I’m sure you have heard this a hundred or even a thousand times before, but first impressions matter.
The reason you’ve heard this so many times is that it is so very, very accurate.
Specific scientific research, such as an article published in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, has found that humans can form “reliable” judgments on other people within 33 milliseconds. Thirty-Three milliseconds!! Yes, you read that right.
Now, as a restaurant owner, think if people can form reliable judgments on the level of an individual’s “trustworthiness, status, and attractiveness” in less than the blink of an eye, how quickly are they forming judgments about your restaurant? The aesthetic and ambiance are just as important as the food! Creating an experience and atmosphere patrons will not only come back for but want to tell all of their friends about is the magic of a successful restaurant.
This is why your restaurant’s curb appeal is so important. Now that we know why it’s important let’s explore how you can improve curb appeal and make your restaurant appear more attractive to passers-by.
The parking lot is likely where your customer’s dining experience will begin and end while visiting your restaurant.
Ensure your parking area is well-lit, clearly marked, and well signed. A well-kept parking lot gives off the impression of a well-kept restaurant. If you provide take-out services, allocate specific spaces for take-out customers. Or maybe offer a valet service if you think that kind of service would align well with your brand.
Consider your signage an extension of your restaurant brand, so ask yourself if your signage reflects the style and atmosphere of your restaurant. If not, then consider making some changes. An excellent start is by ensuring that your sign is legible at all times of the day.
Your signs can also be a great way to stand out from the rest of the high street. Be careful not to overdo it with the neon lights, though! If all of your competitors use dreary and dull signage, consider throwing in some colour.
A trip to the garden centre can massively help boost your restaurant’s outdoor aesthetics. Again, match this to the style of your restaurant. For instance, a collection of bonsai trees, coupled with an elegant water feature, would be an excellent addition to a Japanese restaurant’s exterior.
Going home from the garden centre via the outdoor light shop may be a good idea. The exterior lighting of your restaurant can make or break your restaurant’s atmosphere and ambiance.
Different types of lights, such as fairy lights, torch lights, or pot lights, can be paired with your existing signage or landscaping areas to provide the kind of atmosphere you want at your restaurant.
We all know how uncomfortable it can be to wait for a table at your favourite restaurant. Keep this in mind with the design and layout of your waiting area. If it’s a nice place to wait, people will be more relaxed and hopefully more patient.
Take care of the little details. Little things can go a long way to providing your customers with a fond and lasting memory of your restaurant. Lastly, The city of Toronto has some programs that can help.