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Hygge x Your Restaurant
It’s mid-February and it’s cold here in Canada. The days are still short, the nights are long and even though the official start of spring is a few weeks away, the actual start of spring (where you can ditch your winter toque) is actually a few months away.
Last August, my family and I explored Copenhagen, Denmark and were fascinated with its people and culture. Similar to Canada and the Northern United States, Denmark experiences long winters – with many hours of darkness. Instead, of hibernating through the long winter, the Danes embrace it with “hygge”.
“Hygge” is an untranslatable concept that encompasses togetherness. Examples include cozying up in the great indoors, enjoying time relaxing, and being surrounded by friends and family. Hygge is a feeling, a way of life, a wintertime warmth shared by firelight, under warm throws, over mugs of hot chocolate. Hygge is also a style, a way to make a place more inviting. You can easily make your restaurant more inviting by bringing some hygge in. This will help draw guests in and keep them coming back as repeat customers.
Here are some ways to add hygge to your restaurant:
Invest in candles
Per capita, the Danes are rumoured to be one of the largest consumers of candles in the world. There is evidence that they burn through about 13 lbs of candles per person every year. Candlelight creates a beautiful warm glow and can take away the Winter chill. If you decide to buy candles for your restaurant, make sure they are unscented candles so you don’t turn away those with scent sensitivities or allergies.
Make friends with plants
Scandinavians aren’t shy about their love affair with plants and there are good reasons why. Houseplants are the ultimate way to make a space appear inviting quickly and at a low cost. Plants purify indoor air and will allow your guests and staff to breathe easier. In addition, being around plants can significantly boost your mood, relieve aches and pains, and reduce stress.
If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry – there are many low maintenance plants that you can bring to your restaurant. Snake Plants, Spider Plants, Cactuses, Fiddleleaf Trees, Jade Plant are plants that are very easy to maintain. If you put them in moveable planters then you can change up where they are placed in the restaurant. If you are short on space, try small succulent gardens as table centerpieces.
Add texture to your space with throw blankets and pillows
In Denmark, it is common to see restaurants stash throws and pillows in a basket for guests to use if they are feeling chilly. These baskets are found indoors and also on outdoor patios. We ate a few meals outdoors and ended up using throws to keep our kids cozy and allowed us to continue to enjoy ourselves outside. Investing in throw blankets and pillows is much cheaper than bringing in heat lamps and also creates a more inviting experience for guests.
Add some hygge to your menu with shared plates
Bringing people together is a very important part of hygge. Why not add some family-style items to your menu to have your guest experience a cosy, family meal. Det Kolde Bord is a Danish-style cold buffet served with bread on special occasions. The idea is similar to the Swedish counterpart, the smörgåsbord. The food is brought to the dining table and passed around family-style. Traditionally, Det Kolde Bord consists of smoked fish, cold meats, salads, cheese, breads – but, use your cuisine as inspiration to create new small plates on your menu.