Fine Dining Analysis: Cafe Pinot, Downtown Los Angeles Signage
Analyze the restaurant from Three Perspectives
Restaurant is quiet, dimly lit.
Soft classical music plays in the background.
Restaurant goers are over-40 mostly and conservatively and elegantly dressed.
Wait-staff wear full uniforms, which are vintage style.
Fine china, silver, and fine silver tea services are used throughout.
f. Interior has vintage molding, vintage fixtures and large plate glass windows.
When I first encountered the sights and sounds that filled the interior of the restaurant, I felt largely overcome by a sense of elegance, elegance that was delivered in a very soothing feel. I felt this way because the restaurant is able to deliver such a remarkable and distinct experience immediately: one feels as though one has entered a different era, and that one is being pleasantly swallowed up by a strong sense of grandeur and loveliness.
I felt as though I was in Paris in the 1920s. There was a very sophisticated feel, and the lighting helped to echo that strongly. The lighting was very dim, with small candles in vintage holders on the table. The mouldings were vintage, with dark wood fixtures everywhere and dark wood paneling. This effect made the entire restaurant feel like a bistro in Paris. Red velvet booths lined the walls of the restaurant, creating an even heightened effect of coziness and elegance. There was fine art which lined the walls, framed in gilt frames that looked vintage and a little shabby chic. In fact, the restaurant intentionally made the chandeliers look slightly shabby ad mismatched, so as to create an overall feel of vintage -- along with instilling the restaurant with a quiet, unknown feeling.
Thus, the restaurant was able to make you feel as though you had stepped into a time machine and transported throughout time and space to the past and to a part of Paris that existed only fleetingly.
C. Gut Level Experiences
As a first time customer, my feeling was that of wonder and enjoyment. I was able to sufficiently soak up the sense of originality and uniqueness that the restaurant offered time and again. I felt like I understood the look and experience that they were trying to achieve, and that I was able to appreciate it. Staying off the roller coaster meant that I was able to have a non-chaotic experience and that I was able to pace my dining experience as a I saw fit. The restaurant was very prompt with my service, but I never felt like they were overly prompt, which would have made them seem insecure. In fact, my waiter never asked me if everything was all right, he merely kept following up on whether or not there was anything else I needed or that he could get me to make my dining experience completely favorable. It is indeed true that everyone wants a window table: when I arrived they were all taken and I asked if I could have one: they were able to accommodate me by providing me with a booth in the back by the corner. It was cozy and intimate and while there was no window, I felt like they were able to provide me with something special.
It is indeed true that one can't manufacture caring: thus, this restaurant was able to create an authentic experience of desiring: they made it clear that they desired that I have a positive experience, but they weren't so caught up in hoping that this happened that it created an experience which was insecure and riddled with a desperate desire to please. There were no barriers of service; everything was fluid. The moments of my dining experience which belonged firmly in the "hall of fame" were absolutely moments when I felt like my waiter was anticipating my every need. All I had to do was look upwards when I needed something, and he was promptly there to find out what he could do to make my dining experience more pleasurable.
Sequence of Customer Experience
A. Background Information
1. Logo: Cafe Pinot: Artistically done.
2. Print, radio: None
3. Social Media: Facebook, that's all
B. Phone Call
When I called I found that they accept reservations, so I made one. I asked for directions even though I didn't need any and they provided them to me. The directions that they gave were very easy to follow.
2. Accessibility: very accessible
The location was accessible by both car and public transportation, off of one of the metro line stops.
D. Outside of Restaurant
2. Parking lot / valet: valet
3. Exterior appearance
The signage for the restaurant was very small, and only visible from one side of the restaurant. However, not having very visible signage seemed like that was part of the overall intention of the restaurant. The restaurant wanted to appear more secluded and it succeeded: this was in part because of the fact that a gorgeous park sort of covered one side of the restaurant. This provided this part of the restaurant with a stunning view, while creating a sense of seclusion.
F. Dining Room
1. Decor: Vintage decor, with velvet booths and antique appointments.
2. Traffic Flow: Low
3. Light Level: low
4. Quiet / Noise Level / Music: Low
5. Ventilation: Low
6. Room Temperature: ideal
7. Comfort: high
8. Relaxation: high
As already stated, the decor in the dining room is stunning, creating a distinct vintage feel, and making all patrons feel as though they had stepped into the past arena of Paris in the 1920s. The traffic flow was almost unnoticeable: this was because most patrons dined for several hours, sitting at their booths for long periods of time. The light level and music level was low, with a high level of ventilation. The room temperature was perfect, not too warm or chilly, with strong air flow. All of these elements, in conjunction with the aesthetic charms of the restaurant made it very compelling.
G. Tabletop Appointments
1. Silverware: antique
2. Dishware: antique
3. Glassware: antique, crystal
4. Seasonings / Condiments: salt and pepper grinders, Paris antiques
5. Physical Menu and Wine List / Beverage Menu: leather-bound, parchment paper
6. Other Table Top Areas: small display of Parisian antiques and memorabilia from Paris in the 1920s.
Cafe Pinot was able to effectively harness all of these elements in conjunction to create a strong and cohesive image of the restaurant as being this fabulous, unknown relic from the 1920s. This was able to create a powerful presentation of the restaurant as a culmination of class and artistry. They were able to create a truly dynamic space which made each customer feel like they had been granted entry to being part of the in-crowd in Paris in the 1920s.
H. Food and Beverage
1. Quality: high
2. Presentation: original
The restaurant was run by a celebrity chef, one who studied the art of Parisian cooking for 20 years before coming to America. Celebrity chefs like this one are able to attract attention and esteem to a restaurant, while keeping the standards high. Furthermore, the restaurant flies in nearly half of their ingredients from Paris, to give the entire culinary experience a higher level of authenticity when possible.
Moreover, the restaurant has taken extra time in attempting to use as many authentically antique accessories and items for presentation as possible. For instance, many of the wines are served in these authentic wine casks. Whenever the restaurant owners can't find a vintage item, they have reproduction ordered. For instance, the butter dishes are silver reproductions which are made to look vintage but are actually brand new: they are charmingly in the shape of clams. All of these elements harmoniously work together to create an appearance of Parisian charm.
I. Quality of Service
1. Friendliness: appropriate
2. Seating Process: immediate
3. Technique: formal, but not stuffy.
4. Promptness: prompt
5. Attentiveness: high
6. Professional Attire: uniforms
7. Staff Cleanliness: high
8. Rest Rooms and Kitchen
The quality of service in the restaurant was extremely high. As I explained earlier, the waiters were prompt, but without acting overly doting. This is important because, customers tend to value service over food quality. "Service-related complaints outnumber food-related issues by at least 10 to 1. I never hear gripes about congealed sauces, scorched beans or drab presentations -- but indifferent, unobservant and rude service sets people's blood a-boiling and their fingers a-typing" (Vettel, 2008). However, this restaurant did not have anything to worry about: the service was treated as an extension of their decor, as it should be. The service of the restaurant needs to be treated as if it is simply another extension of the overall appearance of the restaurant. It needs to be viewed as part of its image.
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