India is buzzing with food joints, cafes, and restaurants in every nook and corner. As per National Restaurant Association of India, out of the entire population in India, 50% is eating at least once in restaurants in a matter of three months. (courtesy: ASSOCHAM). This fact goes hand in hand with a considerable rise in food joints, cafes, and restaurants. It has acted as a stimulus for people who want to open food joints. Unfortunately, there is an alarming rise in shutting down of startup cafes too. There could be several reasons behind this as we know these cafes are opening up amidst competitive environments.
I am a frequent visitor to such places and I keep a close watch on minute details that restaurant owners integrate. On that note, I am penning down 6 points that restaurants and cafes should keep in mind before opening one.
- Space – A lot of restaurants do not give enough thought to space allocation. You may often come across cafes and eateries made within a very small section where tables and chairs tend to have friction now and then. It is important to maintain enough space so that staff and people can easily walk by.
- Lighting – A lot of food joints have developed a trend to maintain dim lights in the premises. Usually dim lights are kept with an intention to bring in an element of romance in the environment. It may seem trendy or may be west influenced but somehow diminishing lights don’t make a huge mark. It is important to have adequate lighting so that you can see your food and people properly.
- Furnishings – During my recent visits to a few restaurants and cafes, I noticed that the owners had given a lot of thought to the designing of the chairs and tables. In all honesty, I appreciate the novelty. But, in the process of integrating creativity, comfort takes a back seat. Peculiar looking chairs which have less space, these often do not comply with the average torso of a foodie. Eatery owners should avoid tables with different shapes and if they decide to have them anyway, they should make sure they make them large. Same goes for the chairs. Prioritize on the comfort level and make sure they are not too heightened. People with back ache or short height find it difficult to climb up and sit. Focus on easy sitting arrangements rather than implementing a complex design.
- Entry – During my recent trip to Mysore, I stumbled upon a café that had a theme of a garage. From entry to exit, they had car replicas and equipment as part of décor. Something that caught my eye was the entry. It was a decently spaced pathway with flower pots kept on the sideways. They simply added to the beauty of the entry. Restaurants should strongly concentrate at their reception of the guests. If it is a narrow lane, dingy staircase, dimly lit pathway or complicated, it will be difficult to attract guests. No matter how novice theme you have but if your guests struggle to enter the outlet then it is a tough challenge.
- Menu – India is one of those economies where people relish their staple diets at cost. They do not mind eating something that is a regularly cooked at home. But with the passing time, the urban population is drifting towards experimenting with food. People are adopting Italian, Mexican, Mediterranean etc. Now, if you own a restaurant, understand you are catering a globally exposed people so experiment with food with full knowledge of demographics. An eatery offering rabbit curry in North India may not receive appreciation. Give a thought to the people whom you are going to serve food.
- Staff – A large proportion of people speak English these days so your staff being aware of English is also mandatory. And if the restaurant is located in a region where the native language is equally spoken at large then knowing that language is crucial too. Presentation is also a criterion, which is usually kept in sync with the theme of the restaurant. Make sure the staff feels comfortable in wearing the uniform. For instance, a waiter draping a lungi may not be comfortable while serving food. It is important to look into such matters that are directly related to appeal, etiquettes and behavior.