Where Should I Eat? How to Pick a Restaurant the Right Way

How Do You Choose a Restaurant?

How do you choose a restaurant? Will the occasion itself shape your choice? Or, is food a major factor? Aren't service, ambience and location important, too? Or, do you go for Michelin stars? Whether we are conscious of it or not, we have our reasons for choosing a restaurant.

Choosing a Restaurant



Check the location

Unless there are literally no restaurants in town, your team is not going to want to drive 30 minutes to and from dinner. Check Google Maps, and aim for a restaurant within a 15 minute radius. The closer to your hotel, the better. Everyone will be exhausted at the end of the day, and after dinner they will be excited for a quick journey to bed.

If your team is local, then consider a restaurant as close to the client site or office as possible. If everyone is going to the team dinner directly after work, your team members will be hungry and will not want to travel far from their typical routes home. You can find variety of reasons to check out different restaurants.

If there is a really good restaurant that your team should absolutely try, there can definitely be exceptions to the 15 minute rule. Check with your team early on in the week, and see which day they would be open to a longer or more unique dinner.

How Could The Random Restaurant Generator Help You?

Decision fatigue is a very real thing. For those not familiar with the term, decision fatigue centers around the idea that your ability to make good decisions decreases with each decision you make on any given day. It’s estimated that the average person makes a whopping 35,000 decisions each day. Every decision made takes time and energy from us, which can leave us completely depleted at the end of the day. 

One of the most difficult decisions each of us faces every day: what do I want to eat? It’s a question we have to answer for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Studies have found that the average American spends 132 hours a year deciding what and where to eat. To make matters worse, additional stress can be added to the decision making process when more than one person is involved. Surveys show that 37% of all couples regularly have a hard time agreeing on where to eat. These meal disagreements can often take an average of 2 hours and 32 minutes each week to resolve. 

When it comes to deciding where and what to eat, it’s easy to get into a rut. When you need to decide your next meal, you might find yourself: 

  • Skipping meals to avoid making a decision
  • Regularly transferring the decision to a loved one or friend 
  • Going back to the same restaurant over and over again?

If any of the above apply to you, then this tool could really help you. However, the generator could offer help to just about anyone and everyone that dines out on occasion. 

Our random restaurant generator can save you stress, time, and mental energy by making the decision on where to eat for you. You’ll no longer have to think about where you might want to go for a good meal – that answer is just a button click away. The generator also helps resolve disputes between couples, family members, and friends, because it’s a neutral third party. 

Surveys show that 8% of Americans dine out multiple times a week, 14% dine out once a week, and 17% dine out multiple times a month. This tool could be regularly used to save hours of time given how frequently Americans dine out. You’ll be able to spend more time enjoying your meal and less time deciding what your meal will actually be. 

Restaurant Types and Restaurant Concepts

Your restaurant type and your concept are very muc

Your restaurant type and your concept are very much entwined, but there is a difference.

When you decided to open a restaurant, you probably had an idea of the kind of food you would serve and the atmosphere or theme of your restaurant. Maybe your neighborhood badly needs a café where locals can linger over a morning coffee and a scone. Or maybe it’s sorely in need of a good takeout place that’s open late. Or maybe you just want to share your grandmother’s famous soups and stews with the world.  

These are all basic concepts you can use as a framework to begin to build your business.

A restaurant’s concept is the image it projects, the way you present it and the way the public perceives it.

Roger Fields cautions:

Until you have a basic concept, it will be difficult to answer crucial questions about your space, equipment, and staffing needs. This initial concept will also help you conduct meaningful market research so you can identify a workable location, prepare a realistic financial feasibility study, and work through your business plan to see if it makes financial sense.

Once you have a concept fleshed out, you can choose the kind of establishment that will best suit you. If you’re opening that café, you might have a table-service-style restaurant, or you may want to set up more like a fast casual restaurant, where customers order and pick up pre-made baked goods, light sandwiches, and coffee from the counter and then find a seat.

