Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Marie Murray


Studies reveal the secret to F&B success… and it’s not what you think

Who is F&B again?

 marie murray, June 30, 2015

We’ve heard it since we were little. make a good impression. be polite. don’t talk with your mouth full. say please and thank you. don’t pick your nose…

As kids, these rules just seemed annoying, but somehow we knew that our parents were trying to tell us something important.

what were they getting at anyway? they were teaching us about image: the face we present to the public.

In the F&B industry, image is a lot more important than we might think. that may be common knowledge to industry experts. but not all of the contributing factors that make up ‘image’ are created equal.

One contributing factor really makes the biggest impact.

we’ll get to all those factors and highlight the most important one, but first, let’s take a look at why image is so important.

One study1 shows that in public spaces, image is often the primary factor that determines whether or not people will return to a public space and whether they’ll recommend it to others.

it matters. this is especially true for franchises that fall between fast food chains and full service restaurants, which are rapidly becoming most popular in the food industry.2

so, what exactly is image?

it’s what sets a public space apart from competitors. it’s all the things that make a brand stand out.

it’s more than the immediate experience guests have while they’re actually in the public space.

image is what sticks in the patrons’ minds long after they’ve left, and what keeps them coming back for more… or never returning.

Technically speaking, image is the combination of branding, décor and interior design, furniture, store location, waiting time for a meal, food quality, menu variety, professional appearance of staff, price, and cleanliness3. but really, image is the specific harmony of all those factors working together. (And how we perceive harmony? According to what idiosyncrasy?))

today, the options and possibilities can seem endless. guests can choose from an almost unlimited number of public spaces, and the variety of choices are staggering. they can base their decision off of menu preference, ambiance, service, price range, or location. so why not focus on just one aspect and gain popularity by excelling in that area?

The fascinating discovery we’re sharing with you is that the whole is far more significant than the sum of its parts.

The individual aspects of a good restaurant or public space (service, location, menu, wait time) are not nearly as important as the overall experience. yes, all those aspects are included, but they’re exponentially more valuable when they merge to create one unique image.

two zones in the same restaurant create different atmospheres.

So what’s the most important contributing factor?

Surprisingly, it’s usually not the quality or variety of the menu that matters most. that’s because there are more and more places that serve similar menus4.

Image is actually best determined by the décor and interior design5. Creating zones that offer slightly different atmospheres also makes a difference. and furniture is often the differentiating factor between different zones.

The most impactful first impression is the atmosphere. that’s also what stays the most with guests after they leave.

If guests can choose from a wide variety of places, they are most likely to return to the place with the best atmosphere. (Unless the food sucks or not satisfying for the price?)

furniture is often the differentiating factor between different zones.

The next time you think of image as an annoying set of rules that your parents used to make you behave in public, think again.

Image may actually be the primary thing that determines the success of your restaurant or public space.

(And outside the food industry? Does creative interior design contributes to the image?)

we’ve heard it since we were little. make a good impression. be polite. don’t talk with your mouth full. say please and thank you. don’t pick your nose. and on and…


do TVs add to the dining experience?

January 22, 2015

by Marie Murray

when i was younger, i remember learning a piece of dining etiquette from my uncle. He told me that if a guy wants to take a girl on a date, he should always allow the girl to take the seat at the table with the greater view of the room.

if the table is in a corner, for example, the polite thing for him to do is to choose the chair facing the walls, so that she becomes the center of his undivided vision. (And the universe should be the prerogative of her undivided attention?)

i forgot all about this dating memo until recently, when i found myself going out to eat in a restaurant with several large TV screens hovering at just the right altitude and angles to ensure everyone’s easy viewing access.

Throughout the evening, our conversations would stop as our eyes continually drifted away from each other and towards the images flashing across the screen.

the presence of TV screens in restaurant settings has now become widespread enough that it would seem almost strange to complain about.

And yet, when you think about it, the presence of a TV screen seems to contradict the very purpose of most restaurants. the whole concept of dining out is typically meant to provide:

  • a chance to spend time with people over a meal and enjoy the company
  • seating and furniture layout set up to facilitate conversation
  • food prepared for you that is often different from what you’re used to

why is it then, that TVs have become such a common feature within restaurants?

a number of studies1 show that people tend to snack more and eat larger portions if they are sitting in front of the TV.

The reason for this is obvious. if people are distracted while eating, they are less mindful of how much they are consuming, and less aware of the signals that the body sends when it is full. perhaps the restaurant industry has taken note of this and realized that customers are prone to consume more when there is a TV present.

a recent study has been conducted on a restaurant that had been receiving poor reviews for the past several years. to best understand why their customers seemed less satisfied than before, the restaurant compared the practices of 2004 with those of 2014. the findings were fascinating.

the only significant difference between the two years was that the 2014 consumers owned smart phones. the 2014 customers were constantly on their phones, asking the waiting staff to take photos, and lingering over text messages and social media. they ended up staying for almost double the time compared to the 2004 customers, and left feeling less satisfied with the overall experience. because they were likely not aware that their smart phones were the problem, they blamed the restaurant. you may wonder what this study has to do with TVs and dining.

the point here is that while considering the concept of your restaurant, you may want to draw up a cost-benefit analysis. there is a good chance that TVs will increase your total revenue, but there may also be the risk that customer satisfaction will decrease.

of course there are certain venues where a TV is very important to the concept. many restaurants or pubs for example, provide a place to meet up with a group of friends to watch a football match. some restaurants show music videos that appeal to a certain age group and add to the ambiance of the environment. in these cases, the concept is meant to provide a space that allows groups of friends, colleagues, or even strangers to unite over a shared entertainment experience, and enjoy some food and beverage in the meantime. a TV is a vital addition to this environment. (Target the main interests of your customers?)

as you are thinking about the concept of your dining space, there are some helpful questions you might want to ask.

  • is the aims to facilitate pleasant conversation amongst diners, or is it to offer customers a place to view a sports game together?
  • does the overall revenue increase brought by TVs outweigh the potential decrease in consumer ratings?
  • will your customers’ attention be pulled away from the quality and taste of the food?
  • if you decide that a TV fits well with the concept of your venue, how can you design your seating and furniture layout to maximize the customers’ experience?
  • if your aim is to bring friends together to watch, for example, a world cup game, are there other times during the day when it is beneficial to keep the TV turned off?

whether or not my uncle’s tip has become outdated, he still makes a good point about the purpose of the dining experience. when consumers are unable to focus on the people they are with, chances are everyone will probably leave feeling less than satisfied. this is where well planned dining concept can help everyone involved to have a richer experience, whether it is through pleasant conversation, or the feeling of shared solidarity that comes from watching an exciting match together.

Note: People who end up watching TV in restaurants have nothing much to converse about, and should not be going on dates?






January 2023

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