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6 Easy Ways to Improve Your Restaurant Ambiance

One of the best ways to draw more customers into your restaurant is to improve your restaurant ambiance. In a survey, customers ranked ambiance as the third most important factor in a restaurant, right behind food and service. Another poll found that customers think service and atmosphere are more important than the quality of food.

If you think that customers only care about how your food tastes, then it might be time to think again. Your restaurant ambiance can have a huge impact on how customers perceive your business. This also affects whether or not they will return.

Here are just a few elements to consider when improving your restaurant ambiance.

1. Lighting

If you change one thing, change your lighting. Lighting is an instant way to create different moods and has the ability to completely change the way a space looks and feels. There are three primary types of lighting in restaurants.

  • Task lighting is functional light that is used to properly illuminate any given space for the activities that take place in that space.

  • Ambient lighting sets the tone and mood for a restaurant, creating an overall impression of your restaurant atmosphere.

  • Accent lighting is used to draw attention to specific features or elements of your restaurant, like unique wall decor or furnishings.

When choosing the correct lighting, think about the overall restaurant aesthetic that you’re trying to communicate. Are you running a romantic Greek restaurant? Then bright, white, industrial-style lighting might not be the best fit. Are you running a breakfast place? A dark and moody restaurant lighting scheme might not set the right tone.

2. Sound

Noise levels in restaurants can be a real problem. With cooks and servers setting down and picking up dishes and silverware, chairs scraping as customers sit down and stand up and multiple parties of diners attempting to have conversations, the noise levels in restaurants can reach unbearable volumes.

There are a few ways to deal with restaurant noise levels, including fabric sound panels, noise-reducing linen tablecloths, and creating more barriers between diners and cooking areas. First, assess where the majority of noise is coming from, then figure out the solution that makes the most sense for your restaurant.

You can also create a restaurant ambiance by playing appropriate music at the right level. Not only does this provide a white noise barrier so that conversations feel more private but it can enhance the mood of your establishment. For example, if your restaurant serves food from a particular area of the world, play music from that geographical genre to enhance the ambiance.

3. Colors

A great way to create a cohesive restaurant ambiance is to perfect your restaurant’s color scheme. A new coat of paint or an accent wall can do wonders for your restaurant’s visual appeal. For example, if you serve mostly natural produce, consider earthy and neutral brown, green, or blue tones for your walls, linens, furniture, and decor. If you’re serving high-end Italian food, then you could focus on deep, rich reds and browns.

If you don’t want to do a full restaurant redesign, then consider vamping up your restaurant interior by adding pops of color with on-theme decor, changing up your restaurant napkin color, or painting one wall with a different hue or print.

4. Linens

The right restaurant linens can instantly elevate your restaurant ambiance. Linens have always been a marker of quality and class in the restaurant industry, and by providing your guests with real linen tablecloths and napkins, you help them to associate your restaurant with a higher-quality dining experience.

Not only do linens give your restaurant a more polished feel, but they can also help reduce noise in your restaurant by creating a barrier between loud dishes and glasses and your restaurant tables. They can also add more color to your restaurant without the hassle of painting or refurbishing other more permanent fixtures.

5. Uniforms

Restaurant uniforms can be a great way to promote your brand as well as improve your restaurant ambiance. Your restaurant guests are going to pay more attention to your customer service than to any external restaurant feature. Create an air of sophistication and professionalism with stylish and functional employee uniforms.

With employee uniforms, you ensure that all of your staff adheres to one look that’s cohesive with your restaurant ambiance.

6. Cleanliness

Finally, the easiest and most foolproof way to improve your restaurant ambiance is to ensure that your restaurant is clean. Dirty restaurants will never, ever be in style. If your guests see dirty tables, stained napkins, and streaky glasses, then it doesn’t matter how cool your lighting scheme is – they’re not going to want to come back. If your restrooms are always dirty and out of soap, then it doesn’t matter if you have the coolest accent wall on the block – they’re never going to patronize your restaurant again.

Cleanliness should always be one of your top priorities. Not only does it keep your staff and customers safe, but it improves any ambiance, no matter what your theme is.


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