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As a restaurant owner in Venice, Italy, where our streets are canals, we deal with certain aspects of the business that most entrepreneurs would never think about.  Whether it’s renting a refrigerated boat to transport product or closing our outdoor seating because of high tides, there are an array of complexities to deal with.  But, one thing that is standard regardless of location, is choosing the best chairs for your food establishment.

I’m always on the lookout for great products to enhance my guests’ time in GAM GAM.  When people think about where they would like to go out to eat, the things they usually consider are: the food, atmosphere, guest service, location and price.  These priorities stand out in the minds of any restaurant guest.  However, seating is not usually something given much thought.

Atmosphere – Setting the Tone and Mood in a Restaurant

Eating out is relaxing, takes one’s mind off daily challenges and is a great way to step out of the usual and connect with family or friends.  Guests save time cooking and cleaning and are able to reinvest that time with those whom they care about.  

Sometimes, people choose a meal out to celebrate.  We’ve hosted everything from birthday parties to graduations and wedding proposals to 50th anniversaries. We know that as a team, we are providing more than just a meal.  We hope to contribute to an atmosphere that will help create beautiful memories for years to come. Often, guests are trusting us with some of the most special moments of their lives. 

Especially now, as the world struggles to contain the Coronavirus, going out to a restaurant is almost deemed as a luxury.  The time spent at a restaurant is more valued by the guests, and restaurant staff are happier than ever to see their usual clients come back for a visit.

There are also the things that enhance the atmosphere and the guest experience that are more subconscious. One of those things is the seating. Imagine your favorite restaurant. What words would you use to describe the feeling when you are there?  That is the atmosphere.  And before you even think about what type of chairs you need, you have to decide what kind of atmosphere you want to create.

GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant at the main entrance of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, Italy

Style is for More than Clothing

High back, low back, fancy and formal, there is so much to choose from.   Knowing the environment you want for your guests, will help you determine in which style you should invest.  Some style concepts to consider are: casual, chic, rustic, elegant, contemporary, artsy, modern and fabrics such as upholstery, leather and plastic.

Another aspect to consider is the chair frame.  There are many types such as wood, metal, plastic or aluminum lightweight material.

Choosing a specific style of chair goes further than the aesthetics. The design and style allows the guests to sit closer or further apart.  Some chairs inhibit leaning forward.  Keep in mind that part of enjoying a meal out is that it provides a way for your guests to connect with one another.  

Other style factors to consider are the flexibility of moving chairs when necessary.  In facilities with a high guest turn-over rate, chairs shouldn’t be too heavy for the staff who will have to move them during cleaning.   Chairs should also be easy to move around when rearranging the composition of tables to adjust for larger parties.  And, if you have busier seasons where you’ll need more chairs than usual, consider stackable chairs to maximize storage space. 

Feel Comfortable – Make Yourself at Home

A chair can actually affect how a person feels while they are dining.  An uncomfortable chair can be likened to having a small pebble in your shoe while you are walking.  It can make or break the entire experience, especially if the meal is a longer one.

It’s one of those things that you don’t give too much thought to until you are seated in a chair that is uncomfortable.  Have you have been seated in “the broken chair?” Or, where you can feel the inner parts of the chair itself because the cushioning is too worn.

Diners come to relax and you want them to be comfortable, but not that guests will linger unnecessarily. An important factor to consider is how long your guest will be seated.  If you have a food establishment with a low-cost menu, it is likely that you rely on having a high turn-over of tables. If your guests are going to have a quick coffee and a croissant, then a barstool may be a good choice.  Not only because this matches the more informal style of a coffee house, but it also lends itself to that sort of quick food service.  On the other hand, if you run a more formal establishment, diners will likely take their time to enjoy a longer meal. Here, a more comfortable chair with proper cushioning will be more suitable.

Proper spacing is an important consideration as well.  Guests should be able to comfortably walk between tables without banging into those currently dining.  This is even more important to think about if your restaurant is located in a tourist area or in a shopping zone where guests may come in with their shopping bags. Or, in the Winter, if you don’t have a coat room or rack, your guests will need space to put their coats on the back of their chairs.

