By Jesse NoyesNovember 2017Vendor Bylines

Serving up delicious dishes is crucial, but it’s often only half the battle of running a successful restaurant. Make your restaurant really thrive by making sure that you’re not overlooking the more understated elements that can play a crucial part in improving the customer experience.

CBS travel editor Peter Greenberg recently unveiled some insider techniques that restaurants use to keep diners coming back—from music choice (the faster the beat, the faster you chew) to table size to technology—that can tell owners if they need to adjust pricing on certain menu items. Here are four other ideas for guaranteeing restaurant success.

1. Menu design is just as important as the food

You know that your chef is dishing up the best burger in town, but if it’s buried in a cluttered or hard-to-read menu, it won’t be flying out of the kitchen. The average time customers spend reading a menu is less than 109 seconds, so make sure you’re grabbing their attention. That means focusing on structure and appearance, making sure to communicate the restaurant’s food values and image.

2. Color scheme can translate into repeat customers

Although it’s a fact that red makes people hungry—driving the logo design of countless fast food restaurants—it may not make them repeat customers. Research shows red is actually a deterrent when it comes to restaurant décor, while color schemes that incorporate oranges, yellows, greens, and browns are much more palatable to guests. When it comes to ambiance as a whole, elements like lighting and even the view from a guest’s seat can play a big role in the dining experience.

3. Dust off your marketing plan

A fancy menu and swanky restaurant décor can only do so much if a restaurant hasn’t already nailed down basic marketing practices. Once the grand opening has come and gone, revisit your strategies and consider adding new ones. If your restaurant doesn’t already have a presence on social media, it’s time to start tweeting. If you have existing social channels that are outdated or stagnant, revisit your content strategy to keep things fresh. Things like making sure your website is up to snuff and designing a great-looking restaurant newsletter can also help reel in new customers and stay engaged with the regulars.

4. Stack the deck by using tech

Even the most seasoned restaurateurs can use a little extra edge when it comes to keeping customers coming through the door. Today, a restaurant POS system can give owners access to more customer data and analytic tools a than ever before, and not taking advantage of them is a major oversight. Having insight into which menu items are driving the most repeat business and which servers are doing the best job at up-selling specials can be incredibly valuable when it comes to running your business. Other data points that you can also track include the dishes your best customers ordered on their most recent visits, which can be used to create a better experience for all of your guests. And as any restaurant owner knows, a happy diner is one that is likely to return.

<FSR Magazine>