How to Make Your Restaurant Stand Out

So you have a nice restaurant with good food and service, and yet the dining room is not always full. You spend quite a lot of money in marketing and wonder why it’s not working for you.

Well let me tell you, there are many other restaurants with good food, good service and a nice ambience, so your place might not be as special in the eyes of your customers as you want it to be.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Why should they come to your restaurant rather than visit one of your competitors?

Well, the truth is that if you stand out from other local options, they probably won’t.

You need to think hard and long about your place and what it makes it special or different from any other restaurant. And believe me, it is different. No two restaurants are the same (except in the case of franchises, which – by definition – want to look and operate exactly the same).

So what makes your restaurant special or different?

You need to articulate the essence of your restaurant, the essence of your offering, so that people will know why they should come to your place instead of your competitors. This is called your Unique Selling Proposition (or USP for short).

You need to create and announce a USP that identifies your restaurant and makes it a unique establishment.

So how can you do that? Don’t worry, I will help you out. Just follow these easy three steps and you’ll be on your way to creating your own USP:

1. Make a list of the real benefits or advantages that you currently offer to your clients.

Think about what’s special about your restaurant. Is it your food? Your wine selection? Your service? Your location? Your decorations? Do you offer live music? Do you have a large menu selection? Open kitchen? Etc.

Ask your customers, your employees and your providers what makes your restaurant special or different. Perhaps you have a unique recipe that people really appreciate and come to enjoy, or perhaps your chef comes out of the kitchen and greets the clients, or you have bilingual servers who can communicate with foreign travelers in their native languages.

Some aspects that can help you determine your USP are:

  • A wide variety of dishes in the menu
  • Unique, ethnic meals or menu items
  • Restaurant especially designed to accommodate families (with a play area or toys or entertainment for children, etc.)
  • Reasonable prices
  • Quality of the food
  • Originality of the dishes
  • Impeccable presentation
  • Excellent service (good is not good enough: it must be excellent to make an impact!)
  • Wide wine selection or special hard-to-find wines
  • Wide beer selection or special hard-to-find beers
  • Specialty cocktails
  • Open kitchen where people can see/talk to your cooks
  • Beautifully decorated place
  • Live music
  • Candles on the tables
  • Cloth linens
  • Original art on the walls
  • Any other distinct advantage that you may have or can provide that your competitors don’t provide.

2. Make a second list of benefits or special things that your competitors offer but you don’t.

For example, do they have a big place and your restaurant is small? Do they offer a full bar and you don’t? Do they have a super-chef with a reputation that you cannot offer? Do they have an excellent location while your place is out of the way?

3. List the ways that you could improve upon your competitor’s unique advantages.

If their place is big and yours is small, you can use this to your advantage by stating that you offer “A unique experience in a cozy atmosphere where you will receive very personalized treatment”.

Or the opposite – if your place is large, you can say “We have facilities large enough to accommodate your office party or your special occasion”.

Or you could compensate for not having a full bar by offering an extensive and excellent selections of wine.

If you have a great location, say that you are “conveniently located in the middle of the city, within walking distance from…”

Or if you are out of the way, you can always say “our restaurant offers free parking and it’s worth it the trip, since you will surely enjoy an extraordinary dining experience…”

You get the idea, right?

So write down the top five advantages and/or differentiators that make your place unique. Then combine them into one short sentence or phrase.

This will become your USP

Once you come up with your USP, write it down, review it and edit it several times to make it as clear and complete as possible.

Write your new USP in a one paragraph statement. You may have problems expressing it concisely and clearly. It may take a few paragraphs. That’s OK.

Now you need to edit down all the fluff (trim the fat), and focus on the core message until you have a clear and unique USP that people will recognize and immediately identify with your restaurant. It needs to become one memorable sentence.

Share it with your employees; share it with your clients. Announce it to the world by using it in all your marketing and sales materials…

Remember, attention spans are getting shorter these days, so your USP must be short and memorable.

If you follow some of these techniques, and come up with a powerful and memorable UPS, you will be ahead of your competitors who simply announce their restaurants in the most traditional ways.

People respond to short and remarkable messages. If you can articulate the essence of your place in a few precise words, and consistently use them to promote your business, you should be able to stand out from the crowd.

Happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco worked in the IT for 18 years and co-owned an Italian restaurant in Bellevue, WA.

By applying his many years of experience working for corporations and his marketing skills to the restaurant business, he has created a unique and groundbreaking marketing system. Jose has brought top proven marketing practices from other industries to the Restaurant industry, making a unique contribution to this business that he knows and cherishes so much. Restaurants have traditionally used advertising and coupons as the main marketing vehicle. The Restaurant Marketing Strategies Book changes all of that.

By creating a unique Strategy client centric (instead of food or Chef-centric), restaurant owners will be able to dramatically increase their sales while creating happy and recurrent clients. You can find more about his Restaurant Marketing Strategies by visiting his web site at

Simple Considerations In Restaurant Design

Great food and outstanding customer service are the most frequently cited keys to restaurant success. While quality food and service are two foundations of a successful restaurant, good restaurant design is vital to customer gratification and long term success. Good interior design creates a beautiful and functional dining space that enhances customer’s enjoyment of meals and entices guests to return.

empty restaurantCreating an excellent dining experience for customers requires a balance of design, technical considerations and function. While planning the restaurant interior, consider the architecture and infrastructure of the building. Create a harmonious design by combining existing aspects of the structure with attention to detail in several key areas.


