We now serve food on Slate Boards
There’s no denying that the most important part of a restaurant is its food. All else being equal, patrons will choose the establishment with the food they feel tastes better. There’s no way around it. That said, there is never a real world scenario where all else is equal. So an owner must consider the other variables when taking into account what will draw customers to their particular restaurant over anyone else’s.
There is much that new owners fail to take into account when considering bringing new customers, and retaining customers for repeat business. These can be small things that many newcomers fail to account for in their dreams of restaurant ownership and they range far beyond the food itself.
There’s the big things that most people realize: location, decor, atmosphere, cleanliness, you know, basically everything about the inward and outward appearances. But there are other things owners rarely think about, but that customers never fail to notice: staff, friendliness, ease of ordering (menu design), promptness of food delivery, etc. All these things help build a rapport with your clientele. They build a network of regular customers, they encourage those customers to promote your restaurant through word of mouth, social media, and the other venues of general (free) advertisement. The importance of nailing the basics, beyond the food itself, cannot be overstated.
One thing my wife and I did when opening our restaurant was decide, first and foremost, that we wanted to be unique. We didn’t want customers walking in and saying, “oh this is just like so and so,” or “ah, it’s another one of these.” Yes, yes, I’m sure everyone wants to be unique, but we really wanted to stand out. Part of this was the obvious decorating choices, like deciding what to put on the walls, the level of lighting, the signage out front, designing the menu itself. Then my wife came across something that we would eventually put into practice that truly set us apart. It’s something every customer, without a doubt, notices. It’s impossible not to notice! We now serve our food on a slate cheese tray
I can hear you asking yourself, “slate?” That stuff for roofing and sidewalks? Yeah, that stuff. The stone that’s mostly used for construction. The stone we use is, of course, perfectly clean, and treated for food service. We put in a bulk order at Slateplate for a gorgeous set of their solid black dining slate boards. We ordered several different sizes; mostly the 6″ x 12″ for the smaller appetizers, the 8”x16” for most entrees and cheese, but also several other sizes for various specialty dishes. Slateplate was kind enough to work with us and get a specialized restaurant rate since we were ordering in bulk. And working with them for the ease of a giant order was an absolute pleasure. They were friendly, responsive, and prompt. As it becomes necessary to replenish our dishware, or simply order more due to demand, I certainly don’t dread the experience of working with them to get our resupply.
The customers LOVE the slate. It’s the first thing they notice, even before the food. It’s perfectly clean, cool to the touch, smooth, jet black, and an absolute pleasure to dine with. Though I think it helps the food stand out too. Especially colorful food looks beautiful when set against the completely blackness of the slate, something you’ll never get with your standard sepia colored dinnerware or boring white plates. The slate is a complete piece of cake to clean, too. They’re dishwasher safe, but also easy enough to just rub down with a sponge and warm, soapy water.
More than once I’ve overheard patrons refer to our restaurant as “that place that serves food on slate,” which means we made a mark. We’re in their memory. They’ll remember that restaurant that served food on the cool plates and think to come back. So while I’m letting the secret out, I’m not too worried. We’ve made our mark at this point, and I think Slateplate, a small business based entirely out of the USA, deserves the attention. Excellent product, and it most definitely deserves more than a little credit to the success of our restaurant.