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Get the Look

Get the Look

‘I judge a restaurant by the bread and the coffee.’ Burt Lancaster

First impressions leave a lasting memory, so making sure the look of your business is in harmony with your brand story and food, is so important. The look of your foodie business reflects who you are and the passion with which you deliver your food and everything about

your business.

For me, this is great fun; you can visualise what you want your foodie business to look like and start putting all those pieces in place.

Although you have a vision in your head, there’s a certain amount of research still needed so the reality not only looks the way you want, but it works efficiently and effectively as well.

One of the main areas of research is the kitchen. As with a kitchen in a house, the kitchen is the heart of a foodie business and needs to flow well.

It would be really wise to speak to an experienced equipment supplier to make sure that:

1. you’re getting the correct equipment to produce certain menu items

2. you’re putting everything in the right place, so your flow in the kitchen works well.

When we’re talking about the look of your foodie dream, the décor needs to match the theme and style of your business. Although we all have a vision in our head of what we want our business to look like, choosing the right décor is really important. Make sure it complements the food you’re serving and the atmosphere that you want to create.

If your food is Mexican themed and your décor is Japanese, you’re sending mixed messages to your customers; the feel and atmosphere won’t be right.

A lot of people put all their efforts into the interior design and the designer has no idea what’s happening in the kitchen. On the other hand, chefs or cooks puts all their energies into the kitchen but nothing into interior design.

You need to ensure that your décor incorporates your brand story, this must form part

of the style of the décor. If you have an Italian restaurant, pictures on the wall of your great grandparents and family who have been making pasta for the last fifty years, forms part of your brand story; you need to incorporate this into your décor.

Something else to consider is whether you can have an outdoor seating area or bar, and how that’s going to flow so it has the same feel and atmosphere as the inside. Think about the décor; it doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but it must feel and flow the same way.

There are systems that need to be put in place in a foodie business and you need to make sure all these systems work together, including POS systems, EFTPOS and security systems. Do they all work together to maximise efficiency?

Although this is the fun part of the process, for some people it can be hard to visualise what you want the end product to look like. For some people, it’s really difficult to convey your vision to others, but I encourage you to speak to people who are professional and do this

every day. They will guide you and pick your brain to gather all the information that is stuck in your head.

Putting some serious thought into design, front of house, kitchen and décor will ensure the look of the business, the brand story and the food being produced all tie in together.

There are two different premises that may be available to you: one is an empty shell and the other is an existing premise. Although setting up in an empty shell may appeal to you, because you can be more creative and produce your exact vision, be aware that this scenario will be the most work for you and will usually be more expensive in several areas.

For starters, the kitchen will need full planning, including hydraulic drawings and engineering drawings for council. This is time consuming, at a cost to you and you may need to change it a couple of times until the council are happy and sign off on it. You also have to build walls, install grease trap, exhaust hoods and organise plumbing, painting electricals.

The council will want plans for both new and existing premises. However, with an existing premises a lot of the ground work will be done (plumbing, painting etc).

Plans and designs are everything, if you have no plans, you have nothing. A supplier can’t give you a price or quote on a place without plans. Making sure you research who you will use to do your design and supply your equipment will ensure a smooth process. Word of mouth referrals are great.

When you close your eyes in bed at night, what do you see? Write down your vision or talk it through and record it. This is your ultimate dream and this is where you need to start.

If your foodie dream is a café, put on your walking shoes and start pounding the pavement. Go to as many cafés as you can. Stand across the street and have a look at the overall picture: go inside, talk to the staff, say hello, order coffee and sit down in a back corner somewhere. Read the paper and observe how it looks, how it flows. What colour are the walls? What sort of furniture do they have? By doing this, things will jump out at you and you’ll say, ‘Oh wow, I really love the colour of those walls,’ or, ‘I don’t like that timber on the bench tops.’

You will find things that you like and don’t like; this will all go towards forming what your style and look is going to be. Look at textures – what do you like? Is it timber or tiles? Patterned tiles?

Think about what ‘look’ is trending at the moment and decide whether that’s a good way to go or not. Just because it is trending right now, in six months’ time you may be out of the loop because something new is trending. Also, on the other side of the coin, do you want something that’s really way out there? Will people feel comfortable in your space?

It may be what you like, but will the customer feel good and want to come back?

You really want customers to feel at home, so think about the comfort of your chairs, tables, benches and couches. Think about what your brand story is and make sure that your décor complements your story and style of foodie business.

Remember: People remember how you make them feel.

Speak to your local equipment dealer and designer who’s designing your kitchen and the look. They are helping people every day of the week and can see what works and what doesn’t.

Going through this process is a great way to articulate your ideas and draw people into your dream. It’s also a great way to ask yourself some questions about getting that right look.

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