Adequate spacing is also important for waitstaff who need to safely transport food while moving easily and quickly. Your choice of chair size will help staff avoid frustration and help ensure they can provide quick service.

GAM GAM Kosher Restaurant in Venice, Italy offers seating with a view of the Cannaregio Canal

Durability is Key

When it comes to durability, there is a difference between commercial vs. residential grade chairs. Use from the sheer number of guests coming in to a food establishment far outweighs the typical wear and tear that a chair built for home use can withstand.  Restaurants need chairs that are specifically built to tolerate this kind of use. Chairs are an investment in the restaurant. It’s not the part where you want to take the cheap route.  Having to replace chairs more often than you should will end up costing you more in the long run.

Another factor for durability is the fabric.  It can make all the difference.  

Whether an elegant fabric or a faux leather, it should be easy to clean, especially if you have a family restaurant where there will be children dining.  Consider chairs that can be cleaned using a light damp cloth to both eliminate dust and to easily and thoroughly remove food crumbs in the cracks and crevices where it can accumulate.

Hygiene is More Important than Ever

Restaurants are struggling to find ways to make their guests as comfortable as possible during this difficult time while abiding by the increase of health regulations because of the Coronavirus.  Many restaurants have limited hours and reduced seating capacity as a result of having to remove some tables.

Here are some best practices during this challenging time:

Print signs for employees and guests reminding them to wash hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Hand sanitizer should be readily available in all public areas, such as at the entrance, restrooms, coat racks and the bar area.

Provide clear pathways for your guests to walk.  Proper signage helps guests know where to enter and exit.  Signs should also assist guests as to where to walk within the restaurant as to avoid, or at least minimize, direct contact with others as much as possible.

Menus are some of the most handled items in a restaurant.  Just as it’s an obligation to maintain proper food handling practices in the kitchen, we train our staff to maintain health standards in the service areas as well.  This includes proper maintenance of menus, which should be wiped down often.  During these particular times of Coronavirus, we are using temporary menus that are disposed of after each use.

Soon we will be introducing a more permanent solution.  Guests will be able to scan a QR code on the table and pull up the menu directly on their cell phone.

By taking these 5 essentials for choosing the best restaurant chairs into account, you will be able to enhance your guests’ experience in your food establishment.  You’ll be able to create a great atmosphere and your guests will come back again and again, because they will know they can dine in a clean and stylish place with efficient service.

Have the taste of GAM GAM at home with GAM GAM’s Hummus recipe!

The following is the talk I gave when I was asked to speak at the Jeff Pulver International Network Event in August 2020.

promo for networking event

The power of Integrity, Influence and Impact, and the means to utilizing them properly is hinted at within the very words themselves. So, when you want to: Help someone find their purpose, perhaps including yourself, just remember these three clues I’m going to point out.

Integrity

First, let’s define Integrity – honest, moral uprightness.

Within Integrity, we have the first clue, the word grit: Grit is perseverence of effort or passion.  It’s that grit, that perseverence about the things you are passionate about or believe in, that will lead you down the right path to get things done with integrity, with honesty and moral uprightness.

If you want to check yourself, a good barometer to see if you are going in the right direction, to determine if something will be beneficial materially, is to decide if it is the proper thing to do from a spiritual standpoint. Whether you call it karma, divine providence or mojo, is irrelevant.  If something goes against your morals, then ultimately, it will not be beneficial to you materially. Be true to yourself and don’t back down from what you believe in your heart.

Influence

Next, we have Influence – The definition of Influence is very simple but can be something of profound significance.  The extraordinary power of Influence is to have an effect on the character, the development or the behavior of something, and in our case, were talking about affecting another human being.  Think about it…….you have an opportunity to change the way some else is going to live their life.  Let me repeat that…..YOU have an opportunity to change the way some else is going to live their life.

Within influence, we have the word fluence: mysterious, magical or hypnotic power.  And we also have a related word fluency: Now, fluency is generally connected to speech.  To be exact, fluency is the speed, accuracy and patterns of rhythym and sound in speech. 

But let’s think a minute about how this is connected to influence.

What happens when you hear a song that you really like suddenly come on the radio or that pops up on your device when your playlist is on shuffle?  You move to the music.  You identify with the patterns of the rhythm and sounds.  You connect.  This is the essence of influence.  

