What is it that brings new guests into your restaurant? Sometimes it may be a specific promotion that you’re running, or maybe one of your current guests shared a story about a recent trip to a restaurant on her favorite social network, or even one of your funky restaurant’s menu ideas that’s different from other places.
However, some strategies work differently. This begins with your restaurant’s concept. The strategy I’m talking about creating a unique dining experience for your guests. This may involve the atmosphere as well as the cuisine that you offer. It is certainly a significant undertaking to develop an incredible restaurant, and it requires a lot of commitment. The rewards may be impressive, though, because it can turn your restaurant into a novelty or a tourist attraction.
The places people go for unique restaurant experiences
Casa Bonita: In Lakewood, Colorado lies one of the grandest Mexican restaurants I’ve ever encountered. The 52,000 square feet of Casa Bonita not only houses great Mexican food, it also provides a unique atmosphere with amazing aesthetics and live shows.
Inside, the restaurant is designed to look like a Mexican village. This includes a 30-foot waterfall that’s designed to resemble the cliffs of Acapulco. Beyond the cliffs and caverns, Casa Bonita has live shows that include cliff divers. For those who want to join in on the fun, there are multiple arcades, puppet shows, table games and a gift shop.
The restaurant first opened in 1974 and has become a tourist attraction, bringing in curious diners from all around. Parties are offered at Casa Bonita, which is a great way of building an additional revenue stream.
Rainforest Cafe: There are a number of Rainforest Café locations across America, and each one appeals to kids, families and the adventure-minded clientele. The Rainforest Cafe offers a scenic escape, complete with waterfalls, lush vegetation and rainforest creatures sure to delight the kids. The menu lists thematic meals like “Rumble in the jungle turkey wrap” and “Amazon fajitas.”
Developing a rainforest-themed cafe has paid off, especially since it makes the restaurant family-friendly. Even if you can’t build a multi-million dollar restaurant, there’s plenty of word fun you can play with on your menu. Let me remind you of Dumb Starbucks once more; all they did was add “dumb” to every item on the menu
Ninja New York: Guests who walk into Ninja New York are transported back to the feudal days in a ninja village.
According to Haruo Yazaki, the President of Shinobi NY LLC, the philosophy behind Ninja New York is to impress its customers. As their website states, they offer “dishes that are pleasing to the eye and also tasty; quality services, surprises, and the accurate re-creation of the Ninja castle.”
The restaurant’s signature dish is Katana. This dish includes an Angus steak with teriyaki sauce, fried risotto and Alaskan king crab served with tomato mango sauce and topped with white sauce and melted cheese.
The Beehive: For a more subtle theme, Boston locals take to The Beehive to spend some time in an artistic space with creative energy constantly flowing because every night the restaurant and bar hosts world-class musicians.
The menu combines Middle Eastern, Eastern European, and American flare to create satisfying comfort food. The menu provides an array of options, from Malaysian style chili wings to duck au poivre.
For the artistically minded among us, art shows are displayed on the walls of the restaurant, on the stage, and in the design finishes.
Unique food, music, and art is a great way to bring in new audiences. See? Not every theme needs to have cliff divers, ninjas or parrots!
Margaritaville: Margaritaville may be one of the best-known themed restaurants around. Jimmy Buffet opened his chain of Margaritaville restaurants in 1985 and has been expanding since, with locations around the U.S., the Caribbean, and Australia. Some locations even have casinos.
This restaurant chain was named after the hit song with the same name and provides guests with a tropical experience. It’s also a meeting place for “Parrot Heads” who are people that identify as Jimmy Buffet fans.
If you plan on creating a unique restaurant experience, try offering food not found in other places, particularly in your area.
Developing the restaurant’s atmosphere with a unique place in mind, be it tropical, jungle themed, or time-period based, is also a great idea. You can even base your concept on a seasonal menu, keeping your guests excited about the changes.
What do you think of themed restaurants? Is it the unique experience you want to offer your guests? Please share your thoughts with us on Twitter @getupserve.