So you want to open a restaurant. It’s the dream of many, even in difficult times. Or maybe you’ve decided to spruce up the restaurant or cafe you already have. You’ve already worked out the important business issues like type of business entity and funding. You’ve nailed that great location. You’ve got a plan. But have you considered perhaps the most important aspect of your cafe or restaurant? Besides the food itself, of course. We’re talking about a comprehensive, coherent overall concept or theme.
Psychologists will tell you that atmosphere is crucial to a dining experience. Furnishings, decor, and color are key to success. You need to create a congruent and attractive ambiance that people will enjoy, that makes them comfortable and happy as they eat. Not just someplace to “chow down”, but a place that enhances their life, that is unique. You want to make them happy because you know that if they are happy, really happy, they will spend more money. And come back. And that, along with being in a business you love, will make you happy. It is a win-win scenario. But how do you create that special ambiance?
From the Walls to the Cafe Chairs
Your decisions on decor will be very important, from the paint on the walls to the paintings or other artwork hanging there, and all the other furnishings, also, especially the tables and cafe chairs where customers will be seated. They’ve got to be stylish and comfortable and fit in with the overall scheme of the place. And Yikes! Don’t forget the lighting. Soft or bright? Gentle or energetic? It should be adjustable to reflect the different moods of the day. Breakfast and lunch often seem more bright and hurried, while dimmer lighting suits evening. Also, did you know that the colors you use can have effects on your customers? Not only the colors of the walls and decor but those of the furnishings, as well.
Color Me… Hungry
Matching, or harmonizing, the restaurant theme and menu to colors that fit psychologically is a smart idea. Red is a vivid color, linked to excitement and passion. Its perception often boosts energy and appetite. It is probably the most common color used by restaurants. Yellow is attractive but bright, and too much of either red or yellow can irritate: Use both sparingly, as accents. Blue, according to many sources, is the most popular color in the US today. But restaurateurs beware! Excessive blue colors in the decor can actually reduce appetite. Orange can be an exciting color that stimulates customer energy and appetite, used sparingly. Green is soothing and psychologically linked to growth and life. Green plants can be very attractive if they are cared for properly.
Putting It All Together
These color and style decisions are vital to the menu, as well, since they will be constantly studied. Many of the best restaurants use black for their logo and/or menu because it is sophisticated and simple. Remember, not only is each element important; it is the way they all fit together into a congruent theme or idea, your concept, in harmony. It is the total ambiance of your eatery. The best idea is to find your concept, the theme that makes your eatery special first, and work from there. Make it all unique, congruent, and special, from the menu and the colors on the wall to the tables and cafe chairs, and make the food delicious and memorable. Your eatery will be dressed for success!