5 Things That Make a Good Café or Restaurant
- Knowledgeable staff. Even if they’re busy, they notice you on arrival. A smile of acknowledgement is all it takes. They know the basics. If you ask what the soup of the day is, or are the eggs free-range, “I don’t know” is not the answer. You expect them to at least know the main ingredients of each dish. When delivering your meals, they don’t call “Who ordered the chicken?” or “Number 59!” like I’m in a bingo hall- and disturbing the conversation. There’s a simple strategy anyone can learn, placing right the meal in front of the right customer. They are able to at least ‘look like’ they’re happy you’ve chosen to dine there.
- Comfortable seating. So many places make the mistake of choosing their furniture based on ‘trendy’ compromising comfort. Some seating provided has me squirming in 10 minutes, let alone a full evening’s dining. If the owners try out the furniture themselves, with a coffee & newspaper before choosing, they wouldn’t make this mistake. We don’t want to just enjoy our food, we want to relax & enjoy the company.
- Simplicity. An easy to understand, uncomplicated menu is important. Why some places try to be everything is a beyond me. English fare, mixed with Italian, Indian, Moroccan, Spanish Tapas & French. I don’t want a ‘jack of all trades’ just a single themed menu done very well. So long as there is good variety within that theme; Chicken, beef, pork, duck, game, fish and vegetarian. I’m not a vegetarian myself, but they must be able to offer more than just an omelette or a salad.
- Entertainment. People don’t just go out to eat anymore, they go out for the whole experience- to be entertained. I don’t necessarily mean a live band or a stage show:
A specialist coffee shop that grinds it’s own coffee blends w ill have a huge display of all the different roasts of beans with packages for sale, home-grinders for display & for sale. There’s pictures on the walls of the coffee growing process overseas. There might be a printed ‘story’ describing the ‘field to cup’ process of the coffee bean. Other coffee memorabilia will be on display. And there will be soft background music playing, to suit the establishment, helping to create a buzz. All of this adds to the atmosphere & an all-round experience.
- Personal appearance. It’s always refreshing to see a crisp, professional uniform. Frequently, I see young girls serving, in their uniform colours- but with low hipster trousers & a short top- the whole of their midrift (& piercings) showing. This may be modern & trendy, but if the clientele is mainly mid- to old age, it is more of an offensive turn-off. If the primary trade is students, then it’s probably ok. Otherwise it’s unacceptable. When I see the staff, and even the management in everyday, civilian type clothing, it makes me wonder what the kitchen is like.