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The Secret Ingredient to Improve Your Restaurant: Plants!

Written by: phs Greenleaf

phs Greenleaf has been providing planting and landscaping services to businesses for over 25 years, including indoor and outdoor plants, artificial and live planting, living walls, grounds maintenance and Christmas trees and decorations.

The Secret Ingredient to Improve Your Restaurant: Plants!

Restaurants aren’t just a place where people go to eat. In today’s competitive food industry, it’s the experience that most people are looking for. Diners want to enjoy attractive surroundings, quality service and something a little different from their experience – and that’s on top of great food! 

Transforming your restaurant to ensure it hits all the boxes isn’t always easy, but we’re here to tell you one way you can wow your diners and give them an experience to remember. That’s right – plants! Take a look at our ultimate guide to how you can use plants to provide a superior dining experience that will keep customers coming through your door.  

Plants and restaurant décor – a match made in heaven

Plants and restaurants are the perfect match for several compelling reasons. Firstly, plants bring a touch of nature indoors, creating a harmonious and calming atmosphere that enhances the dining experience. The visual appeal of lush greenery and vibrant blooms adds aesthetic value to restaurant spaces, making them more inviting and Instagram-worthy. 

Plants also contribute to improved air quality by releasing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide, creating a healthier environment for both diners and staff. The soothing presence of plants has been linked to reduced stress and anxiety, ensuring that guests feel more relaxed and comfortable during their meal. 

Moreover, restaurants can embrace sustainability by incorporating live plants, showcasing a commitment to eco-friendly practices. The seasonal changes in plant decor can add variety to the dining setting, keeping things fresh and exciting for returning patrons.  

All in all, the synergy between plants and restaurants enhances ambiance, aesthetics, and well-being, making it a truly harmonious pairing.  

The key benefits of incorporating plants into your restaurant décor 

More and more restaurants are using plants in their décor. This borrows from international trends, as well as the feeling of dining al fresco, which many people enjoy. Using plants brings so many benefits, and if you haven’t already considered using plants within your restaurant, some of the following may just convince you of their value: 

Give your guests a warm welcome

First impressions matter for anyone entering a restaurant. While they should be greeted by warm and friendly staff, you can make an impression before they even make it through the door. An entrance adorned with lush, well-maintained plants instantly sets a welcoming tone. It also communicates to visitors that they are about to embark on a unique culinary journey, where every detail has been considered. An attractive front can also help draw the eye from passers-by who will either be looking to make a walk-in reservation or remember you for a later date when they’re ready to dine.  

Add a touch of fresh air 

While there are plants for restaurant ambience, creating a stylish atmosphere, indoor plants do more than just decorate; they also purify the air. This is particularly valuable in a restaurant setting where good air quality is paramount. This not only enhances the dining experience but also promotes a healthier environment. Snake plants are particularly known for their air-purifying benefits, and talking to a landscaping expert can bring you further recommendations for plants that will help purify the air in your eatery.  

Dining with a view

Plants don’t just have to be used indoor to add some decoration. For those fortunate enough to have a restaurant with outdoor seating, plants can enhance the view. Lush foliage, colourful flowers, and well-placed trees can turn an ordinary outdoor dining area into a picturesque, al fresco escape. Dining amidst nature makes guests feel like they are enjoying a meal in a garden, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Many people would choose to eat outdoors when they’re on holiday or during the summer, and having some outdoor plants could be just what your restaurant needs to create a must-visit outdoor dining space. 

Create a natural sound barrier 

In restaurants with high ceilings and an open layout, noise levels can sometimes be a challenge. Plants, especially those with dense foliage, can act as natural sound barriers. They absorb sound and help to reduce echoes, creating a more comfortable dining environment. This is particularly important for intimate or romantic dining experiences. 

Divide your spaces creatively 

Plants can also be used to define and divide spaces within the restaurant. Instead of using traditional partitions, consider placing large potted plants strategically to create a sense of privacy and separation. This allows diners to enjoy their meals in a more secluded and intimate setting and can help you block some unwanted views if needed. 

Transform your restaurant with the seasons 

Different seasons bring different blooms and colours to the world of plants. Restaurants can use this to their advantage by rotating the types of plants they feature. This adds an element of seasonality to the dining experience, keeping the restaurant's look fresh and exciting throughout the year. You can add festive-themed plants for your Christmas décor or focus on summer florals and bright colours during the warmer months. Evergreen plants can provide an excellent blank canvas to help you mix up your plant décor throughout the year. 

