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Important tips for successful restaurants.  Focus on the whole experience, sense of magic, theatre.  Get the menu right - most restaurants need to start over again.  Make sure your restaurant looks good from the street and smells good as people enter. Make it an event to remember.  Train your waiters how to look.  Pay attention to the little things.

Eating out will continue to be more common, as incomes rise and people trade earning time for cooking time at home, but many people will go down market to cheaper places because of economic pressures.

Focus must be on the whole customer experience, not just the food
.  The welcome, hospitality, sense of family, personal greeting by the owner, friendly waiters who really know about the food and like the menu. 

Pay attention to the menu as your primary marketing tool (apart from reputation and appearance from the street).  So make it easy to read, with large enough print to be read without glasses (since your largest market may be over 50 year olds). Make the menu full of interesting information about each dish.  Excite our imagination.  Take us on a journey. Tell us your story – if you are family owned and have been serving food since 1974, tell us how you started and what you are passionate about – in the inside cover.

Create a virtual restaurant - take us into the experience online - short embedded video clip from YouTube, customer comments into the camera, copy of the menu and your history.  Make sure you are appearing properly on Google Maps and other sites.

Train waiters to watching for small signals, always ready, one step ahead, but not rushing customers at any time or getting in the way of conversations.  Teach waiters that their eyes are more important than their hands, and will earn them larger tips.  I am astonished at how few waiters know how to walk across the room and glance around at every table at the same time.

Make sure all your dishes are so interesting and enjoyable that your customers would want to order the same next week, and the week after.  Take off the menu any dishes your customers are not really passionate about.

Make sure your food is perfectly cooked and made with loving care, every time – it does not have to be expensive to be world-class.

A great restaurant should always look crowded, because most people judge restaurants as they walk by, just by who is in there and what it looks like. So make sure people are placed where they can be seen from the street, and keep seating area smaller rather than larger if you are short of customers.

Great restaurants should smell good as you enter. Make sure the right kind of messages are coming from the kitchen and excite all the senses.

It is all about creating a sense of expectation, theatre, occaision.

Find out the purpose of the meal and do all you can make it an Event to remember - an important birthday, getting married tomorrow, a romantic evening.

And finally, remember it is the little things that often count most: the warm, home-made bread that arrives on the table, the wonderful chocolates that came with the coffee, the slice of lemon in an iced jug of tap water.


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