Whenever you want to make staying at a hotel the most desirable option for your guests, give them an amazing food and beverage experience so they don’t have to worry about leaving and blindly picking from a long list of restaurants they don’t know.
But when refurbishing a hotel restaurant, you must look beyond the simple needs of hotel guests and ascertain the needs of your surrounding area to see how you can fill the gap. Generally, if you create a fabulous restaurant and bar experience for outside guests, hotel guests are naturally driven to stay. Period. Start with focusing on what diners look for from their dining experience and build on that.
Here are five restaurant redesign tips to consider.
1. Local inspiration
Take elements and inspiration from local history if you can. As an example, if a local canal system runs alongside the hotel, create a new restaurant and bar experience called “The Lock.” The design should be based on a rugged nautical theme with comfortable furnishings to add character.
If you have a Liverpool location, draw on local heritage with influence taken from the city’s once-booming cotton trade and 1960s music scene.
2. Create a flow
But don’t simply design for design’s sake. Make sure the flow works by eliminating bottlenecks so staff can move around freely and efficiently. Enabling staff to quickly and effortlessly serve guests is always a top priority. But to maximize the use of the space, it must be flexible, too. A restaurant lounge can be a sophisticated restaurant or meeting space by day, and a modern cocktail bar by night.
3. Comfort is key
Make the furniture interesting, but make the chairs comfortable. Uncomfortable furniture makes guests want to leave; you want them to stay and relax. If possible, spaces should offer multiple seating configurations, from dining table and chairs to sofas and soft seating with the menu available to all. Some guests like far more casual styles. And single travelers may feel more comfortable relaxing in soft seating than at a formal dining table.
4. Embrace the senses
Let great smells permeate from the kitchen. Have an open kitchen? Make it pure theater! Never drown out the happy, laughing, clinking glass sounds of your guests with loud, heavy music. Always think about acoustics when designing as they become critical. As do too many hard surfaces–– which can result in colder temperatures, especially in winter. Use your five senses, and think like a guest.
Sometimes “less is more.” Shy away from making menus so long they put pressure on the diner. Create your menu with that in mind. Wherever possible, think provenance and use local farms and purveyors. Don’t make the food too fussy and find the balance in portion sizes … not too big and not too small. Make the portion commensurate with what you are serving. If it’s the best burger in town, make a big bold statement! If it’s a rich terrine, keep it smaller with some superbly created and flavored toasts! Be sensible with your pricing of both food and beverage. We’re in business to make money and must believe in our product but we also want our guests to leave delighted and knowing that the experience they received was still perceived as value!
And, most importantly, don’t change menus for change sake. After a month or two look at what doesn’t sell and replace it with something new. Listen to your guests and take all the feedback you can get. Learn and revise!