The Basics of Choosing a Restaurant Theme

A key component of restaurant success is choosing a restaurant theme that will attract customers. A coherent theme can help your establishment stand out in customers’ minds, turning your restaurant from a generic eatery into a specific destination eagerly sought out by diners. You should be able to sum up your restaurant theme in a few words that convey a single distinctive character expressed through menu, décor, service, and overall ambiance. Follow the basics of choosing a restaurant theme to find the theme that is the perfect fit for your establishment.

Balance bliss and demand If you are opening a restaurant, you probably have a style of food that is your passion and specialty. Since you will be investing enormous amounts of time and energy in your restaurant, you should incorporate what you enjoy; however, you need to make sure that demand exists for your concept and style of food. Shape a restaurant theme that balances local demand with your passion – while you may have in mind a hip hangout, if you are in a family-centric area, you may find more success employing a whole family approach. The first step is to determine your market:

Demographics What is your customer base? You need to know the details of the local population: their age groups, financial range, household size, ethnic background, and job types. Use a market research company, look up census data, or consult local realtors to find this information. Check more than just local resident data; an office complex, college, mall, or other draw in the area may supply your target audience. Use this information to determine the mechanics of your restaurant:

  1. Cost
  2. Type – casual, full-service, etc.
  3. Additional services (i.e. delivery, catering)
  4. Hours of operation
  5. Bar or liquor service

Competition What type of restaurant is successful in your area? Can you offer a better version of an in-demand specialty, or add a feature to create your own niche? Frequent local establishments to learn as much as you can about their menus, price range, and customer service style. Look for unmet demands you can fulfill.

Weigh cost and benefit You may be in an area with a large demand for pizza and notice a dearth of authentic wood fired pizza shops. Should you spend thousands of dollars for a wood fired oven? Determine your startup budget, and stick to it! It will take some time to build up business for your new restaurant; if your loan payment is too large, you may go under before you have a chance to establish yourself. Figure out a theme that fits your price range now, realizing you can elaborate and expand over time to add more expensive options as your business increases.

Incorporate food trends While you want to avoid flash-in-the-pan fads, where the market for a particular product will disappear after a short time, a careful examination of food trends can help you create a successful restaurant theme. The growing trend towards healthier, locally sourced food, for example, might lead you to offer vegetarian menu choices, low-fat options, and smaller portion sizes.

Tie it all together Incorporate all these elements to find your winning restaurant theme. For example, your love of Italian food, the proximity of two colleges, a local farmers’ market, high local income range, and prevalence of Italian restaurants could lead you to open an organic Italian restaurant and pizzeria, serving craft beer and offering delivery. Keep your theme focused and easily expressed to create a distinctive impression with diners, and be willing to adjust your menu offerings and hours as you see what works in your area.

For the fullest expression of your chosen restaurant theme, turn to Pinnacle Hospitality Systems’ powerful POSitouch POS. The many user-designed features of Pinnacle’s POS for restaurants enables you to easily customize the system, while flexible menu and price functionality allows you to change items on the fly as you tailor your offerings for your specific market. If you choose to offer delivery, Pinnacle’s POSitouch Delivery Service features a powerful database and order history to ensure deliveries are correct and on time. Contact Pinnacle today at 1-800-771-7100 for more information on how Pinnacle’s top-notch POS systems can help your restaurant succeed.