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Americans Need Less Stressful Dining Options

6 min read

A recent survey suggesting Americans get stressed out by having to decide what to wear to a restaurant has implications for the restaurant industry. To the extent that the survey can be believed, it suggests that we Americans need less stressful dining options. Diners already stressed out by fast decisions do not need additional stress when they sit down to eat.

The survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Nordstrom’s Trunk Club seems a bit suspicious. The survey was ostensibly taken among 2,000 Americans that represent a cross section of the general public. However, the numbers suggest otherwise. They suggest that those who took the survey are fashion-conscious people for whom choosing the right outfit is a normal part of life.

The average American doesn’t think that way. Most of us don’t stand in front of the closet, staring into the clothing abyss wondering what we are going to wear. Most of us don’t avoid going out to eat because we cannot find the perfect outfit. But for the sake of this discussion, let’s say the survey and its results do accurately represent a cross-section of American consumers. What can be learned from it?

Turn Down the Noise

If the survey is to be believed, more than half of all restaurant patrons are already under stress before they arrive. They are stressed about possibly spilling food on their beautiful outfits. They might even limit their menu choices to foods they know they can eat without any risk of spills.

This level of stress really needs to be addressed with strategies designed to relax customers. Right off the top, that means turning down the noise. That means shutting off the loud music so that diners can actually have conversations. It also means covering up all of that industrial interior space with materials that absorb sound.

Open Up the Space

Noise is just one problem that creates additional stress for already stressed out diners. Lack of comfort is another. For example, how many times have you sat down in a restaurant with barely enough room to pull out your chair without striking a chair from the neighboring table? Being packed in like sardines only creates more stress.

Restaurant guests need to be comfortable if they are to relax. So that means more space between tables. It means more space to walk through the dining room when entering or exiting. The more space you give people, the more relaxed they feel. Keep packing them in like sardines and you only increase stress levels.

They Need Really Good Food

Food is one of the few things that tends to be universally comforting. Indeed, we all have those comfort foods that make us feel good even when the circumstances of the day are not all that wonderful. What’s the lesson here? According to the owners of Salt Lake City’s Taqueria27 Mexican restaurant, it’s that stressed guests really need good food.

Whether it’s the best Mexican food in Salt Lake City or the best Italian in the Big Apple, really good food goes a long way toward alleviating stress. Sinking your teeth into a meal that is incredibly delicious makes it really easy to forget whatever stress you brought into the restaurant with you.

Apparently, more than half of Americans get stressed out by the thought of having to pick an outfit prior to going to a restaurant. If that’s true, we have a serious problem on our hands. Maybe we can solve the problem by turning down restaurant noise, giving guests a bit more space, and focusing on really good food.

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