Q: What is most important in a restaurant: food, service or atmosphere?
A: This is a loaded question. While I believe that all three need to be executed to the highest standard, whether in QSR, Casual or Fine-Dining operations, I also believe that service and then atmosphere are the two most important ingredients in making a restaurant successful. (I apologize in advance to all the chefs who are going to complain about this comment).
This is not to say that the food quality and consistency are not also important, they are, but are really secondary
The reality is that for the most part, people go out to either ‘fill-up’, ‘spend time with friends’ or ‘dine-out’. It is only in those two per cent of Canadian restaurants that people go to ‘dine-out’, to experience the chef’s creation, in which food would, in my world need to be as good as the service. But in the end, service is what the hospitality business is all about. Great food does not make up for mediocre service, however, great service can offset mediocre food. It in fact does at almost every QSR, family and casual chain out there. Those restaurants make up the vast majority of our industry and are the most popular with customers as well.
Focus first on great service; then make sure the atmosphere reflects the environment you want your customers to come enjoy; and then, put the best food out that you can.
About Doug Fisher:
Doug Fisher is foodservice consultant specializing in franchise development, strategic planning, mergers and corporate sales, business planning and litigation support. He is currently President at FHG International – Foodservice & Franchise Consultant.