Most would agree that the sensibilities provide the foundation for a memorable experience. How you address the senses can add layers of success. The sensibilities really are pretty basic expectations. We look for cleanliness, safety, comfort, the facility in decent shape, a level of service and, of course, price. These are the fundamentals, yet sadly many Hospitality businesses fall short. A poor impression sours the experience, which will also be shared with that electronic audience. But, with the sensibilities in line, you can begin to paint from that senses palette and create a memorable guest experience.
A restaurant offers the best canvass, for, as noted in QSR Magazine, “…, restaurants that have for so along designed their core around taste are now appealing to consumers’ other senses—sight, hearing, smell, and touch—to influence behavior, increase customer satisfaction, and capture guest loyalty on a deeper level”. Remember that Consumer Psychology 101 course as you design the experience.
With the eyes our window to the appetite, the sense of sight has extraordinary import. Think of the colors we choose, many reflecting our brand logo and brand colaterals, but also colors to stimulate emotions and response. Primary colors, muted tones, brash mixtures – all send a message to the brain, further influenced by the lighting you have selected. Bright lights, those dimmed, even your fixtures add to the design and reactions you seek from your Guests. Keep in mind the sight-lines, too, what your exterior promises and the interior delivers. An open kitchen, choice of furniture, layout of the tables in the room, art or handiworks you have selected for the brand all impact the experience.
The din of dining. The “noise” (music) you employ does affect the dining experience. Soothing jazz or the latest hip-hop relates to your audience and their ability to enjoy the meal. As the article points out, “Brands may not realize it, but the level of music and background noise can have a sizeable influence on consumers’ perception of the product and how much of it they consume. According to one 2011 study in the Journal of Food Quality and Preference, excessively loud background noise can even suppress saltiness, sweetness, and the overall enjoyment of food”. Some of us do like to be able to converse.
The aromas waft, and we are transfixed. Ah, the sense of smell, which QSR Magazine notes “…can be a notable contributor when encouraging consumers to spend and eat more at a restaurant”. The aroma gets us in the door, and we salivate in anticipation of the goods. We all have been there and wish we could bottle the sensation! Lastly, the sense of touch, the tactile nature of dining. The nature of our tableware, chairs, tables and even flooring send a message to our guests. There is a big difference between plastic and mahogany, wood floors and carpet.
So much goes into that guest experience we design, all starting with the basic sensibilities. We get those wrong, we are askew. But, if we have that foundation in line, we can artistically build from there, understanding the different senses and how each stimulates a response in our guests. Bon Appetit!
John Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog, focusing on anything and everything about customer experience. LRA Worldwide is the leading global provider of Customer Experience Measurement services for multinational companies with complex customer interactions. For over 30 years, LRA’s innovative brand standards audits, quality assurance inspections, mystery shopping programs, research, and consulting services have helped ensure our clients deliver consistent, memorable, and differentiated experiences to their customers. Many of the world's preeminent global hospitality brands, as well as companies in the gaming, dining, healthcare, sports and entertainment, real estate, retail and travel industries choose LRA to help them measure and improve the customer experience. For more information, visit www.LRAWorldwide.com.
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