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Believe It Or Not: Restaurant Furniture Affects Customer Loyalty

Attract and Keep Customers
The quality of the food is far from being the only thing restaurant-owners need take into account if they want to succeed. Furnishing is a critical element.
 
Most of the time a restaurant’s furnishings will be the first thing potential customers see. The furnishings determine whether the restaurant seems ‘inviting’ to a passerby, like a place someone of his or her stature might want to spend a while. Once inside, they contribute to the ambience – a significant factor in determining the likelihood of the customer remaining for a prolonged period, making return visits and recommending the restaurant to acquaintances.

Since consumer decisions are largely influenced by emotional response (95% of purchasing decisions, according to informedesign.org), how the customer feels inside the restaurant may play a bigger role in success than anything else. An establishment that serves average food anyone could obtain at home but which creates the right atmosphere is more likely to succeed then one with a quality chef but unappealing or unsuitable surroundings.
 
Know the Target Market

  • Price Range: The look of the furnishings is going to suggest the price range of the restaurant. Many may assume that the fancier the furniture, the better. But if they’re looking to attract a larger customer base this could be counterproductive, as luxurious furnishings may prompt passersby to assume the venue is beyond their affordability, and look elsewhere.
  • Location: The location of the restaurant determines what sort of clientele it is likely to attract. Restaurants located in a busy commercial area stand to benefit, but only if the atmosphere is designed correctly so as to appeal to working folk. Restaurants in residential areas may be better off with a family-friendly design.
  • Theme: The type of cuisine the restaurant specializes in will influence its target market and should be a factor in designing the furnishings. For example, bright decor would go well in a Mexican restaurant but might look out of place in a seafood restaurant. Retro-style furniture may be suited to a diner, but be too distracting in most other places.

The Effects of Interior Design
Various elements have to be taken into account when planning the restaurant’s furnishings. It’s not just the visual appeal or the durability that matters. How close together furniture is placed, how many tables, how many chairs at each table, and how many divisions within the restaurant will all affect the customer, even if at a subconscious level.
 
Choice of colours is important. For example, red colours may be stimulate the guests, and so be better suited to night dining restaurants where the customers are expected to be conversational. Green, on the other hand, is believed to have a more relaxing effect, so would be more suited to casual restaurants or pubs frequented after work. White is a common choice for restaurants in business areas because of its neutrality. Certain areas are considered ‘unpopular’, such as tables near the kitchen and bathroom, or right in the middle where customers may feel exposed. Partitioning off portions of the restaurant with decorative walls can compensate for this.
 
Just as important as the choice of where to place furniture is where not to place it. Effective restaurant design will manipulate space to the benefit of customers. For example, in a restaurant with lots of space at the entrance, the comings and goings of customers will be more visible, creating a busy and open atmosphere well-suited to places in commercial areas where the clientele will not want to feel too isolated from their work places, even during lunch hours.
 
The right choice of furniture can go a long way towards ensuring a restaurant’s success. If one thinks one can simply ignore this aspect and hope the quality of the food will compensate, one may find one’s restaurant achieving nowhere near its full potential.
 
This guest post was written by Matthew Flax on behalf of Milano. As a bachelor Matthew is a bit of an eating out aficionado, so he knows something about the importance of restaurant chairs and tables and other furnishings.


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