Add affordable, attractive centrepieces 

To add an extra touch of elegance to the dining tables, small potted plants or fresh-cut flowers can be placed as centrepieces. These botanical accents not only contribute to aesthetics but also engage diners with nature in an up-close and personal way. They can even serve as conversation starters if you get creative with them! 

Help diners and employees reduce stress 

The presence of plants has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. In a restaurant, this translates to diners feeling more relaxed and at ease, making for a more enjoyable dining experience. The greenery creates a soothing atmosphere that complements the delicious food and excellent service. Eating out at a restaurant should be a treat, and this is one way you can help provide your guests with a memorable and positive experience. 

Make them a part of the recipe 

Restaurants can add an extra special element by incorporating plants and flowers into recipes. From fruit trees to aromatic blooms, different plant ingredients can be incorporated into dishes, providing diners with an authentic and vibrant culinary experience. 

Show off your green credentials 

Commitment to sustainability is important for businesses today. Customers care about it, and we can all play our part to doing more to help the environment. Using live plants in a restaurant's design not only adds aesthetic value but also communicates a commitment to sustainability. It resonates with diners who appreciate eco-friendly practices, making them feel good about their choice of dining establishment. 

Making plants work for your restaurant

Plants are incredibly versatile, and can elevate the ambiance of a restaurant, both indoors and outdoors. Incorporating them effectively, from living walls to hanging baskets, can be a game-changer. Let's delve into how to use these green additions to create an inviting and unforgettable dining atmosphere. 

Living walls 

Living walls, also known as vertical gardens, are a striking and innovative way to infuse life into your restaurant's interior. They consist of an array of plants growing vertically on a structure. Here's how to use them effectively: 

  • Select the right plants: Choose a mix of low-maintenance, air-purifying plants like ferns and succulents to make a great indoor living wall. Ensure they're suitable for indoor conditions. 
  • Lighting matters: Assess the available natural and artificial lighting. Plants on living walls require adequate light, so consider supplementary lighting if needed. 
  • Watering and maintenance: Implement a consistent watering and maintenance schedule to keep the living wall lush and vibrant. 
  • Strategic placement: Position the vertical wall in a focal area, such as near the entrance or in the main dining room, to captivate diners as soon as they step in. 

Indoor arrangements 

Incorporating potted plants and indoor arrangements can create a soothing and visually appealing atmosphere within the restaurant. 

  • Tabletop accents: Use small potted plants as centrepieces on dining tables to add a natural touch to each guest's experience. 
  • Aisle dividers: Strategically place larger potted plants to separate dining sections, offering a sense of privacy and exclusivity. 
  • Herb gardens: Consider a dedicated herb garden near the kitchen to provide a fresh supply of culinary herbs for your chefs. This not only adds a delightful aroma but also enhances a restaurant's farm-to-table concept. 

Outdoor arrangements 

Outdoor spaces are perfect for creating a serene dining experience where diners can enjoy elements of nature. Here's how to make the most of them: 

  • Seasonal variations: Rotate plant selections according to seasons. Spring and summer can feature colourful blooms, while autumn and winter might showcase hardy greenery. 
  • Pathway borders: Line walkways and pathways with well-maintained plants. This offers guests a scenic journey from the entrance to their dining area. 
  • Green roofs and pergolas: Incorporate plants in architectural features like green roofs or hanging planters from pergolas. These provide shade and visual appeal for outdoor seating areas. 
  • Water features: If space allows, consider incorporating water features like fountains and ponds, surrounded by aquatic plants. The sound of flowing water adds another tranquil note to the dining experience. 

Hanging baskets 

Hanging baskets are a space-efficient way to adorn both indoor and outdoor areas: 

  • For indoors: Hang plant baskets from ceiling hooks in the dining area. This adds a sense of height and depth to the space, making it more spacious and attractive. 
  • For outdoors: In outdoor seating areas, hanging baskets can create a lush, garden-like setting. They're perfect for small balconies and terraces. 

Maintaining your plants 

Plant maintenance is really important, especially if you’re going to choose real plants and some large-scale arrangements. Choosing a bespoke plant maintenance service like phs Greenleaf can ensure all of your plants are taken care of, helping to keep your restaurant looking its best while you focus on your customers’ needs. We offer a range of services from interior landscaping to outdoor plant displays and more, allowing you to enjoy a vertical garden and more beautiful arrangements that suit the theme of your restaurant and complement your space.  

Contact us to discuss our full range of services, ready to give your restaurant the perfect green makeover.  

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