Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but life has been fairly busy. I just got back from a Jamaican vacation, and we recently bought a condo in S.F. Nights and weekends are now spent frantically trying to fix the place up before we move in. That being said, I wanted to post today about ways that restaurants can improve the eating out experience. My ideas are listed below:
1. Have sinks, soap, hand towels, and lotion available when you first come in the front door. Seriously, how many people actually get seated and then leave the table to wash their hands before the meal? More expensive restaurants could have a person there to help you wash your hands and dry them on quality towels. If any of you know restaurant owners, tell them about this idea and see if it catches on.
2. Meditation rooms. Ok, this may be a bit of a stretch, but why not have a sound proof space set aside where an individual or a family could go and give thanks to their higher power for the food they are about to eat. It could also be just a space where someone goes to relax a moment and collect their thoughts before they go and have their meal. Just a place to kind of shake off the worries of the world outside and prepare yourself and your senses for the meal ahead.
3. Mints. Yes, I said mints. I think every restaurant should give their patrons a mint on the way out the door. I know I'm not the only one who has worried about their breath after eating a meal.
4. Raw Ingredients. Whenever possible, let the patrons taste the raw ingredient before the finished product. For example, we toured a winery in Oregon once that let us taste each grape before we tasted the wine from that type of grape. It was a great experience.
5. Select music that goes with the theme of the restaurant. I think it takes away from the experience if you go to a Mexican restaurant and have rock music or go to a Chinese restaurant and hear country music. Create a total ambiance around the meal.
6. Pay staff well. A well paid staff is a loyal staff, and that means that they will be there for many years and get to know the regular customers. Word will also get out about your restaurant paying a good wage, and you will not only get skilled people trying to work there, but some customers will go there just because they know everyone is treated fairly. This may not be possible in the smaller mom & pop operations where the profit is minimal, but it is definitely possible in some of the more upscale restaurants or chains. Don't pass this additional cost on to the customer. If possible, buy a less expensive house or car and treat your employees to a fair and decent wage.
7. Clean the bathrooms. I can't believe that I really have to say this. If your bathroom is dirty, it kind of throws some suspicion on to the kitchen area. Please, clean the bathrooms.
I will try to post more frequently and include pics of my Jamaican vacation.