There’s an old saying: The Devil’s in the details. Nothing could be closer to the truth when explaining the success of a restaurant. While a restaurant’s popularity may be evasive on first look, we shouldn’t accept that simple success can never be explained. A comic book artist once explained that when you look at a gag cartoon, a cartoon where most people get the joke immediately, you probably don’t realize how hard the artist worked to make the gag so simple.

A New Approach

We have all experienced many fast food chain restaurants, so it might seem impossible to reinvent the mousetrap and get customers into a new place, but then someone comes along with a different angle on what we already love, and they meet open minds willing to check it out. For example, a creative thinker could take everything about a fast food place and raise the quality of the menu to attract new customers. The convenience and speed of a fast food restaurant when combined with novel entrees and a fifty-percent markup could find eager patrons.

Why is that? The food and beverages in a popular restaurant will be familiar to new patrons but the successful restaurateur might point at the new presentation, the new menus, the new recipes, arguing that different ways of creating food are the key. This is true. New technologies have come a long and the menus and recipes we love have changed. These changes will both fascinate and allure customers because they look familiar enough. In many ways, they are simply things we know and trust combined with novel stuff that attracts us. Is this the key to being a popular restaurant?

Equipment and Decor

This is true of every facet of the restaurant. Take the Hoshizaki ice machine for example. Hoshizaki produces a big selection of ice machines. The machine looks different in each new model, yet it would be foolish to miss that it’s still doing the job it’s always done. Everyone loves ice machines and everyone knows them on sight. The ice is generated at different rates, different shapes and sizes depending on the machine. Whether a restaurant needs a new look in an under counter ice machine or a large stackable model, Hoshizaki offers the right stuff.

So, it’s about combining the old with the new. That brings us to décor. Does the new restaurant’s décor make it the kind of place people want to hang around in? Secondly, will people spend money there? We all have experienced restaurants where we simply didn’t want to get out of our seats and loved eating more and more food. The seating in some restaurants is designed to sink the patron into luxurious comfort, causing them to never want to leave. A new restaurant would use this same approach of combining the old and new with new decor styles and color configurations to make us forget our favorite restaurants while they hook patrons with the new features.

The décor must invite people in and keep them there, like little kids who have discovered a picture book they can’t stop looking at. Is it possible to say why some artwork intrigues children while other artwork quickly bores them? It’s the novelty of the experience that keeps kids studying the artwork. It’s the same reason the ambiance of a restaurant keeps its new patrons fascinated and entertained.


If you want to put some “wow” into your restaurant, the best bet is to lure popular people in with elements they recognize and new novel elements they’ve never seen before. The combination of our past experience with new ideas might be the boost you need to make your restaurant become popular.


By: Walter Bodell