How to Improve the Customer Experience With Interior Design: 5 Tips
Going out to eat is about more than just food. While your menu might be the star of the show, it needs an appropriate supporting cast to win an Oscar — and your customer’s hearts.
One feature your diners seek is an unbeatable ambiance. What vibe does your restaurant exude when customers walk in the door? It all begins with your layout and decorating choices. Here are five tips on how to improve the customer experience with interior design.
1. Think Comfort
Even if you run a grab-and-go breakfast and lunch joint, you’re sure to entertain a few customers who bring their laptops for a working meal or sit down to collaborate with colleagues. Hard plastic chairs might turn tables quicker and discourage lingering, but they won’t create a favorable impression on your guests.
Choose your seating with an eye on comfort and style. Are they sturdy and suitable for indoor and outdoor use? Are they also lightweight and easy to pull out from a table? This last detail matters. Your guests with disabilities might struggle with heavy iron stools and no one likes the extra attention that comes with dragging a bulky object over hard stones or tile.
2. Incorporate Feng Shui Principles
What is feng shui? This ancient Chinese art builds on principles of the Tao — or “the way” — and translates into “wind” and “water.” It uses a Bagua to plan your layout, a way of looking at a room where different areas correspond to energy areas, such as career, home and children. These energies correlate to the five basic elements of Earth — fire, metal, wood, earth and water.
One of the basic feng shui principles is to eliminate clutter. Does this mean that you have to adopt a minimalist decor approach? Absolutely not — although doing so can considerably reduce your weekly dusting needs. However, you can adorn your fried chicken palace with festive hen and rooster figurines as long as they create an overall cozy look, not an overwhelming one.
You should take extra care with your entryway. It’s good feng shui and common sense. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and your host’s area is the initial thing prospective diners see when they enter the door. It should remain clutter-free, allowing qi or vital energy to enter and flow freely. Keep it bright and add a board highlighting your daily specials and perhaps some fresh flowers to greet guests.
3. Go Gentle on the Senses
Although you want to improve the customer experience with interior design and create a winning ambiance, you don’t want to overwhelm your diners. Your menu should remain the highlight of the experience.
Mood begins with colors, but you should reserve the brightest reds and yellows for fast food establishments and bustling diners in old Airstreams. Instead, use one of today’s popular design apps to find hues that match the vibe you hope to create.
That’s not to say you can’t use colors to influence diners. For example, yellow tones encourage serotonin secretion and stimulate appetite, making it a popular choice for many restaurants. Conversely, blue suppresses hunger, so much so that some dieticians encourage folks struggling to lose weight to eat off plates in this hue. Greens and whites imply nature and purity, making them ideal for vegan or health-conscious eateries.
4. Make Use of Natural Light
Overhead fluorescents can trigger migraines in some and create a harsh, unforgiving light. Instead, opt for something more subtle and flattering. Gentle pink LED undertones flatter most complexions, inviting the atmosphere you want for first dates and important business meetings where participants want to appear fresh and energetic.
Better yet, use natural light wisely unless you cater exclusively to the late-night dinner crowd. Look for facilities with skylights and ample windows, especially if you tend to the breakfast and lunch bunch.
Furthermore, consider expanding your outdoor dining options. Although many people have chosen to continue life as usual, those with health conditions don’t have this luxury. They may crave going out to eat but fear sharing airspace with strangers indoors.
5. Create a Unified Theme
The best restaurants have a unified theme incorporating everything from the food to the decor into the overall experience. Are you going for a rustic farm-to-table experience? Do you want your establishment to become the hot spot for romantic celebrations?
Ask yourself what your location needs. Take a tip from popular restaurant makeover shows and tour the neighborhood. Are there a lot of local burger and pizza joints? If so, the market might be ripe for a healthy vegetarian eatery with plenty of hearty salad options.
Consider the audience you hope to attract. The same decor that delights families with young children isn’t the best choice for corporate execs looking for a spot to meet over lunch.
Use Interior Design to Make Customer Experience Fantastic
People don’t go out to eat merely to satisfy a physical need. They seek an experience and the ambiance you create with your decor can determine whether your establishment sticks in their mind as the place to go.
Follow the five tips above to improve the customer experience with interior design. You can enhance the look and layout of your establishment while attracting new business.