Creating the ‘wow factor’: 5 top tips for creating a positive first impression for your resturaunt

The success of your restaurant is heavily reliant on you making a favourable first impression on your customers.

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Creating the ‘wow factor’: 5 top tips for creating a positive first impression for your resturaunt

The success of your restaurant is heavily reliant on you making a favourable first impression on your customers and first impressions are formed within seconds of them either coming into your restaurant or finding you online.

And making sure you create a positive first impression isn’t just about keeping your customers coming back. You also want them to tell their family and friends about you so your client base keeps growing without you having to expend any more time, energy or money on marketing than you absolutely have to.

So what can you do to maximize the likelihood you leave that all important favourable first impression? Here are a few tips we’ve picked up whilst working with the many restaurants we are proud to call our clients.

1. Make it easy

Many new customers will find you first online or on social media so make sure your website is inviting and easy to use and that it makes both perusing your menu and offers and booking a table as easy as possible.

Maintain an active presence on social media. You’ll need to develop the right ‘voice’ depending on where you sit in the market and the brand you want to build. Post pictures of your food and your premises in full swing (it’s repeatedly proven the public responds to pictures when it comes to choosing where they want to eat out). Make sure you not only engage with positive comments but also know how to respond to negative comments as fighting back publicly or just ignoring them will do even more damage.

2. Extend a warm welcome

Nothing will put customers off more than a frosty, disinterested and/or delayed welcome. Make sure your staff are trained to welcome customers warmly as soon as they you’re your establishment and that you have your resources organized to make sure that happens every time.

Similarly when you receive a phone call, make sure every call is answered quickly and every caller is dealt with in an efficient but friendly way.

And if you offer a takeaway service, make sure those clients feel just as valued whether that means taking care of them while they wait or making sure your ordering and payment process is as easy as possible if they are calling for a delivery.

3. Make sure your restaurant is spotless

When it comes to food people want to see the highest possible level of cleanliness regardless of the time, day or nature of their visit so please make sure:

Your toilets are cleaned and fully stocked. A dirty WC stop a third of your customers from making a return visit but only after 1 in 5 walk out there and then.

Your tables, menus, cutlery and surfaces are spotless. Customers will notice if they’re not and the question they’ll ask themselves is if you can’t keep the table clean, what does the kitchen look like?

Your staff and their uniforms are clean because if they can’t keep themselves clean, a customer is perfectly entitled to question why they should let them handle their food.

4. Focus on your presentation

Present your food on the plate in an attractive way; a few bits slopped on a plate won’t wow your diners and again, a lack of care in plating up may lead customers to question the level of care being taken in the kitchen.

Wherever possible separate hot and cold items and mains and sides to allow your customers to serve themselves the way they want to.

And if you offer a delivery or takeaway service, make sure your food is packaged neatly and delivered on time and at the right temperature and think about what else a diner may need whether than means including sauces, plastic cutlery or napkins to make enjoying your wares as easy as possible.

5. Be proud of your brand

The way your restaurant looks is what will set it out from your competitors (in fact recent developments in trade mark law show restauranteurs are trying to protect their lay out as much as their logo).

Create a strong logo using the colours that best reflect your offering and make sure it’s incorporated in every touchpoint. If you have a theme (i.e. Spanish tapas, western burgers, wok-flamed Asian fusion) make sure it’s reflected in your décor and furniture.

Most of all make sure ‘you tell your story’. Explain where your idea came from and why you have chosen your concept. That level of inclusion will help your clients really buy into what they’re enjoying and again make it more likely that they’ll tell their family and friends so they can enjoy it too.

If you’d like to discuss how to find and secure the right premises for your restaurant, how best to protect and promote your brand or would like to discuss how best to manage, retain and develop your staff, Keebles’ specialist Leisure & Tourism team can help. If you have any legal questions please email Craig Law at or call Craig on 0114 252 1440

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