What are the Factors that Define a Great Restaurant Experience?

Restaurant Experience

In the coming months, and perhaps even years, the experience of visiting a restaurant may become something of a luxury event. The ongoing concerns that relate to the coronavirus have, of course, decimated the hospitality sector, more so than perhaps any other industry, and whenever a new variant comes into circulation, the restaurant market shudders.

Indeed, even if everything were to go back to normal, it appears that many people will now look to order takeout from their local diner or restaurant, which has led to a far better offering in that department.

So if the act of going to a restaurant becomes less commonplace, then the rush to get your business, when you do choose to eat out, will become all the more intense. So what can a restaurant do to attract your custom and, more importantly, secure you as a regular visitor for the long-term?

There are a number of areas that are specifically relevant when it comes to judging a great restaurant experience; we’ve laid them out below.

Quality of the Food

Though this kind of goes without saying, you’d be surprised at how even this most basic requirement is missed by many eateries. When we speak of the quality of food, this doesn’t merely mean the food is edible. There are factors within this area that should be taken into account.

There are different levels of restaurants in relation to the type of food you might be served, be that a gourmet restaurant or a soul food diner. This doesn’t mean that the quality of the food should be defined differently in terms of how well it tastes, but the food that is plated should meet the overall ethos of the restaurant.

In some establishments, the presentation isn’t as important as the finished result; that’s just the way some restaurants operate. This doesn’t mean that in any restaurant, the food you are served gets a ‘pass’ from being good. 

The quality of the food can also be judged by the variety of dishes, the regularity of the changes to a menu, and also according to how it meets the overall aesthetic and messaging of the restaurant itself. In other words, if a restaurant claims to be serving authentic homemade Italian cuisine but simply reheats frozen pasta dishes and slops them onto a plate, clearly this is an issue of quality that would need to be addressed, to say the least.

Restaurant Design, Ambience, and Theme

As our trips to restaurants invariably decrease, our opinion of the actual dining experience becomes almost as important as the food itself. In other words, if you switch from dining out every couple of weeks to every couple of months, you are going to want an experience that is more heightened, special, and perhaps even unique. 

This is where the design, ambiance, and theme of the restaurant take center stage. Now even the restaurant furniture plays a crucial part in whether you’ll come back again, and the inability of a restaurant to retain a loyal following could be the fine line between success and failure. For example, if you go to a place where the music is annoying it could ruin your experience, a good solution for this is to be affiliated with specialized streaming music channels.

There has to be consistency to the design of even the most basic restaurant, a continuity that fits the menu and the overall look and feel of the place. Clearly, in a high-end upscale location, they may throw more money at achieving this, but that doesn’t mean that less trendy restaurants can relax on this point either.

Our dining experience is likely to become less common, and therefore we’ll want more bang for our buck. A crucial area that may continue to thrive in this space is in the form of outdoor areas. In the first wave of the pandemic, we saw how those restaurants with significant space outside managed to better adapt to regulations. In some cases, this was not only welcomed by customers; it was actually an additional benefit. 

So again, here, it wouldn’t be a case of simply slapping a table or two in a car park; it would be about retaining the indoor style in the outside area, keeping the consistency. 

Level of Service

Customer service has always been important, but now it’s doubly so. In the internet age, where a bad review can be seen by thousands, you can afford to let your guard down, and neither can your employees. This doesn’t mean having a team of subservient robots who cater to customers’ every whim, it means having a friendly group who work efficiently and know precisely how to do their jobs, and this requires good management and planning.

If a family is dining in a restaurant and have a bad experience back in 2019, they might give the place another shot, particularly if there are not too many alternatives, but in 2021 and beyond, they won’t come back. The visits will be more sporadic, and therefore the level of acceptance from customers will shrink. 

An excellent level of service can top off a great experience, even if the food itself was merely average, from waiting staff and others who work at the restaurant. In a way, it’s an additional detailing that can even elevate the quality of the food. 

Aiming for Perfection

The coronavirus pandemic and its ongoing effects are certain to change the way we look at eating out. We’ve seen how the restaurant industry has been dealt a blow by the initial waves of the virus, and those that are still in operation will need to continue to be on their toes as they seek to retain their customers. 

The number of options out there will decrease, but so will the level of demand, leading to something of a fight for the custom that is out there. This means any restaurateur who wants to stay in the game needs to be aiming for perfection each and every day.