Attracting More Customers to Your Café or Restaurant
Creating the Right Atmosphere
The first area that should be addressed if you want to increase the amount of passing trade your eatery receives is the atmosphere in the dining area. The décor and table settings are what people see when walking past and it is these factors that will either encourage them to come in or ensure they keep walking. Good food is of course essential for repeat custom but what will attract people to your establishment in the first place is the way that it looks to new visitors. You can improve the appearance of your dining area and make it more welcoming to hungry diners by implementing the suggestions below.
- Choose a Concept or Theme – Without a cohesive theme to tie everything together, the results of any redecoration project you undertake could be messy at best. Consider the demographic you are trying to attract – parents with young children, romantic couples, business diners at lunchtime – and theme your décor appropriately. Once you have established your concept or theme, you will be able to address the following points much more easily.
- Lighting – The type of lights, their location, and overall levels of illumination in your dining area are of prime importance. If, for example, you identified your target demographic as romantic couples, subdued lighting will be a good choice. On the other hand, if families with young children are your target demographic, bright, colourful lighting fixtures will be more appropriate.
- Table Settings – Whether you are trying to attract gourmet diners with a dazzling display of contemporary cuisine or local builders with hearty breakfasts at competitive prices, cleanliness is of paramount importance as far as each component of your table settings is concerned. Napkins and tablecloths should be freshly laundered and as white as the driven snow. Cutlery should be so clean it is positively gleaming, and glassware should be completely free of spots and smears. For quality linen hire in oxford, you can of course rely on Stalbridge to take care of all your needs.
- Colours – The use of colour in your dining room is just as important as light. In fact, the two should be considered together as the tone of your lighting will affect the tone of the paint that you use on the walls and the colour of the furnishings you have in your dining area. If you are running a café that is focused on attracting football fans on match days, the yellow and blue of Oxford United could be a great choice for your interior décor. However, you should be aware that research has shown cool colours such as blue can actually depress people’s appetites so you may want to focus on yellow, with limited blue highlights, if you choose a theme like this.
- Artwork – You do not have to invest in paintings by the Grand Masters to attract new customers but you do need to consider adding something in the way of artwork, to complement your interior décor. Inexpensive prints of original paintings depicting local Oxfordshire countryside scenes might be a nice choice for restaurants that are primarily targeting budget-conscious adults who appreciate good food in pleasant surroundings whereas original works of modern art might be a good idea for eateries that are targeting the young and upwardly mobile of Oxford.
- Furniture – The tables, chairs, and other furniture that you use in your dining area should complement your interior décor theme but just as importantly, they should be comfortable and hardwearing. Whether you choose art deco stools in black and chrome or Chippendale-style chairs with elaborately-carved mahogany and richly-coloured leather upholstery, you need to make sure they are comfortable to sit on for an hour or two. There are many antique shops in oxford, along with numerous discount furniture outlets, so whatever type of furnishings you seek, you are sure to find a good deal somewhere in the city.
- Ambient Noise – This is a factor that café owners and restaurateurs frequently overlook but it can make a huge difference to the atmosphere in your dining area so you really should take the time to address it properly. For fine dining establishments, classical music is often favoured but if you decide to go down this route it is worth investigating a few of the lesser known works of the most popular composers. Endless repetitions of Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik and Vivaldi’s Le Quattro Stagioni may make your restaurant feel more like an upmarket supermarket than a gourmet food destination. If you would simply like to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, into which Oxford’s citizens can escape when they tire of the hustle and bustle of the city, a modern noise cancelling system could be a good investment.
Keeping It Fresh
A mistake that many restaurant and café owners make, not just in Oxford but all over the world, is to hit on a winning formula then assume their work is done and leave their interior décor unchanged for years, or even decades. Tastes and trends change over time, and you need to ensure that your establishment remains relevant as these changes occur. Consult a commercial interior design expert every couple of years to see what can be changed and what should stay the same, and if you need any advice on your tableware, particularly your linens, feel free to call the team at Stalbridge.