Connection

But how do we connect?

You need to identify the needs and wants of your audience, whether that’s a single individual or a group of people.

And sometimes, people have so much going on in their lives, and outward appearances don’t allow you to see what that person needs, or even more, to see that…. they need anything at all.  

It’s like the abundance of information available for search on the world wide web.  How do companies make it to the front page of Google search?  How do you: “make it to the front page of someone’s internal google search? In other words, when you’ve got to identify the user intent, so to speak.  Just like companies that focus on the importance of user intent, you’ve got to understand what are this person’s actual needs and wants?

Those companies understand that to be successful in influencing others, it starts with getting their attention. For us here today, that means focusing on emotional search engine optimization by employing fluency……..speed and accuracy in order to make a connection, capture their attention, get them to click with what you are offering, and this way, the influence will be beneficial. When we can influence someone’s life positively, we can’t take that opportunity for granted. One shouldn’t hesitate if such a special opportunity has presented itself. But as I said, you’ve got to identify the needs and wants of that person.  You’ve got to do some research first, to see where their emotional IP address is, so to speak, to see where they are holding, and what they envision for themselves.

Impact

And that leads us to Impact – which as we know is the actual effect or  influence of one entity on another.

The clue to remember here is pact: What is a pact? An agreement or covenant between two or more people.

Every person, regardless of their backround or knowledge, has the power to illuminate the world with their G-d given talents and acquired skills. And each person has the power to lead.  We don’t have to wait until we know the entire alphabet, so to speak, to teach it to another.  When you know the letter A, then you can go and teach A. In fact, you should go and teach that A.  After all, what’s the purpose of learning something and keeping all of that knowledge to ourselves?

Amplifying Goodness

Everyone has a spark deep inside, and when we endeavor to amplify that goodness within that individual, we are creating a connection which will allow us, to not only have an impact on their lives, but encourage them to impact others’ lives as well.

But, how? We have to “find favor in others”, help them discover their own merits.  I was thinking about something connected to this the other day.  It’s very interesting….. in Hebrew, the expression for “finding favor in others”, actually gives us insight on how to do it. In Hebrew, “finding favor in others” is “limud zechut,” which literally means: study of another person’s merit.  We have to study, to look carefully, closely at someone’s merit, because sometimes we have to find that which is hidden within a person, perhaps it’s even hidden to them, and help them bring it out of themselves in order to encourage them to share their gift with the world.  The greatest impact you can have on someone, is to help them impact someone else.

Potential

Everyone here today has the potential to have an influence and impact on another person. We just need to reveal our will for this. You have to decide to do it and take action.  If you do that, you will be successful.  Because, we are all actual partners in making, our world at large and in microcosm, the best place it can be. Because, the best way to inspire others is by showing, by being a living example.

So, we have to recognize the crucial value of each individual…… including ourselves.

Knowing that people look to you for guidance and inspiration, will help you be the best version of yourself. 

And when it comes to affecting our own lives, as with all good things, we must constantly grow.  We should always strive to improve ourselves through actual effort and persistence.  But life is full of daily challenges and it’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed with all of life’s obligations.  

Staying Balanced

We can stay balanced by reminding ourselves that since the best way to influence others is through a pleasant, friendly and sincere approach, we should, at least, act the same way with ourselves.  It’s taught that: words that come from the heart, enter the heart. We also deserve to treat ourselves with kindness, so, speak to yourself nicely and cut off the negative self-talk as soon as it starts.  We would never speak to others, the way we sometimes speak to ourselves, right?

It is up to each one of us to help bring the internal power someone has, their talents, their skills, from a potential state into actual expression, even knowing that sometimes it will take a greater measure of our inner strength and effort.

Being a Leader

Every one of us can be a leader, because we all have the power to influence others, by choosing to be a positive example to the people in our lives.  And nowadays, with technology, this potential to influence extends to the farthest reaches, beyond anything we could have imagined, even just a few years ago. And through this, we can lead others to be their best selves and to develop the life that’s best for them.

Remember, Action is the main thing. 

From the bottom of my heart, may each and every-single-one-of-you achieve your potential, help others to reach theirs and may you reap the rewards of your efforts.

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