Palate Pleasures – The Eat Atmosphere

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It can never be emphasised enough that all successful experiences in life are all about the whole package. Something very special happens when all the elements come together as if by magic, or extreme luck at the very least. It’s like a great day out at the beach, when the conditions are just perfect – the sun is shining, it’s warm with a light breeze, and the tide is high.

You can’t help but feel extreme gratitude for the forces of nature at play that came together so perfectly to create this optimum environment.

Moments like these are the life affirming and soul uplifting boosts that we need. Memories of them keep a smile in our hearts and fortify us to get through the times when things perhaps don’t go as well.

Although it’s always possible to harness our optimism in situations that lack such obvious merits and make the best of the less than ideal aspects, to let our stoic human nature and survival skills kick in, it is nevertheless wonderful when things just seem to work out well.

When it comes to Mother Nature of course, we have no control over the outcome, apart from choosing to remain indoors when the weather is inclement.

Luckily for us all though, there are other situations where we can harness the power to influence the elements to best attain the happy times we crave.

For example, when it comes to the restaurant experience, we can do our best to get all the aspects of the dining experience right – great food, excellent drinks, warm and efficient service, and inviting ambience.

Now the top three of these – food, drinks and service are an absolute no brainer when it comes to things we need to get right to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. Yet the fourth element, that of ambience, is oftentimes overlooked.

Just as the warm, sunny and not too windy day is crucial for our beach day – so is the right kind of atmosphere in a restaurant. Loud music? Great for the diners that are thinking to head to a nightclub next, but perhaps not for the majority who want to have an actual conversation with their fellow diners. Ditto, bad acoustics – when a room is too bare and echoey and it can be difficult to talk without yelling over the ambient noise in the room. The list goes on for things that can really ruin your night – too hot or cold, draughty table, too bright or too dim, uncomfortable furniture, indoor vs alfresco …

There’s really a lot to think about and like everything, perception is utterly subjective and one person’s “romantic mood lighting” is another ones‘ “so dark I literally couldn’t see what I was eating”.

Feeling comfortable – both physically and in a sensory way – cannot be underestimated in any situation, but when looking forward to a special night out, its importance is paramount.

Not enjoying any aspect of a restaurant’s ambience on a previous occasion is just as huge a factor in making a decision to dine on a subsequent occasion, as is ordering a dud main course.

Essentially, the room has to feel as welcoming as your living room, whilst being able to attain a level of polish and flair that transforms you out of your everyday reality and into a somewhat stylish and sophisticated realm at the same time. No easy feat, getting the balance right and appealing to as many individuals as possible …

But a bit of TLC in this area goes a long way – taking care to establish what kind of environment appeals to your customer demographic, combined with the overall statement you want your digs to make, plus a little tweaking to suit the busy shifts vs the quiet ones, vs the groups and the singles and couples goes a long way.

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