Begin by identifying the expectations of the restaurant’s target clientele. For example, fine dining customers may expect more space and privacy when dining than guests of more casual establishments. Families with children may prefer a relaxed environment that appeals to children. Understanding the needs of guests allows owners to develop a design that pleases customers.

Dining Room

When planning the dining room, consider the number of guests expected at peak meal hours. A good restaurant design will accommodate this number while maintaining customer comfort. Customers should be able to move around easily and dine without feeling crowded.

Create the right atmosphere by choosing furnishings, colors and lighting suited to the restaurant’s theme and clientele. An owner of a family friendly restaurant, for example, may choose bright colors and lighting to create an environment suited to children. Restaurants that cater to adults and fine dining often choose more subdued lighting and furnishings that create a more intimate environment.


Owners of restaurants that serve alcohol may benefit from creating a separate bar area. A bar serves as a place for guests to order a drink and relax while waiting to be seated. This area also allows single customers to sit for a meal without waiting for a table. In restaurants with heavy weekend traffic, the bar area should be as large as space allows.


A restaurant serving high quality meals requires a well-designed kitchen. The kitchen should be able to accommodate all necessary equipment along with all needed kitchen staff. Include areas for food preparation, storage and handling. Areas for handling shipments and washing dishes are also necessary. A well planned kitchen allows the restaurant to operate efficiently, ensuring customer satisfaction.


When space allows, a restaurant’s public restrooms should be able to accommodate several guests. Tables should be located away from restrooms or separated from them by partitions. If possible, employee restrooms should be located away from public restrooms.

Staff and Office Space

The restaurant layout should include a space for staff to store their personal belongings. A restaurant’s office should be a secure area suitable for storing money and important items or documents. Ideally, office space should be located in the back of the layout.

At all stages of restaurant planning, keep the customer’s needs and expectations in mind. Thoughtful attention to these details allows the restaurateur to create a dining environment that encourages customers to keep coming back.

Paul Kelly is the man behind some of Australia’s most successful food and beverage venues. Coming into our 15th year of business, Paul Kelly Design is turning the corner on 150 projects, each a signature space, each uniquely different and each one a personal creation of Paul Kelly and his team.

We are hospitality design, we live and breathe it and we do it very well. Welcome to Paul Kelly Design home of the creative minds behind some of Australia’s most successful food and beverage venues. Coming into our 15th year of business we are turning the corner on 150 projects, each a signature space, each uniquely different and each one a personal creation of Paul Kelly and his team.We are a holistic design company embracing new ideas and taking the complete project head on with involvement into every area of the project. Our goal is to be the top hospitality firm in the market and our passion for the success of the venues we create gives a Paul Kelly Design project the edge over competitors.

Understanding the Role of a Restaurant Manager

The role of a restaurant manager will depend on the size of the dining establishment that he or she is employed through. For the most part, however, their role will involve managing other employees, creating work schedules, ordering food and dining supplies and much more. Many times, the duties of this type of manager will be delegated to some type of assistant manager to allow the primary manager to focus on core managing concepts and tasks. For those people who are employed as a restaurant manager through a large restaurant, it is not at all uncommon for them to work at least 60 hours a week.

When it comes to customers and vendors, the manager of a restaurant will be viewed as the “face” of the dining facility. Complaints made by customers are generally directed to the manager as well as any inquiries made by vendors. The headache involved with knowing how to run a restaurant can be quite severe, especially because managers spend much of their time dealing with unhappy guests. In addition, when it comes to work schedule conflicts, the manager must deal with them, making sure that enough employees will be present at any given time to ensure that all guests be served in an effective and timely manner. When a certain position cannot be fulfilled, it is many times the manager who steps in to fill the job. For example, if a server leaves work sick, the manager may step in and take over the tables the server was in charge of.

For many dining establishments, the restaurant manager will be the person who is in charge of hiring new employees. Payroll, however, is usually handled by a payroll specialist, but this is not always the case. In fact, many small restaurants may have the restaurant owner acting as the manager and payroll specialist. Restaurant managers know how to run a restaurant and are in charge of a large amount of duties, so it is not surprising that they tend to make good money. Many of them make upwards of $50,000 a year. Since their salaries are accompanied with great benefits, including topnotch health insurance and great vacation packages, a restaurant manager career path is definitely worth looking into.

In addition to great pay, restaurant managers tend to receive free food. For example, if a manager is working a 12-hour shift, he or she may be provided two meals free of charge. Being able to eat two free meals five days a week can save a person upwards of $2,250 a year. This in itself can be viewed as an annuity package. Some work for establishments that allow them to share with the profits of the business.

Much of the work performed by restaurant managers is conducted behind the scenes. In fact, it is not uncommon for the managers to work many hours into the night or morning after the restaurant has closed its doors. For the most part, the manager will be the last one to leave the dining facility as well as the first person to arrive.

Since restaurant managers need to have an in-depth knowledge relating to the different stations found in a dining establishment, including dish washing area, server area and cook line, it is not uncommon for the manager to have worked his or her way up the ladder into a management position. In fact, many employers will mandate that a manager have several years of experience in a lower-level position before being promoted into a management position. In addition to experience, it is of great benefit for a person to take part in restaurant management courses. Through restaurant management courses, a person will learn the ins and outs of the core concepts related to successfully running a dining facility.

If you want to start a career in culinary industry, a culinary arts and restaurant management degree is required.