The one thing that greatly impacts a dining experience, but is not often thought of by the customer is the atmosphere. In fact, the atmosphere of a restaurant can truly set a foundation for the entire experience a customer has. Elements such as art, décor, lighting, architecture, place settings, table spacing, and music lead the way in creating a space of romance, or comfort, or intimacy.
The amount of thought that goes into the atmosphere is more than what most people would assume. Tables are set and spaced to create the perfect balance. This means allowing for proper space in between tables and also taking the table sizes into account. Big tables and small tables can’t be placed too close together or the smaller tables will feel smaller than they are which isn’t good for the customers that end up there.
On the walls, the artwork is displayed strategically. There’s a big difference between black and white photographs, and colorful acyclic paintings, not to mention other forms of art that can be displayed such as wall-hangings and sculptures. Chose the wrong artwork and the entire atmosphere could be ruined. Rooms in dining areas should have soft focal points that add to the food but aren’t so overpowering that they take the customer’s full attention.
Sound and Music
Sound or music can be another way that sets a space apart. Some restaurants play music, while others choose to allow the noise of the restaurant to be center. While restaurant noise might not sound appealing, the clinking of glasses can add a classy vibe you might not have expected.
As far as lighting goes, there are many differing views on how it can be best used to utilize a space. Some of the most outstanding restaurants in the world chose to match their inner light with the outside light patterns. In other words, as night falls the lights are dimmed to provide ambiance. Other restaurants keep the lights dimmed all day so that the customer will be relaxed and spend more time on their meal.
Most of the elements we’ve talked about in regards to the atmosphere have been expected, but according to several two-star 4 fork restaurants, the biggest way to create the proper atmosphere is to make sure you have the best staff. In training staff, top restaurants teach them to act autonomous and read the guests. The service can then be tailored from person to person and table to table. This makes sense because each person comes in with different expectations and needs. Tailoring a service to the needs of each customer not only is just good customer service, but it makes the restaurant feel like a comfortable space. Just like space shouldn’t appear to be trying too hard to create atmosphere, neither should the wait staff. Creating a balance between care, attention, and professionalism can be difficult, but creating that can make or break the atmosphere.
Perhaps at the end of the day, the best restaurants are able to have an ambiance because they understand people, and they understand that ambiance cannot be artificially created, only harnessed.