Defining your unique restaurant concept
What are you trying to do? Start with the impulse that made you open a restaurant in the first place. Perhaps it was to serve the best fried chicken in town, or a menu entirely organically sourced. Maybe you wanted to innovate a service concept or create a new immersive dining experience? Go back to the beginning and identify why the business exists, use this to start defining the concept.
What sets you apart?
Once you’ve got the basics of your concept, work out what it is that makes your restaurant different to others with similar foundations. This might require you to mix and match a few concepts or to take a revolutionary view of a traditional model. You don’t have to go over the top to make it distinctive but thinking outside the box could help you create something very unique – maybe your crazy ideas aren’t so crazy after all.
Test your concept on yourself
You could spend a fortune on market research to establish whether a new concept has potential. Or you could put yourself in the shoes of the diner and make judgments about what you’ve come up with yourself. Yes, it can be difficult to be objective when the restaurant is yours. However, it’s a good starting point to make yourself the case study – what does this concept offer you, what problems does it solve, what would make you try it and what would make you return?
Take inspiration where you find it
There are lots of weird and wonderful concept restaurants out there ready to provide inspiration – here are just a few:
- A bar made of ice – enjoy cocktails at freezing temperatures at the Absolut Ice Bar and Restaurant in Stockholm.
- Nostalgic menus – reinventing the retro, for example Coin Laundry in London’s Exmouth Market, which is all about the 70s.
- A cat café – coffee, cake and cat petting for free. See Mog on The Tyne in Newcastle for inspiration.
- Sky high dining – dining 50 metres up in the air suspended from a crane as at Dinner in The Sky.
- A fully automated restaurant with no service staff – for example, Eatsa in San Francisco.