“Dingy.” “Loud.” “No elbow room.”
When rating a restaurant on online review sites, critics, fine diners, and families don’t hold back, and the atmosphere of a restaurant is as much of a target as its food. The atmosphere of your restaurant is a vital factor for its profitability. If your restaurant has an enticing atmosphere, you’ve successfully created a space where customers want to linger. Studies have shown that the longer people stay in your restaurant, the more food they order. Read on to discover four expert tips for creating a good atmosphere in your restaurant.
Identify Your Restaurant’s Theme
Diners come to your restaurant not just for the food, but also for an experience. To create the best atmosphere in your restaurant – whether intimate or family-style, glamorous or cheerful –your design must match your restaurant’s theme. Although crystal chandeliers are beautiful design pieces, they’d be completely out of place at a Mexican cantina-style restaurant. Similarly, a sleek glass and chrome fitout would clash wildly with the food in a family-style Italian restaurant. According to the experts, the first step in creating a good atmosphere is to work out your theme – not just the style of food you plan to serve, but also the kind of experience you hope to create for your diners.
High Quality Fitouts Stand Out
From signage to space, fitout to furniture, quality design is the core ingredient in creating a satisfying restaurant atmosphere. And, for this, it’s time to call in the experts. Although you can do a lot with a new shade of paint on the walls, the beauty and functionality of your restaurant is reflected more in the quality and style of its fitout. Whether you’re building a new restaurant or refurbishing your existing space, expert shopfitters can tailor your space to your needs, creating the right floor plan to allow intimacy for diners and room for your waitstaff to move freely. Professional companies like TU Projects offer custom-made joinery and design services that will create an atmosphere that reflects the unique personality and style of your restaurant theme.
Lighting and Intimacy Are Key
Different styles of lighting create different levels of intimacy and interest. Exhibition-style kitchens like teppanyaki bars, intimate fine dining restaurants, and family-style restaurants… they all have different needs in terms of lighting. So, when choosing from dim overhead lighting and intimate candles, wooden pendant lights, or modern strip lighting, make sure your lighting plan matches your theme.
Don’t Forget the Little Details
If you’ve ever looked through a review website, you’ll know that it’s not just problems with a meal that can upset diners; tiny things matter just as much as the big details. Try and experience your restaurant from your diners’ perspective by sitting at different tables in your restaurant, asking your waitstaff about the specials, and visiting the bathroom. Are the chairs comfortable to sit in? Are your waiters friendly, knowledgeable, and polite? Are the bathrooms clean? Be on the lookout for small details that you can polish to help create the very best atmosphere for your diners.
What’s your favourite restaurant to dine at? How do you think they created the dining atmosphere that you enjoy? Share your dining experiences in the comments below.
Easy and Delicious Butternut Squash Chili – Clean Eating Recipe
My husband and I recently decided to try eating better by incorporating healthier carbs into our diets and getting rid of excessive amounts of grains, etc. There is currently no bread whatsoever in the kitchen. How weird. Weird but really nice! One of the new meals we’ve tried that really stood out for flavor was this Easy and Delicious Butternut Squash Chili. Check it out below, and leave a comment about how it turned out for you!
Butternut Squash Chili
Serves 8. prep time: 30 min. total time: 1 hour
3 tbsp avocado oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 1/4 tsp sea salt, divided
3/4 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1 small jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash (abo 1 medium squash)
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 tbsp each ground cumin and dried oregeno
4 tsp chile powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 14-oz BPA-free cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
optional toppings: sliced green onion, shredded cheddar, chopped avocado, fresh cilantro
1. In a large dutch oven on medium, heat 2 tbsp oil. Add onion, carrot, celery and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper: cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in jalepeno and garlic: saute 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil, squash and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper: cook, stirring, 1 minute.
2. Add beef, cumin, oregano, chile powder, paprika, and remaining 1/2 tsp salt; cook, stirring to combine and break up meat until beef is cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Pour in tomatoes and broth. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.
3. Garnish with optional toppings of choice. Or let cool then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
other recipes to try:
The Perfect Winter Lunch: Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup
The (colder) winter is here, diets are in and morale is low. The solution: a nice tasty bowl of delicious soup that is both easy to make and a reminder of those exotic holidays spent abroad.
