There is a particular culture and camaraderie among people who make restaurants run. They recognize and believe in the importance of feeding guests while making sure all are comfortable and sufficiently entertained.
Once this is established, patrons do what they came to do: solve the world's problems with friends while eating and drinking, make business deals, watch the game, observe the goings-on and be a part of them. Providing the right
environment to accomplish these daily feats means a delicate balance of food, music, and visual stimuli.
This month we open the doors to a number of restaurants, clubs, and hotels to see what it is that's creating the atmosphere. There are particular choices made by integrators upon discussion with clients to determine the appropriate audio and video gear necessary to accomplish- and be future-ready for-all that's required to create a certain feeling. These intangible feelings are the ones that let you know down to your toes once you've
stepped inside a place that this is the right one.
Those good vibes don't just happen by accident. The atmosphere requires a proper greeting when you walk in that is specific to the venue. That could be a subtle nod from a bartender, an enthusiastic hostess waiting to seat you,
or a posh acknowledgment of arrival from someone who lets you know you're lucky to be seated in such an exclusive spot. Aside from the human element, the atmosphere means an established system and planned scheme of music, lighting, interior design, and random chotchkies.
The concept of gathering for a meal is pretty ancient. The concept of making a place look inviting enough has also been established in a variety of ways around the world through the ages. What the modern world has brought to the table is the concept that the particular look and feel in one establishment can be reproduced in another or 100 more. This way a Parisian café can be reproduced in Denver. Of course what drives the concept home is what food is being served and what is hanging on the walls. But with the luxury and magic of proper audio and video placement, you can feel
like you're really there.
What's described in the Snapshots this month are recipes to cook the right atmosphere for a particular job-whether it's a posh Manhattan club like The Manor (page 44) or a downhome-style barbeque like Lucille's (page 62) or a quick lunch like at Subway (page 48).
Hotels take this concept of atmosphere to a much more grand scale. The historic Plaza Hotel in New York City (page 36) is undergoing a huge installation whereby the landmark is converting a few floors to luxury condos. What makes them uxurious are the audio and video amenities made possible by the latest technologies.
Also in this issue we continue to study the magic of digital signage. With digital signage approaching the saturation level in terms of placement in hospitality venues, it is notable these days to come upon a new bar or restaurant with no digital signage at all. For such an establishment,
it is a deliberate choice- something like an acoustic set for the metal band that is pretty much every new restaurant and bar opened in the last five years.
Since the screens are on the list of priorities for new places opening up, along with the liquor and the ice machine, it's important to be aware of the specific trends in the screens themselves such as networking (page 66) but also awareness of how these screens work in the room in terms of placement and angles. Michael Heiss maps it all out on page 67.