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Restaurant owners need to know how diners choose where to eat. Understanding customer psychology can increase revenue and help owners create effective marketing campaigns. Restaurants can’t reach their full profit potential without understanding these four factors diners use when choosing where to eat.

Health and Safety

Diners don’t want to eat anywhere with health and safety violations. According to Food & Wine, previous code violations are the biggest reason diners avoid a restaurant. That’s because diners don’t want to pay for a bad experience or end up with food poisoning after a night out. Owners should ensure kitchen managers are prioritizing cleanliness and following local health guidelines to avoid a negative review from a surprise health inspection. Most health departments want to work with businesses. An inspector can visit sites and offer suggestions to improve safety standards.

Quality of Food

Why head to a restaurant if the food doesn’t taste good? Diners want high-quality food. It’s better to pull an item from the menu if one of the ingredients has expired than to offer up a substandard dish. Diners can forgive a restaurant for running out of something. They’ll never forget a bad meal.


Another major factor in determining where to eat is the cost of the meal. The average diner doesn’t have $500 or even $50 to spend on a single meal. Most customers want an affordable, delicious meal. Owners should make sure regular menu items are in-line with competitors’ prices and consider the value of repeat business from loyal customers versus one-off dinners for special events.


It’s the most important part of real estate: location, location, location. Customers don’t want to go out of their way for an average dining experience. That means owners need to deliver something extraordinary or choose a good location — in an ideal world, an owner will do both. Walkability, location to sporting venues and large shopping centers and road access should all be considered when choosing a restaurant site.
A good restaurant can bring in millions of dollars over its lifetime. A bad store — one with health and safety issues, low-quality food or a poor location — can lead its owners to bankruptcy.