The walls were a rich yellow color contrasted by large matted picture frames. The halogen lighting illuminated richly colored paintings. Soft smooth jazz played in the background. The aroma of a rich tapestry of flavors flowed through the air. This was no ordinary restaurant.
A friendly smile greeted us as we sat down at a simple but unique black table with freshly starched tablecloth. The waitress took our drink order and soon returned with crystal glasses of iced tea and water. Attention to detail was everywhere. Even the lemon slices in the glasses were cut in crescent shapes.
Soon a helpful and informative waiter welcomed us to the bistro. He pointed out some lunch specials and recommended a couple of items on the menu. His number one recommendation was “meat loaf.” My imagination took the best of me. I don’t like meat loaf and pictures of a slab of tasteless ground beef with red sauce came flowing through my mind. The waiter somehow read my mind and counseled a different approach. “Our chef has been working all day on the meat loaf,” he said, and he told us about the Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions in a Cabernet Sauce that would make this something to remember.
My wife ordered the Chicken in Puff Pastry and we waited for our food as we took in the sights and sounds of the restaurant. A table across the way had local business people enjoying a lunch out. They were sharing a unique shaped bottle of water from Scandinavia and the talk was lively. In the distance I could see the chef and his staff preparing the food through an arched opening. As I looked outside there were chatty women enjoying a bottle of wine on the veranda.
Soon we were greeted to an amazing presentation. My “meat loaf” was introduced on a stack of garlic mashed potatoes surrounded with sautéed asparagus while my wife’s puff pastry was colorful and sophisticated. As I took my first bite I can honestly say this was the best meat-loaf I have ever had with delicious well coordinated flavors. The phenomenal experience was better than many high end restaurants and the best surprise of all was the price… twelve dollars including a lunch salad. The staff of Louie’s Restaurant made our day
This is what “atmosphere” is all about. It’s the colors, sounds and aromas that excite our senses. It’s a wonderful experience. It’s the unique icons and a strategically placed type font. It’s the soft sounds of a local band. It’s different from normal and draws us in.
Does your business have “atmosphere,” or is it plain white walls with plastic chairs? Does your website exude creativity or is it a cookie cutter affair? Will people notice your smooth Columbian decaf latte or will they cringe at the taste of your Maxwell House instant coffee?
Whatever your business or service entails, adding some atmosphere is usually a matter of focus and attention to detail. Is your product instantly recognizable or is it lost in the myriad of New Times Roman type fonts on a cluttered page of advertising. Does white space describe your walls instead of your advertising strategy?
There are many great books on product design and creativity, but three come to mind that may give you some insight on creating a wonderful and unique experience for your customers. In Change The Way You See Everything, Kathryn Cramer takes us on a pictorial journey to creating a more positive experience in life. From the unique cover to the uplifting pictures throughout, this book will inspire you to go from mediocrity to greatness.
Steve Farber has written a creative masterpiece about changing the business atmosphere for employees in his book, The Radical Edge: Stoke Your Business, Amp Your Life, and Change the World. This book will help you change your business “atmosphere” from the inside out. In The Art of Innovation, Tom Kelley takes us on a trip inside America’s largest design firm and helps us see the process behind many of the amazing products we use everyday.
Change your world… create an extraordinary atmosphere!