2 tbsp tamarind paste
4 red Thai chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2.5cm/1-inch piece Thai ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp palm sugar or caster (superfine) sugar
8 lime leaves, roughly torn
1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups of chicken stock
350 g/12 oz boneless chicken breast
100 g/3 ½ oz carrots, very thinly sliced
350 g/12 ozsweet potato, diced
100 g/3 ½ oz baby corn cobs, halved
3 tbsp fresh coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped
100 g/3 ½ oz cherry tomatoes, halved
150 g/5 ½ oz flat rice noodles
Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped, to garnish
1. Place the tamarind paste, Thai chillies, garlic, Thai ginger, fish sauce, sugar, lime leaves and chicken stock in a large preheated wok and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and cook for about 5 minutes.
2. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the chicken. Add the chicken to the wok and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring the mixture well.
3. Reduce the heat and add the carrots, sweet potato and baby corn cobs to the wok. Leave to simmer uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender and the chicken is completely cooked through.
4. Stir in the coriander (cilantro), cherry tomatoes and noodles. Leave the soup to simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the noodles are tender. Garnish and serve hot.
Tamarind paste is produced from the seed pod of the tamarind tree. It adds both a brown colour and tang to soups and gravies. If unavailable, dilute molasses (dark muscovado) sugar or treacle with lime juice.
Bon appetite and be sure to let us know how the recipe turned out for you in the comments’ section below.
10 Weird Foods You’ve Never Heard Of
In case you’re traveling somewhere soon, be on the lookout for weird foods. Here are 10 you’ve never tasted before.
1. Khash – Middle East, East Europe and Turkey
A pretty gruesome little dish made up of stewed cows feet and head. It was once a winter comfort food but is now considered a delicacy. I’m sure it’s fine, so long as you don’t mind that grinning skull staring at you through its cold dead eyes.
2.Tuna Eyeballs – Japan
Although it sounds nasty, apparently it’s rather tame, tasting pretty similar to squid or octopus. None of the gunk you’d normally associate with slicing up eyeballs then?
3. Hákarl – Iceland
The rotting carcass of a Greenland or basking (Somniosidae) shark. It’s buried underground in a shallow pit and pressed with stones so the poisonous internal fluids that allow it to live in such cold waters can be drained out making the meat safe to eat. After this it’s hung out to dry before being cut into strips and served. With a smell that’s described as ammonia-rich and a strong ‘fishy-flavour’, it was described by Anthony Bourdain as “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he’d tried.
4. Century Egg / 100 Year Old Egg / 1000 Year Old Egg – China
Yeah, OK, it’s neither a century nor a millennium old, but this egg is pretty rotten. After being preserved in a mixture of clay, ash and quicklime for a few months, the yolk turns a dark green or even black and slimy while the white turns to a dark brown translucent jelly. Apparently it smells strongly of sulphur and ammonia, but tastes like a hardboiled egg… until you breathe out that is.
5. Jing Leed (Grasshoppers) – Thailand
So, yes, this is a big old grasshopper seasoned with salt, pepper power and chilli and fried in a big wok. Tastes a little like hollow popcorn skin… except a little juice squirts out when you bite into it… nice.
6. Wasp Crackers – Japan
Yep, you guessed it, it’s a biscuit filled with wasps. Think chocolate chip cookies, only the insects replace the choccy chips. Apparently the digger wasp, which the biscuit contains, has a pretty mean sting. I wish your tongue good luck.
7. Fried Spider – Cambodia
Fried spider is a regional delicacy popular in the Cambodian town of Skuon, prepared by marinating it in MSG, sugar and salt and then frying it in garlic. Apparently it has more meat on it than a grasshopper, but also has brown sludge in the abdomen, which consists of mainly innards, eggs and excrement. Yum.
8. Witchetty Grub – Australia
Part of the Australian ‘bushmeat’ family, this was another staple of Indigenous Australians in the desert. These can either be eaten raw, when it tastes like almonds, or lightly cooked, where its skin crisps like roast chicken and its insides take on the look and consistency of scrambled egg.
9. Bird’s Nest Soup – Southeast Asia
This Asian delicacy is made from the nest of the swiftlet bird, who instead of collecting twigs for its bed, builds it out of its own gummy saliva, which goes hard when exposed to air. Usually the built high up on cliff faces, harvesting them is a dangerous business and many people die each year. Whether its ‘rubbery taste’ is worth this human sacrifice, I’ve yet to find out.
10. Southern Fried Rattlesnake – United States
A favourite in the Southwestern United States, it’s said to taste a little like frogs legs. Experts advise boiling the meat off the bones before dipping in egg and covering in seasoned salt mix, flour and breadcrumbs. Deep fat fry and munch away.