The market place invites heavy competition in the food industry. Looking for even the slightest differentiators to make your bistro stand out is especially important. Although a well-designed menu, good food and efficient service are important components for enticing customers, a bistro’s interior design influences his/her dining experience. The physical environment of the bistro itself mirrors the image and therefore can positively or negatively affect the customer’s perception of the bistro’s image.
More than ever before, restaurants have become one of the best designed commercial facilities in the world. This is due to the fact that eating out is fashionable and customers expect restaurateurs to provide them with an environment that is welcoming and relaxing upon visitation. With a strong and an original decorating theme, you can cook up a visual feast that will quickly convert first time visitors to long term customers. Before you even ignite your stove, you need to define the concept of your establishment. This may seem like a cinch to many restaurateurs but as a customer, have you ever felt confused at a restaurant you have eaten at? For example, the menu may have not matched with the ambience – either the items were too expensive for a casual diner or the food is too simple for fine dining restaurant. In such instances, customers may be hesitant to visit your restaurant again. Finding a concept that is in tune with your restaurant’s menu, layout, and décor can prevent this gaffe.
Mixing restaurant concepts is another blunder that should be avoided. You may face the temptation to design your own concept in efforts to set your location apart from competition. While originality is especially crucial when opening up a new restaurant, the restaurant concept should be clear to visitors. Therefore, studying different types of concepts can help you identify the right idea for your restaurant. Putting your own spin to an existing concept is not only a more intelligent business decision but is also the trademark of success among most restaurants.
Originating in 16th century France, a buffet has stood the test of time and continues to be popular among customers. A buffet is a self-service meal with a variety of dishes displayed on a table or a sideboard. Fast casual dining, on the other hand, is currently trending. Fast casual is more upscale than fast food. While fast casual restaurants offer disposable flatware and plates, the food they serve tends to be more gourmets made of organic ingredients. Much like a bistro, a café does not offer table service. Sometimes, a bistro is interchanged with a cafe. Customers place their orders from a counter and serve themselves. Unlike a café, however, a bistro offers full meals.
You may have a great business idea in place and ready to be executed but you haven’t figured out your market yet. A restaurant– particularly a bistro – doesn’t always call out to everyone. The more you are able to narrowly identify your target market, the better it will be for your business ventures in the long run. This process, as we know it, is creating a niche which holds the key of success for even bigger restaurants. Each restaurant has its own niche but finding the one that speaks for you can be challenging. Niches must be carefully thought out and meticulously crafted. Rather than creating a niche, entrepreneurs – including restaurateurs- erroneously claim that that they can do many things and everything else will work their course. Sooner or later, they learn that smaller is bigger in the restaurant business; it is highly concentrated. Your niche should naturally derive from your experiences and interests. It should also describe the customer’s perspective. At this stage, your niche should synthesize as your ideas and customers’ needs/wants coalesce. A good niche possesses 5 qualities:
- It conforms to your long term visions and goals
- It calls out to your customers
- It is carefully planned
- It is unique and your own
- It evolves which allows you to open several branches and even different eateries and still retain your current business
Once you have evaluated your niche and given it a test run, your idea is ready to be implemented. But many restaurateurs enter this stage in trepidation. But if you did your homework thoroughly, you can rest assure that entering the market will only be a calculated risk and not a gamble on the survival of your bistro.
When dining out, the atmosphere is just as important as the meal. While an impressionable design cannot redeem a bad meal or service, it can enhance your patron’s culinary experience. This is just as applicable to bistros. While a bistro restaurant often reveals a 19th century (French) charm, modern elements are increasingly being introduced to this space with contemporary tile flooring, industrial lighting fixtures and bistro tables and chairs that fit in with this setting. While the rules for designing a bistro are not absolute, certain qualities are regularly featured such as vintage style commercial bistro tables and along chairs with bar stools. When taking a look at a bistro décor, you can discover ways to incorporate this quaint yet crisp style with marble accents and the right bistro furniture.
Just as a design, menu and a layout differ among several dining establishments whether they are upscale, casual, modern or vintage; there are different motifs for bistros. At a French bistro, for instance, the menu typically boasts of sandwiches on fresh croissants, delicious varieties of quiches, as well as other French fare. Classic red and white awnings are conspicuously displayed on the window exterior. Brightly painted interior shutters along with flower pots filled with live blossoms make the perfect milieu for a couple of small French bistro tables and chairs – creating an pleasurable street-side dining experience for your guests. You can take the theme inside your restaurant with tables covered red and white checkered tablecloths with a basket of fresh bread on each table and tantalizing desserts in a bakery case. Bottles of wine can share shelf space with more fresh flowers. Lastly, the décor is concluded with a chalkboard supported by an easel that proudly announces the “du jour” menu item.
If you decide to jump on the retro band wagon instead, you can pick a retro-modern theme for your contemporary looking bistro. Bold colors like red or green are commonly used in a retro modern bistro design to catch the attention of patrons. The dining space is furnished with contemporary designed bistro tables and chairs and sometimes restaurant booths. Owners of retro modern bistros want to give their décor a minimalist look with sparse accessories but also want it to stand out with a display of nostalgic items ranging from Coca Cola signs to colorful lava lamps on each table. At such a bistro, restaurateurs aim to give their guests a dining experience that transports them back to the 1950’s and 1960’s.