If you’ve been in the restaurant industry for more than a minute, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the importance of the restaurant guest experience. Today’s foodie culture places more importance on dining and food service than their predecessors, and with that importance comes the expectation of something unique, a drawing card that bids the guest’s return.
An innovative guest experience lies in more than great, unique food they can’t make at home. In some restaurants, it’s somewhat intangible, a feeling you get when you walk in the door. In others, it’s in-your-face excitement with competitive sports or dining in towering trees in the great outdoors.
Let’s explore a few of the innovative approaches to enhancing the customer experience.
Examples of Innovation
According to Merriam-Webster, innovation refers to “a new idea, method, or device: NOVELTY; and the introduction of something new.” A good example in the hospitality world is Airbnb, delighting customers with a new and unique approach to finding accommodations.
Of course, the restaurant industry is laced with creatives. It takes someone with a unique perspective and passion to get into an oftentimes challenging business. This translates to hundreds of unique concepts in every state and, sometimes, in one city. One of the standouts that commonly makes the news is Mélisse in Santa Monica. What was once a 70-seat grand scene transformed into a backstage dining room with an open kitchen that serves 14 guests at five tables? Chef Ian Scaramuzza and his staff guide guests through a 2.5-hour culinary experience.
We can’t all be two-star Michelin restaurants or build restaurants in tree tops. We can, however, create a concept that sets us apart and stays in the minds (and in the reviews) of our guests. Your concept is defined by how you present your delectable food, the atmosphere your guests dine in, and the unique attributes you bring to the table.
You’ve undoubtedly walked into a restaurant and stood for a moment, taking it all in. These restaurants define themselves by their culture, cuisine, or special theme. It’s evident in all the details, from the seating, lighting, colors, music, and table settings that have been carefully chosen and meticulously cared for.
One example is the Grand Banks, an oyster bar located on the historic wooden schooner Sherman Zwicker, docked in downtown Manhattan. Speakeasies are another great example of a concept that defines the experience. Guests must find the secret entrance and exclaim the password upon which they’re greeted, in many instances, by a setting, menu, and entertainment reminiscent of the 1920s. Others are located in former brothels, gas stations, and one-time bookshops.
A Unique Addition
In addition to setting the stage with your unique concept, consider this growing trend—a social wall. These internet-connected digital displays gather, filter, and display content from your social media channels. Beautiful and colorful, they not only allow guests to see what others love about your establishment but also encourage them to upload content to one of your social media platforms and see their content appear on the wall. One of the best features is that they can be customized to align with your concept.
At EMERGING, we’re proud to partner with many of the leading entertainment concepts in the nation, helping them expand by evaluating real estate opportunities that maximize returns and minimize risks. Contact us to learn more about our consulting services or to schedule a consultation.
What is the most unique restaurant in the world?
While the world is full of unique restaurants that go above and beyond to entertain and delight, a few of the standouts include the following:
- The Rock Restaurant, Zanzibar: Located on one of the most beautiful coastlines in east Africa, the restaurant went one step further and is found on a huge rock out in the ocean. Guests reach their dining paradise by canoeing, swimming, or walking, where they’re treated to the ultimate in fresh seafood.
- Bird’s Next Restaurant, Thailand: Guests experience incredible panoramic views of the Andaman Sea as they dine in tree pods 16 feet above the ground. You receive your food and drinks via a zipline-flying server.
- Jean-Georges, Philadelphia: Descend the waterfall-encased staircase to be greeted by a champagne trolley and dine on the 59th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia. Guests enjoy a six-course tasting menu experience amid the breathtaking panoramic city views.
What restaurant has the most Michelin stars?
According to the 2022 Michelin Guide, 142 restaurants received the coveted three Michelin stars. The U.S. came away with 13 three-star restaurants, including Chicago’s Alinea, San Diego’s Addison, and New York City’s Eleven Madison Park.