Dining being a fundamental and intimate aspect of life in every culture, customers are always looking for more than an excellent menu and an eclectic atmosphere. Customers are rather looking forward to enjoying a great dining experience, which can be inclusive of – good food, service, style, atmosphere and good company.
Fine Dining vs Casual Dining
As we all know that fine dining is often associated with eating at expensive restaurants with formal setting and good food. Fine dining restaurants are perceived to have an elegant, formal and calm atmosphere. A fine dining menu often offers luxurious and unique food that are not often found in other restaurants as the food is prepared by certified chefs with many years of experience, hence the food will also be expensive.
Casual dining on the other hand, serves moderately priced food, with a more laid back, casual atmosphere. The environment is more informal and friendly and casual dining restaurants often offer popular dishes.
With that said, restaurants of all types are reinventing the modern dining experience. A restaurant experience is influenced by satisfaction, perceived quality and perceive value, much more than what is on the menu. This makes it critical for restaurants to pay close attention to the total experience that they offer to customers.
We conducted a poll, asking customers which of the options below could enhance their dining experience:
- A food and wine pairing option
- Generous food portions
- Aesthetic menu presentations
- Engagement with the chef
In the above listed options, having a Food and Wine Pairing option ranked the highest.
Others could argue that there are other factors that contribute towards enhancing the dining experience, other than the above mentioned, however, for a dining restaurant, superior customer experience is extremely important to attract and retain customers. Good food, good ambiance, good service from the staff, is what constitutes a good customer service.
Food and Wine Pairing
Implementing a food and wine pairing option allows restaurants to pair individual dishes with different wines in hopes of enhancing the flavour of both the food and wine.
Experts have noted that consuming alcohol has become a key part of the restaurant experience. With that said, having a food and wine pairing option allows customers to feel like they are making an informed selection when perusing the menu. This could potentially increase the customers’ willingness to spend on wines that complement their dishes, enhancing, not only their experience, but your sales too. Customers feel more connected to the restaurant, and ultimately feel as if the atmosphere is enhanced because they can trust the selection they have made. It also gives them an opportunity to be adventurous, without being worried that they have made the wrong choices.
With so many restaurant options available, it is vital that restaurants find ways to stand out in the crowd to draw in traffic. Although food is the star and sole purpose of a restaurant, everything from music to lighting and scent, basically – focusing on the five senses, creates the ambiance of a restaurant and can determine whether consumers will return.
Although it may be difficult for restaurants to ensure that the restaurant experience lives up to the customers’ expectations, with applying the “experience-first” approach, restaurants could potentially increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, while increasing sales and ultimately improving profitability.