If you want that late-night takeout place, it’s pretty obvious what you’ll choose: the takeout and delivery model with very few, if any, seats.

Finally there’s Grandma’s soup. You may decide a fast-food model in a brick-and-mortar store might work best. Perhaps the soups are set out buffet-style, and patrons help themselves. Or you could set up a take-out-and-delivery (even a virtual) restaurant, since soup is easy to make in batches.

Or, if you truly want to get mobile, you could open a soup truck that roams the streets of your city in search of hungry crowds.

Pro Tip: There are lots of apps that let customers follow their favorite food trucks — Diamond Plate, Street Food Finder and WTF?! Where’s the Food Truck are just a few. Once you have a following, you can let people know where you are on any given day with one of these apps.

Getting your restaurant type and concept sorted will help you define your unique selling proposition (USP). According to Fields, “Put simply, your USP will set your restaurant apart from your competitors.”

Your USP is the differentiator that makes you special, whether that is service, your unique menu items, your low prices, or your funky decor and ambiance.

Whatever it is, it’s something customers don’t get with any other restaurant in your service area. It’s the thing that makes them keep coming back.

Culinary Trends in Restaurants

This video showcases the latest culinary trends you must try in restaurants. What is the latest for one may not be for another. We have a different preference, especially for food. So, go for what is best for you. But in case you're curious as to the latest trend, view this video.

5. Apply for Restaurant Licenses and Permits

Acquiring all of the necessary licenses and permits to open a restaurant involves paperwork and patience.

Depending on your concept and the city or state where you open your restaurant, the necessary licenses and permits you’ll need — and the costs to acquire them — will be different. Some licenses are required for every restaurant (i.e. business licenses), while others depend on your restaurant concept (i.e. liquor licenses).

Here are some other licenses and permits you’ll most likely need:

  • Employee identification number
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • Sign permit
  • Food service license

Licenses take time and money to acquire. If you’re serious about opening a restaurant, get a jump start on procuring them early on in the process.

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What to consider when choosing a location for a quick-service vs. a full-service restaurant

While most of our above tips can be applied to either QSRs or FSRs, each comes with distinct considerations for choosing a restaurant location. Here’s what to consider for each of these restaurant types.

How to choose a QSR location

  • Convenience is key: QSR customers want a convenient location instead of a destination location. That means putting your restaurant in a high-traffic strip mall next to frequently visited shops, in a part of your city where lots of people work and need quick options for lunch, or in a building with a drive-thru that can boost business. 
  • Fewer parking spaces: QSRs typically need less parking space than FSRs because turnover is faster. 

How to choose an FSR location

  • Leisure is more important: Full-service restaurants can be in more remote locations because they are often destinations, rather than just a place to grab a bite to eat. A restaurant at a vineyard or with a scenic view can be off the beaten path because people will come to it for more than just the food. 
  • Need more parking options: People spend more time at FSRs, so ample room for parking is a must. If your restaurant is located in an urban setting, offering valet parking can help compensate for a lack of nearby parking options.  

Find something unique

Avoid picking a chain restaurant, or something that you can get back at home. For example, if you are in New Orleans, there isplenty of Cajun and Creole cuisine, so get ready for some real spice to hit your mouth. If you visit Philadelphia. you might want to get a  Philadelphia cheesesteak. Figure out what local dishes are available, and you will give your team members a worthwhile evening. 

With these tips in mind, you are sure to find a restaurant that will pass your team’s expectations. Good luck with your team dinner, and enjoy the food and good conversation!

A date night dining checklist

Whenever an online suitor asks where she wants to go on their first date, Bumble digital marketing coordinator (and unofficial resident foodie) Janelle Laqui offers three dining options in a lively part of the city. “Food in and of itself is a communal activity,” says Laqui. “So when the food tastes good, you’re more inclined to talk about it and it’s more likely to spur conversation.”

