10 Things That Out Date Your Restaurant

10 Things That Outdate Your Restaurant

Modernize your restaurant to show customers you care.

A quick search on Trip Advisor, and you’ll quickly see that outdated décor can ruin a diner’s experience. In fact, let’s hear what one customer review says, “The food and service are good, however…for the cost of a fine dining meal, my other senses should be treated to the same experience…”

You can read multiple reviews just like this all over the Internet. Diners are continually leaving restaurants with outdated décor behind, in search of places to eat with good food, service and décor.

Interestingly, a Cornell University study found that when they tested ratings for food, décor and service, they were all associated with a restaurant’s top-40 rating on Zagat’s listings. It seems it takes a combination of all three to land a restaurant in the top 40.

So, today, we look at 10 things that outdate your restaurant and how you can improve them.

#1: Décor

Before your diners even see your food or meet your wait staff, they take in the atmosphere of your restaurant. Their first impression is based on your décor, your color scheme and the decorations surrounding them.

If your total restaurant décor is outdated, it should be changed as soon as possible. (tweet this) Take a look with fresh eyes and see what you can do to improve it for the best success.

#2: China

Is your china outdated? If so, you’ll want to take a look at updating it to go with your menu and your updated dining room décor.

Choose your china carefully since it is carrying your most-prized offering – your food. If you’re a casual restaurant, you might choose white, while if you’re a high-end restaurant, you might go for a higher quality china.

If your concept is bright and bold, then by all means choose brightly colored plates.

#3: Glassware

Your glassware should complement your china, your menu and your décor. Your glassware is outdated if it’s discolored, cloudy, dingy and from 10-20 years ago.

#4: Dried Flowers

If you are still using dried flowers in your décor, you are definitely dating your restaurant. Get rid of it now. Dried flowers collect dust and grime as well, and they are hard to clean, so they aren’t usually the best choice for your décor.

If you’d like to keep flowers in your décor, see below about adding real greens. Additionally, artificial flowers have come a long way, so check your local home boutique for some quality “fake” flowers.

#5: Lighting

There are two aspects of your lighting that can be outdated and affect your restaurant. The first is the visual look of your lighting. If you’ve got light fixtures with 70s or 80s appeal, it’s time for a change.

Choosing modern lighting fixtures can instantly brighten your space and help communicate your ambiance. (tweet this)

The second aspect of your lighting is the light your fixtures put off. Your lighting creates the atmosphere in your restaurant, and if you are using outdated lighting, it keeps your other décor elements from being successful and creating a pleasant restaurant environment.


Clean, modern lines are appealing to many restaurant customers.

#6: Walls and Ceiling

What color paint is on your walls and ceiling? Is it an outdated antiseptic green, or is it a modern up-to-date color? Do you have 50s wallpaper on your walls? Or, have you covered an accent wall in a complimentary wallpaper?

Your walls and ceiling matter. You want to paint or wallpaper them in appetizing colors. Most often, reds, greens and browns are shown to stimulate the appetite while providing a nice atmosphere.

If your walls are white, consider updating them to a more modern white. Yes, the color of your white paint matters as do any accent colors you use. For example, walls with white molding can look good with pops of color.

Light wood molding can look nice with a dark, rich paint color, while you’d switch the colors with darker molding.

If you’re going for a more contemporary look, you can hang fabrics from the ceiling and put a wood-look tile on your walls. The possibilities are endless. Bottom-line, if you haven’t changed your paint or wallpaper in 10 years, it’s time to update it now.

Now let’s look at what goes on your walls.

#6: Wall Décor

You want to stay relevant with your customers. This is why you don’t want to keep awards from 10 years ago painted on your window.

This is especially true if you haven’t had a new award since then. This makes it look like you were only good in the past and not currently.

Additionally, use your wall space to match your restaurant concept. Decorate the walls with local art or murals. You can hang paintings that work with your concept. Black frames are a nice way to give your wall décor a cohesive, updated look.

#8: Flooring

If you have the same vinyl flooring or outdated, threadbare carpet, you’ll want to look at your floors as a way to update your restaurant.

Today’s flooring is as unique as your wall décor. You have many options when it comes to updating your flooring.

  • Wood floors reflect light and add a warm touch to your restaurant.
  • Cement floors painted with a rustic look are great for high traffic areas and look good in contemporary, vintage and modern settings.
  • Install tile and stone floors to enhance the charm and work with your ambiance.
  • Stay away from carpeting because it’s hard to maintain and quickly becomes outdated.

#9: Dining Room Décor

We have to ask – do you have dusty, outdated, plastic plants in your restaurant? If so, they are in need of a refresh.

If new plants aren’t in your budget, you can take them outside and hose them down. Consider adding more modern pots for them to bring them in to the 21st century.

Alternatively, if you have natural light, you can’t go wrong with plants and fresh flowers. Live greenery adds charm to your restaurant, and the flowers add color.

When you add live flowers, you give your restaurant an energy and ambiance that speaks to the freshness of your food.

Worth noting, though, is that if you’re using live plants, make sure someone is in charge of taking care of them.

Another option when it comes to updating your restaurant is to add a fountain. The sounds of running water are quite soothing and very modern.

#10: Uniforms

Have you thought about your uniforms lately? Are your servers wearing the same style they wore 10 years ago?

If you’re refreshing your restaurant and updating your look, you’ll want to take a peek at your uniforms. They’ll tie your whole concept together. Get input from your staff if you’re doing a major overhaul so you can encourage their buy-in.

Final Thoughts

Your interior décor influences customer satisfaction. It seems like updating your décor and bringing your restaurant into the 21st century is a great idea.

Besides changing out your décor with a more updated look, you might consider upgrading your décor with the seasons. This brings change to your restaurant’s décor four times per year. It can get your customers in the mood if you’ve added some seasonal specials. It also upgrades your restaurant on a regular basis.

Have you recently remodeled or updated your décor? How did it affect your bottom line? Did your customers notice? Share your comments below – we’d love to hear them.

Images: Alex Jones and Claudia Viloria

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