Quirky Restaurant Trends that Worked

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When was the last time you heard about a restaurant and said, “I have to try that!” Not necessarily because of the food (even though their food might have sounded perfectly delicious), but because of the theme. Maybe there was a real-life diver who jumped from cliffs while you munched on appetizers. Perhaps a fully-donned clown made balloon animals while you ate. You might have even been insulted by the staff as part of the dining experience. (Believe it or not, all of the above continue to serve as thriving eateries around the country, and beyond.)

Whatever the hook, it got you and reeled you in, causing you and countless others to simply need to eat at this establishment. Simply because of their unique and “it” factor. When something is different, we just have to try it. (Until it’s too different and we’re running for the hills.) A concept all restaurant owners should become familiar with – whether in franchising or sizing up the competition.

Check out some of these quirky, yet successful restaurant trends that still thrive today.

Rotating Dinner
Who wants a good view when you can have a 360-degree version of it? Restaurants across the world offer a rotating dining area so viewers can see the sights all the way around. A pod that moves slowly enough to not cause motion sickness, but still allow diners an around-the-horn sight in a single meal. Generally, stairs or walkways are marked so guests (and servers) can find their way through each bit of spinning.

Cabbage and Condoms, Thailand
If you think the name is weird, that’s only the beginning. This establishment, named under the premise that birth control should “be as cheap as vegetables,” names its dishes after rubbers (who wants to try the spicy condom salad?) and is decorated with more than 40,000 condoms. Even incorporating different styles from across the globe. Eaters also receive free condoms on their way out the door.

The Safe House, Wisconsin
Reignite the password-toting frenzy from your past with this interesting eatery. Not only does it have a hidden alley entrance, guests must correctly name a password before entering. There are also secret passages and doors throughout, which are artfully navigated by each of the staff, dressed in cold war fare. Come for the atmosphere and stay for dinner and a unique adventure.

Train-Based Restaurants
They may be more crowded than your average restaurant, but folks love eating in trains. They can be found all across the country, oftentimes near a railroad station for added historical ambiance. What likely helps these restaurants to succeed is that they can offer all types of meals while still hosting the same train-based fun. Some even go all out and host waiters in conductor gear, or serve train-shaped menus.

All types of restaurants have been able to find success with their quirky themes in tow. Look to these and other unique aspects when franchising for a way to take advantage of customer intrigue.

Hopefully all this "talk" about quirky and interesting food-based businesses has excited you about owning your own franchise.   Search our great selection of food franchise opportunities and find several to explore further! We wish you all the best - bon appetit!

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By Matt Maxwell | August 11, 2015 | Food Franchise Blog