We should think of our Restaurants as we do our homes. Think of your guests as if they were your Mom, or family, coming to visit. [Hopefully, you think of your Mom coming to visit in that way!] We really must take pride in making sure our “home” is set for the perfect comfort level and memorable ambiance for our guests, which brings up the question, “What is the mood that you are trying to create?” It needs to be thought out and deliberate. It has to be consistent. Whether cozy and romantic, vibrant and upbeat, or a casual happening place, all of the elements need to work together in harmony.

There are several key elements to ensuring great ambiance. These need to be in place and verified when our managers walk the floor prior each and every shift. We cannot just assume; inspect what you expect. Follow this simple daily checklist:

1. Lighting – The lights within the building should reflect the mood of the time of day. A good rule of thumb is to have full lighting during the day until the 5:00 pm dinner shift begins. At this time, the lights should dim to reflect a quiet evening ambiance.

2. Temperature – Is it comfortable for those visiting? Not stuffy or too warm? The perfect temperature is generally around 70 degrees. Remember that windows that are in direct sunlight will need to be addressed differently with a shade or separate setting.

3. Music – If the music is set to a certain genre during the day, it’s important that the genre is consistent from day to day. For dinner, a nice evening music setting that is a great match to the mood you are creating is key. Volume is most important. If not loud enough, it can be annoying or not even heard, but if too loud and guests cannot hear themselves in regular conversation, then that doesn’t work either! Remember not to let the staff control the volume.

4. DécorIs it attractive and congruent with your concept? What can we do to enhance color, texture, artwork, and eye appeal? Look around, sit down and evaluate.

5. Cleanliness – Take care to ensure that every area is clean and presentable such as restrooms, the view into the kitchen or back of the house, behind the bar, side stations, and did I say restrooms?

6. Everything in its place – A thorough walk-through of the area should be done every day by you or your manager. Check for clutter, cleanliness, table sets, etc.

7. Uniforms – Clean, well-maintained and worn properly. While you are at it evaluate makeup, nails, and hygiene.

You are about to go live, making sure that the stage is set and ready!


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