Wood is inviting, velvet: sultry. Stainless steel is clean and a leather couch, elegant. From our series “Role of The Senses in a Restaurant”, Mero Mole presents: Touch. Let’s imagine a seafood restaurant where hygiene is one of the main selling points. What would customers have to feel when they stepped into the space so that, without using any words, they immediately felt like they are in good hands? Exactly. This isn’t an easy task. The relationship with a customer is an intimate one, and requires trust. In literal terms: “I, customer, will ingest the food you, restaurant, serve me.”

In the Mero Mole methodology, we consider two different ways of interpreting touch: the Physical and the Feeling. To further clarify, here are the salient points for each:

Top Tips for Physical Touch:

  1. Anti-sticky: everything from the floors, tables, bathrooms. Nothing can feel tacky.
  2. Hazardous furnishings: avoid tables on which you bang your knees and chairs that you will be stuck to if you’re wearing shorts or a skirt.
  3. That’s Some Heavy Stuff!: the more expensive the restaurant, the heavier the materials with which the customer comes into contact with (cutlery, plates, etc.)
  4. À la carte: as the most passed around item in the restaurant, the menu must always be clean and look good because it is your most loyal sales tool. Would you trust a restaurant with a torn up, sauce-stained menu?
  5. Polyester: don’t get tricked into thinking that stain-proofing your establishment is a great idea. If it doesn’t absorb and doesn’t feel nice: it’s a mistake.
  6. Food textures: from the crunchiness of a bite to the room-temperature butter that’s ready to be spread on toasty bread.

Back to the hypothetical seafood restaurant: what feeling would you get from white tile entry wall and stainless steal railings, coupled with fans and solid color, smooth walls? Precisely! Clean and fresh.

Top Tips for the “Feeling” Touch:

  1. Define the vibe you want to transmit: nothing happens by coincidence or “just ‘cuz”.
  2. Promote community: strategically design the bar and lounge areas to create atmosphere. Most people mingle in spaces like these.
  3. Square/round, small/large: different table styles define people’s feelings in any given space.
  4. Attitude: your staff must be intimately acquainted with the consumption occasion he will be entering into with the objective of transmitting the appropriate feelings and sensations.

Here’s a homework assignment:

Pick a restaurant and ask yourself these questions: how do the chairs feel? Are they comfortable? What about the napkins? Do they absorb well? Are the temperature and texture of the dishes adequate? What is it that is making want to stay or leave? Just from how the menu feels in your hands, without opening or reading it: can you tell if the restaurant is cheap or pricey?

If you want to dominate the art of creating experiences through the senses, you must master what is, without a doubt, the trickiest of them all: touch, because you can’t see it but you can feel it, and if something doesn’t feel right, “I’m not coming back here!”

By: the Top Dogs