Simple Ways Restaurants Can Enhance Their Dining Experience
No two restaurants are exactly alike, but some universal dining truths apply as much to the café down the street that has weekly regulars as it does to that steakhouse that mostly serves business meetings and anniversary dinners. When it comes to creating a dining experience that sticks with your customers and leaves them wanting to come back again, all truly great restaurants have a few things in common.
What makes a good dining experience?
By focusing on four key factors that create a smooth, enjoyable, and delicious experience for customers, your restaurant can rise to the top. We like to call these factors 4 Cs:
- Customer service
- Culinary quality
So how do you hit high marks in each of these categories? We offer a few simple tips to get your restaurant on its way to offering the most memorable dining experience.
Simple ways to enhance your restaurant’s dining experience
Make an impactful first impression
From a warm welcome to a clean entryway and bussed tables to extra touches like lighting and noise level—first impressions matter. How quickly are guests greeted? How long do they have to wait for water? Is their reserved table ready? These are all questions you should feel confident in answering when examining your restaurant’s ability to leave a positive first impression.
When surveyed, OpenTable says 69% of diners claimed complimentary extras go a long way in enticing them to become loyal, recurring guests. It sounds simple, but there’s a reason some of the most popular restaurants bring out bread and butter as soon as their customers sit down.
Pro tip: If you want to stand out, we recommend swapping out your standard table butter with a premium flavored option, like our Roasted Garlic Herb or Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Flavored Butter.
Offer superior service
Recent data shows when reviewing a restaurant and its dining experience, the word most frequently mentioned is “service.” When you think about how you can offer the best possible dining experience, consider some of the reasons people decide to eat out at a restaurant in the first place:
- They want to eat delicious food without having to cook it themselves.
- They don’t want to have to clean up.
- They want to be able to enjoy a meal without all the work (getting drinks, setting the table, etc.).
- They want an atmosphere where they can truly relax.
Because most diners want to enjoy amazing food while still being able to relax, superior service is critical to providing a dining experience that will keep people coming back. Even if you already pride yourself on providing seamless service to your guests, take a second look at how well you are:
- Empower your servers with knowledge about your menu. Make sure the professionals your customers are looking to for help are prepared with answers to questions about food prep, ingredients, dietary restrictions, drink pairings, and menu recommendations.
- Give your diners time to dine. Yes, the more tables you can turn and customers you can serve each day, the more profit you can generate. However, one-time diners don’t create long-term success—loyal, repeat customers do. In order to get them to keep coming back, make sure they have enough time and breathing room to do what they came to your restaurant to do.
Take customers on an immersive journey
From the front door to the bathroom sink, you want your guests to feel like they have entered a distinct world that’s separate from the outside when they dine at your restaurant.
Whether you serve casual American fair or fine French dining, tell a story through your restaurant’s ambiance, food, and even server attire. After all, it’s called a dining “experience” for a reason. Not sure exactly what that might look like for you? Here’s where to start:
- Create a cohesive menu. From the first bite of complimentary bread and butter to the last spoonful of dessert and sip of after-dinner coffee, your menu should have a clear beginning and end. Regardless of what each customer orders, each dish should harmonize and play a role in the story your restaurant is telling. Sometimes that story is obvious, like when it’s Spanish tapas or family-style Italian. Other times it’s much more subtle, such as building a menu around a one-star ingredient or flavor.
- Offer them an element of surprise. Give your guests something they won’t find anywhere else—a signature dish, ingredient, or accent you’re known for. You don’t have to make it an entire entrée. Maybe you become famous for your garlic butter pasta sauce, or that hint of chili and lime on your corn always leaves your guests wanting more. Or perhaps your thing is that you serve flavored butter with your rolls, or your rolls are cinnamon sugary sweet instead of savory. The options are endless, but the important thing is that lasting impression.
How Epicurean Butter can help
When offering a memorable, immersive dining experience, you need partners who are invested in your success. At Epicurean Butter, we not only make premium flavored butter to help you create those signature dishes, but our professional culinary team will also work with you from the beginning to build something that’s uniquely you.
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