It's all about the Sizzle!

Why do patrons go back to restaurants? Why do they recommend to their friends and post on social media? What does it really take to make a restaurant great? Sometimes it can be the food, often the service, and usually the atmosphere. More often than not, it is a combination of all of the above, sprinkled with a little extra SIZZLE!

Sizzle is what helps a restaurant stand apart from others and be successful! Let’s try to define Sizzle. If you review the trendy and popular restaurants, you will find that they all have something in common - that little special something, magic, or Sizzle, that makes all the difference.

Take the art world, for example. You can look at a painting, one that has lots of good qualities, is accurately painted, has a great background, has good color, depth, and even nice highlights, but it can be missing that magic that makes it pop! It can even be missing some of those qualities. But, if it has the Sizzle, it can make up for some shortcomings because it has something that sets it apart from the crowd.

Think about your restaurant this way: the menu, the food quality, the service culture, the atmosphere, the cocktails and when you put them all together, how does it feel? Is there any magic or Sizzle? What would be most memorable about a guest’s experience? Why would you go back there, and what would you tell your friends? Take a poll, look on Yelp, Open Table, and other social media, and review what people are saying - read between the lines. Is it good, great, or amazing? Good is not enough. In this day-and-age where there are restaurants on every corner and you could try a new one each day, why would you go a second time? You need to give your customers a reason to come back. What is yours?

My advice would be to then create your own Sizzle team- a hand-picked team tasked with reviewing and evaluating your operation and creating that special Sizzle! It might consist of managers, servers, cooks, regular guests, owners or anyone that has a vested interest. However, it must be comprised of individuals who will have honest input and, hopefully, creative ideas, so that you can create a new vision for the Brand that is your restaurant. It might be lighting, music, curb appeal, pricing, menus, or any of the myriad of things that make the difference. Evaluate everything.

You may not get it the first time, but keep tweaking until you find the special magic, and one day, it will just happen!

Russ Blakeborough, Managing Director at Focus - F&B is available to evaluate your operation and assist in creating the Sizzle for your venue. Visit for more information