Fine Advice: Recipe for a Successful Restaurant

The legendary restaurateur Charles Masson, formerly of iconic La Grenouille in New York City, recently shared his five ingredients of a successful restaurant in a video by Bloomberg.

Set to lilting music with lush shots of a posh dining room and intricate dishes, the advice was clearly intended for the fine dining audience. But we see lessons that can apply just as well to the fast casual chain.

Five Ingredients of a Successful Restaurant

  • Food: It may sound obvious, but quality food is often overlooked on menus of varying price points. Beyond taste, how dishes are presented and served (even when they’re served to go!) set the mood too. In the quick-serve category, consumers have proven their willingness to spend a bit more for a better meal: Panera Bread, Shake Shack and Noodles & Co. are growing, while, for the first time since the 70s, McDonald’s will close more stores than it opens.
  • Ambience: A beautiful setting seduces all who pass through a restaurant’s doors. From lighting to décor, if your place is inviting, the customer will linger longer, spend more and return often.
  • Service: The best service is executed by listening to the customer: being attentive to her every need, and anticipating what she wants before she has to ask for it. In Masson’s world, that may mean an amuse bouche compliments of the chef. In yours, it may mean free refills at the soda fountain.
  • Consistency: The challenge is attending to all the details with the same freshness each and every day. Say what you will about Subway, but they have consistency down pat. It’s a model every new concept must master if they expect to build a following.
  • Guest: The most important ingredient in any restaurant. Clean restrooms, friendly employees, comfortable seating, free wi-fi…the simple things go a long way towards making a guest feel like you put them first.


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