Food trucks have become incredibly popular over the last few years. The ability to get a great meal just steps away from a workplace or entertainment venue has customers flocking to these innovative businesses. Many of them have become successful enough to look into building a restaurant. If you’re at that point, here are a few tips to help you through the transition.
Keep the Best Parts of the Food Truck Atmosphere
The strength of your reputation made your food truck successful enough for you to parlay it into a brick-and-mortar location. If customers don’t get that same fun, festive feeling after you’ve moved indoors, your restaurant will struggle. Capture the best things about your outdoor location–the opportunity for customers to mingle, the relaxed ambiance. Give the restaurant all the best things from the food truck without the traffic, weather, and pigeons.
Prepare a Front-of-House Staff
Another adjustment you’ll have to make is developing your dining room skills. From the food truck, you just have to be friendly and accurate while serving quality food. A restaurant requires all that plus a great team on the floor, keeping drinks refilled, cleaning up, and presenting a positive image for your restaurant. Get an experienced, hard-working staff to operate your first dining room and you’ll get much better results.
Get Great Lighting
One area of dining that is often overlooked is lighting. Make sure that you position lights to provide safe movement by patrons. Use spots or track lighting to accentuate key decor on the walls. And above all, make sure people can see to eat! Many restaurants are built during daylight hours and don’t anticipate how things change when the sun goes down. Nobody wants to eat with their own shadow over their food, so position fixtures carefully.
Make It Comfortable
With a food truck, there is no dining room. Customers take their food to a park bench, back to the office, or somewhere else. If the customer is unhappy with where he or she chooses to eat, it’s not held against you. But once you’re in a restaurant, that changes. Just as with your cooking equipment, you have to set up for more intensive use. That means commercial air conditioners instead of window units, restaurant-grade tables and chairs instead of home dinette sets, and much more. Set up your dining room for comfort and durability.
Going from a food truck to a restaurant is a logical leap, but it can be a big one, too. On top of kitchen upgrades to meet codes and heavier demands, you also need a great dining room with a great atmosphere.