Restauranteurs have always been an imaginative lot, looking for the next unique restaurant concept that provides the ultimate experience for their customers. From locations reached by gondolas to those lying under the sea, extreme is a theme that goes hand-in-hand with the industry. Today, we can eat in pitch black rooms or try flavored smoke bubbles.
In honor of the most imaginative among us, we thought we’d share the unique venues getting people’s attention in 2022. They might inspire you to create the next restaurant that stands out from the crowd. Let’s take a look.
Themes for Restaurants
A restaurant concept is an overriding theme that defines your restaurant. Get it right, and you’re on the way to an overflowing restaurant with guests booking far in advance. Get it wrong, and your confused or bored guests will be heading down the street to your local competitor.
Some themes are based on a chef’s heritage. These themed restaurants can provide the ultimate experience, transporting their guests to another place in time. There are Moroccan restaurants with bold designs in orange, red, and gold. Then, there are those where you sit low to the ground surrounded by decorative pillows and richly textured rugs, enjoying lamb cooked on a spit over an open fire while drinking green tea with fresh mint or a Moroccan wine. Those are the ones you remember.
Today, some of the most unique themed restaurants include the Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar in San Francisco. The Polynesian-inspired restaurant is built around a “lagoon” that used to be a swimming pool. Musicians entertain you from a floating boat, and tropical rains and lightning storms pass through occasionally.
Aquarium restaurants offer an underwater dining adventure, complete with 200,000-gallon aquariums and a “Mystic Mermaid” underwater show. Found in Denver, Houston, Kemah, and Nashville, this themed restaurant takes the seafood concept to the next level.
Famous Restaurants in the World
Of course, America is not the only place you’ll find conceptual dining experiences. Some of the most beautiful are found in far-off places that require some travel plans.
The Soneva Kiri Resort in Thailand offers a tree-top café restaurant concept. You’ll be gently hoisted up through Koh Kood’s ancient rainforest to a bamboo pod high in the trees that overlook the ocean. Your waiter will serve you via zipline.
Located on the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building sits At.mosphere. View Dubai’s buildings and water features far below while feasting on fusion cuisine in a private dining room or enjoying seasonal ingredients in the lounge.
For those who like their food hot, the El Diablo restaurant is found on a Spanish Island off the coast of Morocco and sits on top of an active volcano. Architects created a basalt volcanic rock structure that supports the cast iron grill that cooks food over geothermal heat.
Inspirational Restaurant Ideas
Of course, not all of us can create massive aquariums or restaurants in rainforests. We can, however, take note from these unique restaurants that are making a difference.
In the basement of the First United Methodist Church in Missoula, you’ll find refugees and immigrants cooking takeout and supper club meals to supplement their income. Called United We Eat, the unique program gives families forced to leave their home countries the opportunity to share their food and culture with their new community.
According to the New York Times, more than 2,200 people receive the weekly menu by email each week. These meals sell out every week, usually in less than 30 minutes.
Some of the simpler concepts that restaurants can consider include partnering with local farms and breweries, featuring up-and-coming chefs, creating a mysterious venue such as a speakeasy or mystery concept, and offering a tasting room. Whatever you do, be sure to let passion be your guide.
What is a restaurant concept?
Restaurant concepts bring all aspects of a restaurant under one umbrella. Ideally, your customers should know what your restaurant represents and the underlying theme when they enter your establishment. It should ring true in your design, atmosphere, cuisine, music, service, and menu.
How do you make a restaurant unique?
Before you delve into your restaurant concept, know your targeted clientele. For example, is your target customer an adventurous and tech-savvy millennial? If so, you may consider a molecular gastronomic or active gaming concept. On the other hand, if they’re the after-work, relax-and-enjoy-an-Old Fashioned-cocktail group, you may want to create a speakeasy or a warm and inviting venue. Learn more about your target clientele.
How can I make my restaurant more interesting?
Consider what you find interesting when you go to a restaurant. What draws your attention, and what do you remember long after you’ve enjoyed your meal? A few proven strategies for attracting more customers include offering live music, engaging in social media and working with social media influencers, and getting involved in the community.