need a licence from PRS for Music.

Don’t Crowd Your Guests

It’s flattering and exciting when lots of people want to come to your restaurant, and it’s always tempting to try and accommodate as many people as possible. However there’s a fine line between ‘busy’ and ‘crowded’, so try to remain conscious of how packed your restaurant is. If guests are struggling to walk between tables or have to constantly move for others, they’re going to feel bothered and claustrophobic, and it’s time to start gently turning people away until the crowds subside.

Do you have any more quick ways of making your guests feel comfortable that we haven’t mentioned? We’d love to hear them!


Lockhart Catering on 24 December 2014 10:30 AM

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