India is a potpourri of various traditions, cultures, customs, and people have distinctive ways of life, each specific to a particular region of the country. What’s noteworthy is that the common thread that binds a mammoth population of 1.3 billion is their love for food. You find foodies at every nook and cranny of the nation. True is the saying that “The way to a man’s or a woman’s heart is through his or her stomach!” There are those who live to eat and those who eat to live.
Since time immemorial people have been savoring food within the confines of their homes but as time passes by, and it being the new-age where there’s a shift in perceptions and way of life – more and more people are coming out of their four walls and bonding over food at various restaurants, retail F&B spaces/cafes; be it with their friends, families, loved ones, associates or colleagues.
So how can retail and restaurant owners keep up with the stiff competition and create a lasting impact and a pull-factor driving customers to their spaces like bumble bees get attracted to the countless flowers? How can one create a wow factor as soon as the customers step into any dining space?
Let’s delve deep and discover! Just like emotions and a strong sense of responsibility goes into nurturing meaningful relationships, it is very crucial to build those special connections with the customers at every touch point of the retail space.
To be able to appeal to the palates of the discerning foodies; restaurants, cafés and food joints should constantly evolve, experiment and discover newer ways to decorate their dining spaces in as attractive ways as possible. In doing so they should explore varied themes, colors, materials, food items and décor ideas that are awe-inspiring, ground-breaking and extremely innovative.
Let’s understand in a step-by-step manner as to what makes the customers connect as soon as they look at the retail space for the first time.
The layout of the space forms the backbone of the blueprint. Every corner of the space should echo with ideas. To make the layout stand out as a stunner. innovative thinking, out-of-the-box ideas and loads of creativity needs to be churned and served.
Visual merchandising that’s in sync with the theme of the space is critical to create a breathtakingly beautiful ambience that also becomes one’s inspiring space, a go-to-place that exudes happy vibes. It is the layout, décor and ambience that not only attracts customers but also boosts sales in the highly competitive F&B industry. It should be love at first sight for the customers when they step into the retail space and get enamored by its beauty.
It is important that your retail spaces add a touch of glamour and mystery to make it more appealing. Novelty plays the role of a trump card in attracting customers. The brand identity of using props resonates with the classic tastes of the target audience. They are forever intrigued, charmed and enjoy the fun and colorful ambience. The concept of props adds an exciting appeal that further engages with the target audience.
Right from the time the customers enter into the retail space, the ambience ought to appeal to their senses and connect with them. Every visual element should be creatively and tastefully used that’s in perfect sync with the theme of your F&B retail space. Visually stunning facades, signages, décors invite the customers to step into the outlet and get spellbound with its beauty.
The blueprint of the area should be such that it should be tastefully segmented for smooth navigation and exploration by the customers. It is imperative to have more free space at the entrance area and every section/zone of the F&B retail space should be easy to access, so also the seating arrangements to be made in a way that makes it easy to serve the customers and at the same time accentuates the interiors
and décor. Funky zones for board games area, dart game section, mini library can makes the cafe so desirable for the customers.
Apart from the décor it is also critical to make use of every inch to your optimal advantage. Every unit should be easy to access. Be it the bookshelves or the gaming zone, it should be ensured that they are easily reachable for customers to explore and engage with. Customers can easily move in and out and comfortably sit and savour their food.
Attractive visual merchandising coupled with pulsating music, and soothing ambient lighting can transform your retail F&B spaces into inspiring places. To augment it further, use scented candles and aromatic diffusers to appeal to your customers.
The focus should be on creating an immersive unique dining experience for the customers. As they soak in the excitement and fun while they wait for the food to arrive or even chill for hours after they have relished their food. Visual merchandising truly conveys the brand’s narrative, creating an unforgettable outing for all those who step into our magical realm.
As retailers all you need to do is continue to innovate and strategize to forge deeper connections with your customers, and create a niche for your outlet in the ever-evolving F&B industry.
Sapna Bhutani, Founder – Mystery Rooms and Masquerade Cafe