In fact, you should probably start this convo before you’ve even set a first date: Add some of your own favorite foods or restaurants to your bio, or even a food-related question for your match to answer. After all, how else will you know that they’re similarly obsessed with tacos, or ice cream, or ramen?

As for date-friendly eats, it’s up to you to define what that means. “I’m not sure if I’d want to be slurping spaghetti or eating chicken wings on a first date, but, of course, to each their own,” Laqui says. Maybe your roommate doesn’t love slurping soup dumplings to eating with their hands at that new Ethiopian restaurant, but if your mouth is watering and your date is game, don’t let that stop you. The meal is more about a connection rather than the messy logistics of it. (Just be sure to be mindful of dietary restrictions or preferences before you pick the place, so both of you can enjoy the meal.)

And if your date’s profile badges indicate that they drink “Socially” or “Frequently,” chances are they have a preference of beer, wine, or cocktails. “I also love a good cocktail, so I definitely want to make sure that the restaurant has a great beverage menu with a lot of variety,” Laqui says. There’s plenty of reasons someone might refrain from drinking alcohol, so pick a place that offers a selection of mocktails too.

But there’s more to consider outside of the menu: A restaurant’s ambiance matters too. When it comes to the lighting, it’s a bit of a Goldilocks situation. If the place is too dark, it can feel overly intimate. However, if the place is too bright, it can feel like a job interview. Aim for a moody, romantic middle. And avoid places blasting loud music as it makes it hard to have a conversation if you’re shouting at each other.

Aside from the ambiance, it’s crucial to consider the price point. Choose a restaurant that’s within a price range you’re both comfortable with. A good guiding principle is that whoever does the asking out should be the one picking up the tab. But in any case, it’s reasonable for both people to offer to cover all or part of the check and have a conversation about it. “My go-to is to stick to restaurants that fall within the two dollar sign range on Yelp or Google Reviews,” Laqui says. If the restaurant is too expensive, there may be pressure for you or your date to outdo yourself and spend beyond your means, she added. If you’re still unsure of your match’s price range but feel too nervous to ask, let them decide: Pick three date spots in different price ranges and let your match choose.

Finally, a pro tip: Make a dinner reservation even if it’s not a super busy restaurant. This way, Laqui says, you’re guaranteed a seat upon arrival so you can start the date right away and you won’t have to awkwardly occupy yourselves until your table is ready.

Regardless of how well you know your date, make sure to tell a close friend or family member where you’re going.

10. Host a Soft-Opening and Grand-Opening

Once your space and menu are ready to unveil to the public, you’re going to want to host both a soft opening and grand opening to introduce your restaurant to the world. 

A soft-opening is a casual first night for new restaurants where friends of the business – friends and family of the owner, friends and family of the staff, neighbors to the business, representatives from your distributors and vendors – are invited in for your “unofficial” first shift. A soft-opening is where new restaurants go through meal service live for the first time and work out any big kinks in the process. It’s the first time, outside of training, that restaurant staff will work together as though it were a real shift, so be prepared to give feedback and make adjustments in the moment. Restaurants typically invite friends and family to a soft opening because they tend to be more forgiving when mistakes happen and understand you’re still learning what works. 

You do not market your restaurant’s soft-opening to the public; it’s traditionally a closed guest list. You do market your restaurant’s grand opening to the public in order to build momentum and excitement around your brand. 

A restaurant grand-opening marks your official opening to the public, the first shift – either breakfast, lunch, or dinner – where members of your community can come in for a bite or a drink. It is completely normal for there to still be kinks to work out or mistakes that happen on the fly. Very rarely does a restaurant work out all of their problem areas during a soft-opening. In this business, it’s incredibly rare for a shift to go off without a hitch. 

Make sure to take pictures of the event for social media (and for memories sake). Don’t forget to save and frame your first dollar!

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