I have written in the past about the importance of keeping the outside of your restaurant presentable. It does seem a bit obvious that this would also pertain to the inside of the place.
You would, however, be shocked by how many restaurateurs ignore this. When the customer walks through your front door (and as I have mentioned before, it starts before they walk through your door), they start a mental checklist. Looking around for cobwebs, dirt on the floor, dust on your front desk, breadcrumbs on the chairs. All of these suggest to the customer that you don’t know what you are doing.
The kitchen must me filthy, too
When customers see these offences, they assume your kitchen is disgusting as well. How can I safely eat here if all I see is filth everywhere? It doesn’t seem fair, but it is out there nonetheless.
So, before the curtain goes up on your play, make sure everything is in place. All of the tables and chairs are lined up straight. If you are lucky enough to go to Paris, you will notice that at every café and/or bistro the symmetry of the tables and chairs is a beautiful thing to behold. Aesthetics count.
Make sure the music is on the correct station and at the correct sound level. I was in a place once where they forgot to put the music on, realized it, and turned it on only to find out that the cleaning crew the night before had changed the station to angry hip hop and had cranked the volume. When the music was eventually turned on it made a lady sitting next to me leap out of her chair. I guess she wasn’t expecting to hear a bunch of obscenities screamed in her ear at her little lunch party.
Check the flowers to make sure there are no dead ones hanging limply out of the vase. Change that water. Plus, old flowers can smell pretty awful. Better to have no flowers than old flowers.
Check those lighting levels before the doors are opened. Is the sun shining through and blinding the customer? Get the shades drawn. The thing is you must anticipate all of these problems before they are a problem. Before they are noticed by the customer.
Customers are an odd lot. They don’t really need a good reason to not like your restaurant. They will find it all on their own. Don’t let them.