How To Make Your Themed Restaurant As Authentic And Effective As Possible

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Restaurant Hospitality

A themed restaurant is a beautiful thing. It stands out from the crowd, offers a fun, memorable experience, and is particularly good at attracting tourists or those looking to have a super special time.

Typically, this type of restaurant will have an overarching theme that informs everything from its decor to its menu to the uniform of its staff. A theme could take the form of a historical period, a region, a movie, a genre, or even a person. The sky’s the limit!

If you’re considering opening a themed restaurant, the primary concern should be ensuring that this theme is executed as authentically as possible. If you want to give your diners a truly memorable experience, then it can’t be just skin-deep. Your eatery has to live and breathe its theme! Here’s how to do it.

Working Out the Most Appealing Theme

Firstly, you need to figure out the theme that’s most likely to be a hit with the demographic of the location. For example, you’re interested in a Roaring Twenties theme. As this cultural movement centered on cities such as New York and LA, these are likely to be the best spots to consider. Want to open a Stephen King-themed restaurant? It’s got to be Maine.

Try to think about what will appeal to the locals and be successful in drawing in tourists or out-of-state visitors. While niche may be appealing, you may struggle if it’s too niche, so think carefully before settling on your vision.

Totally Commit to the Theme

The most effective way of ensuring the authenticity of your themed restaurant is to commit 100% to the theme. Aim to give your guests the wow factor that’ll ensure they tell everyone they know about your establishment, post about it on social media, and – of course – come back.

Suppose you’ve settled on a 1960s theme. In that case, this could mean not only installing  restaurant booths, a long counter, a vintage-look soda machine, and a retro jukebox filled with the decade’s classic hits but also having staff dress in authentic-style 60s clothing and having a menu packed solely with dishes typically enjoyed during this era. Waldorf salads, chicken kievs, Chicken Marengo, Crab Rangoon, and Tunnel of Fudge were all restaurant staples in the 1960s and would be completely in keeping with your theme.

The Little Details

And if you can incorporate lots of little additional touches, all the better. Think about how your staff will interact with customers; the artwork, lighting, and even the restrooms could support your theme.

Research carefully to discover elements you could incorporate to enhance the sense of authenticity. If your theme is Stranger Things, then finding out some little-known trivia about the making of the series could help. Consider how even the most minor elements of your establishment, like the napkins, or the design of the outdoor space, could take your theme to the next level.

Bring on the Entertainment

And the theming needn’t stop there! To really give your diners an experience they won’t forget, how about having a regularly changing roster of live entertainment for your guests to enjoy? Going back to our 60s-themed restaurant example above, consider hiring high-quality musicians to play a selection of popular songs from the era – and for your Stranger Things-themed eatery, you’ll need some serious 1980s tribute artists.

Or what if your restaurant’s theme is on a region or reflects a culture – let’s say you opt for a Kawaii-themed establishment (Kawaii refers to a contemporary Japanese fashion and art movement)? Then consider bringing on board karaoke booths or anime cosplay artists to interact with your guests!

Get the Basics Perfect

It’s not just the execution of your theme that needs to be perfect. It’s vital to ensure that you get the essential underlying elements of your restaurant right, too, for it to succeed. So don’t forget to get the behind-the-scenes processes running as smoothly as possible. After all, if a diner’s food is undercooked or the wait time is too long, it won’t matter how compelling your theme is.

Put in place a robust system for the rotating of staff, a high-quality POS (point of sale) system that’ll allow you to take payments quickly and easily, a top-notch staff training or induction process, and ensure you have all the licenses and permits you need before opening.

The Themed Restaurants Getting it Right

A themed restaurant can be a mind-blowing experience for guests if done well! The Aquarium Restaurant in Nashville, Denver offers diners a unique way to enjoy a meal: visitors can marvel at the tropical fish, stingrays, and sharks in the 200,000-gallon tank surrounding them – while the Mystic Mermaid show involves ‘real’ merfolk diving into the water to perform a choreographed dance routine.

Over in Philadelphia, the Mad Rex restaurant embraces a post-apocalypse (Mad Max) theme: cocktails are served in tins, and the decor is decidedly scorched earth, complete with smoldering rocks of lava!

Hopefully, this will inspire you as you take the first steps on your themed restaurant adventure!