Is Your Restaurant Showing Its Age?

six interior elements commonly in need of refreshment in today's restaurants. If you think the quality of food at your restaurant is all that matter when it comes to delivering return-worthy dining experiences, think again. In fact, according to a study by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, decor and service also hold significant weight when it comes to scoring top marks with diners.

A quick scroll through Yelp, meanwhile, reveals customer after customer dismissing establishments with outdated interiors. What can you do to ensure that your restaurant delivers when it comes to delightful decor?

It’s all in the details. Let’s count down six interior elements commonly in need of refreshment in today’s restaurants.

1. Lighting

It’s easy to write lighting off as merely practical. But the truth is that good lighting serves both form and function, and poor lighting can completely tank the diner experience.

If your light fixtures are stuck in the 70’s and 80’s, your restaurant is likely giving off a fussy, outdated vibe. Updating to more modern lighting fixtures can bring your space into the current decade.

age 2-able kitchen2. Walls

Avocado, orange, mauve, turquoise. Paisleys, florals, graphics and abstracts.

While these colors and patterns might have been the essence of chic a few decades ago, they can make your restaurant look mired in the past.

Depending on the type of restaurant, basic color theory can guide you to new wall colors which not only create an attractive and contemporary environment, but also do everything from motivating diners to order more to encouraging them to linger over drinks and dessert.

Other signs of age in restaurants? Wood paneling, popcorn ceilings, and wallpaper borders.

3. Floors

Worn vinyl flooring and stained, threadbare carpet are two signs that your flooring’s best days are in the past. But even if floors don’t show excessive signs of wear and tear, floors can still send the wrong message to diners.

Need more proof that your carpet may need an upgrade despite being in perfectly good condition? We’ve got two words for you: shag carpeting.

4. Flora and Fauna

There’s nothing more outdated looking — or unnecessary — than dried floral centerpieces and a few plastic plants tucked away in a corner.

Not only are these items dust magnets, but they’re also signs that your restaurant decor has withered and died. If you have ample natural light, there’s no substitute for fresh plants and flowers which add charm, color and energy to any ambiance.

5. Tabletop

Because people eat with their eyes, presentation is an essential part of starting the meal off in a positive direction. Mismatched, dingy, or worn dinnerware, glassware and utensils immediately detract from the quality of your food — even before a diner takes his/her first bite.

Take time to choose dining and tabletop pieces which complement not only each other, but also your menu, decor, and overall aesthetic.

6. Uniforms

You may not think of your waitstaff as part of the decor, but the truth is that their appearance can make or break the look of your restaurant.

It’s just as vital for server clothing to be current as it is for other aspects of your interior. One beneficial side effect of investing in new uniforms?

This is also a terrific time to boost employee morale by allowing them to be part of the decision-making process.

All of which begs the question: How often should your restaurant get an image reboot? Restaurant consultant Aaron Allen suggests every five to seven years.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to undertake a full facelift every time. In some cases, small changes can go a long way toward transforming the look of your restaurant.

One last thing to keep in mind? While personal taste is certainly a factor when choosing colors, lighting, dinnerware, serveware and other decor-related items, the aesthetic of your restaurant should ultimately be in alignment with your restaurant’s personality.

Before embarking on a design project, take time to consider what message you’d like your restaurant to convey.

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