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Give someone two plates of the same meal; one just thrown together on a plain plate, and the other carefully arranged in a visually pleasing design. No matter how delicious the food is, chances are that the person with the unsavoury looking meal would give the food a lower rating. Food presentation is important for stirring up the senses and sparking the imagination. Something that looks like a work of art, will probably taste like a work of art to the patron eating it.
The same holds true for restaurant design. You might be the world's top chef, but if your restaurant looks like it came from the set of Happy Days, your customers won't be happy. Everything, from restaurant design to the restaurant menu should be carefully planned and arranged. Have a look at a restaurant guide to see exactly what restaurants are rated on. Reviews might mention the ambiance, using words like “cozy”, “elegant”, “classy”, etc. Remember, when people visit your restaurant, they're looking for more than just food on a plate; they're looking for an experience.
From the minute someone walks through the door, there should be an immediate sense of the climate. Restaurant design, before food, is what gives your patrons that first impression. So, if you're building a restaurant or taking over someone else's, get a good plan in place. Hire an interior decorator if you have to. Bring as much of that culture into your restaurant's design. In the world of high-end restaurants, sustenance is much more than just food.