What Makes a Good Restaurant? Why Do People Flock to One Restaurant and Not Another?

I walked into a restaurant recently, ordered a combo, sat down and began thinking “What makes a restaurant good? Why do people flock to one restaurant and not another?

Obviously, it’s gotta be the food, right?

As I sat there waiting for my food, many things occurred to me. I’ve eaten in many restaurants, I’m the type of person who likes to explore and will eat anything to see what it’s like.

Perhaps I’m not the right person to do this discussion, but let’s see. Having the experience of @ least twenty years of eating/dining out, I can say I may be able to come up with a thought or two on this subject.

When doing lunch, depending on the hour if it’s 11am – 12:30pm, I will avoid places which are packed. Like most people I have a time limited lunch hour, 30-60 minutes tops. If it’s packed I may go in if I know that the service will be fast, if not I’ll search for another less crowded place.

If I’m having lunch after 12:30pm then the population of any restaurant is not that important, by the time I get in, settle down and order most of the other patrons will be heading back to work.

Ideally, once I find a place I like and which provides quality fast service I will frequent it regularly, two to three times a week. But this is too simple of an answer. Let’s talk about how to judge without having previous knowledge of the place.

This eliminates all the chain type restaurants, diners and sub shops with which you are probably very familiar. You can do it by trial and error, just drop in and let the chips fall where they may. In this instance, you’ll base your opinion, like most people, on what you’ll get when you order. You will either come back or not.

I want to propose a mini checklist of how to grade the restaurant without buying and trying.

First, as you pull into the place check out their parking lot and building exterior. Is the parking lot clean and inviting. Is the building exterior well maintained, are the windows clean. All of this indicates that management cares about what their facility looks like, first impressions are important.

Second, as you enter the restaurant check for cleanliness, are the floors clean, are the walls clean, does the place smell nice.

Third, is the staff inviting and attentive, did they greet and acknowledge you upon entry? Did they ask your seating preference, were you seated properly. Did they take your order swiftly and correctly.

Fourth, if you get a chance, check out their restrooms – if clean you’re OK.

If any of the above points do not meet your standards – leave. It’s really that simple, if they don’t meet your standards then vote with your feet. Go somewhere else.