If you’re looking to revitalize a current restaurant or start a new operation, you will have to select a theme. Your concept determines the type — and the volume — of customers you will attract. It also weighs significantly on the enjoyment you take in making a living each day.

When you choose your concept, you need to merge your passions with the needs and whims of the public. Of course, the most crucial component is the quality of your food and service. Consider these seven tips when planning your next venture or remodel.

1. Explore Your Passion

What makes your heart pound and blood race? What inspires you to wake up each day? Let’s face it — if you despise all things NFL and NHL, a sports bar might not represent your best thematic choice.

Get creative — you can find successful restaurants with nearly any theme. Imagine dining in a tropical rainforest where the barstools resemble Safari animals. That’s what you’ll find at the Rainforest Café chain. Don’t think you can’t make ecology a selling point.

2. Understand Your Bias

Remember the unfortunate pirate-themed bar on TV’s “Bar Rescue?” They didn’t do so well because the vibe of their location clashed with their theme. Examine your inherent biases.

For example, you might envision a family-owned restaurant located in a thriving hotel near a popular sports venue. Such a location gives you an instant flow of traffic. You can enjoy tremendous success — but you might fall flat with a Yankees-themed establishment in Boston. Marry your passion for what the public craves.

3. Research the Market

How do you know what the public wants? The answer is simple — do market research. Examine the demographics of your location and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Age and marital status: A restaurant like Hooters might not do as well near an elementary school or daycare
  • Average income: If you open in a lower-income neighborhood, serving nothing but caviar and prime beef could cost your bottom line
  • Population shifts: Is the area attracting young, new talent, or is it going gray?

You can find a lot of information online. However, if you already operate an establishment, why not conduct a market research survey of your existing base to discover what they want? You can offer a promotion, such as a free non-alcoholic beverage, for filling out the comment card.

4. Explore the Competition

If you’re a sports bar in a neighborhood with three others, what makes yours exceptional? Maybe you have several tournament-quality pool tables — why not use them for that purpose by hosting events?

See how you can make yourself unique. If your competitors host a killer karaoke night, don’t try to replicate their thunder. Perhaps you can book live musicians? Take notes from the competition, but always incorporate your flair.

5. Develop Your Design

Now you’re ready to design your new layout. Consider creative ways to save money while you do so. For example, you can repurpose old crates for weathered and minimalist shelving to enhance your decor.

Remember, color and lighting all influence mood. Bright lights and red and yellow tones encourage people to hurry, making such decor ideal for grab-and-go establishments. If you want your guests to linger over a lengthy meal, think dimmer lights and soft, neutral tones.

6. Engage All the Senses

Customers can judge a restaurant’s quality by using their noses. You want the heavenly aroma of your concoctions to tempt tummies, so make cleanliness a priority. Avoid fragrances with heavy, perfumed scents — these can aggravate guests with sensitivities.

Music matters, too. Select the soundtracks for your establishment carefully, and get a second opinion on volume levels. You want to create an ambiance without drowning out conversation.

7. Continually Tweak Operations

Remember, even after you survive the opening day, or your remodel relaunch, you have room for continued growth. Use regular customer satisfaction surveys to discover what your guests love and where you have opportunities to shine more effectively.

Collaborate actively with your staff, too. Adopting a team-centered approach can bolster employee satisfaction. Plus, you hired your folks because you valued their acumen — take advantage of it.

Create Your Theme Concept by Following These Steps

You can create a successful theme restaurant with hard work, business smarts, and a touch of creativity.

Follow the tips above to make your vision into reality.

Related article: 3 Benefits of Staying at a Hotel with an On-Site Restaurant

We are in this together!

I need to let you all know that we are in on this together.  If you need to vent, talk, cry, or just have some to talk with then I am here listening. Since I am working part-time at the local Kroger, I will to the best of my ability to work it out around my schedule.

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We are starting to reopen some hotels again (Yay!!!). Make sure you follow their guidelines and say THANK YOU to those that now show a unique spirit to serve, and helps us all get through this!! #hotelstrong #hospitalitystrong


Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online, and more!

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About Are Morch

Hi, I am Are Morch. Your Digital Marketing Coach and Customer Experience Expert that specializes in creating effective digital customer experience offer for hotels while growing and scale customer acquisition and revenue.

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