OREANDA-NEWS. More and more themed restaurants have opened in the city of Hefei, Anhui province, recently.

Competition among themed restaurants has become fierce. The unique decorations of themed restaurants attract many diners. These restaurants don't serve meals in the traditional way, but focus more on experiences and feelings.

Iconic names, personalized decorations, dishes and service are important to diners. In fact, themed restaurants are not only a place to eat, but also a place for people with similar interests to meet.

A person responsible for a themed restaurant in Hefei said, "Diners in our restaurant not only have meals, but read books and enjoy music programs. They can have delicious food, read a good book or make new friends here."

The main customers are people born in the 1980s or 1990s. Many young people like to surf the Internet while eating. This is another reason why themed restaurants are popular.

"Our customers are basically 18 to 35 years old. We mainly market through microblogs and WeChat," a shopkeeper from a themed restaurant in Hefei said.

Experts say that themed restaurants should not get off topic. To ignore food and service is to put the cart before the horse. Themed restaurants attract many diners. However, many customers feel the dishes, prices and even the culture of themed restaurant are unsatisfying.

"A themed restaurant should have a very clear theme. It's better to choose a theme that is familiar to the public, so most people can accept it. If the theme focuses on a small group, the restaurant may encounter development bottlenecks." An insider of the catering industry in Hefei told a reporter from Xin'an Evening News that theme selection is very important.

An improper theme may hurt restaurant development. A cat-themed restaurant that was once warmly received in Hefei encountered the above situation. When the cats had problems, the operation of the restaurant was influenced. Some animation-themed restaurants suffered the same problem.

Whether operations at restaurants are influenced or not depends on the consumption capacity of the group. Most importantly, quality and service should not be ignored. Pang Biao, an insider who has managed a themed restaurant for a long time in Hefei, said that themed restaurants in Hefei will follow two trends in the future. "One is that foreign-themed restaurants will open in Hefei. The other is that local-themed restaurants are developing and occupying the dominant position in the industry."

Pang Biao also agreed that many themed restaurants focused only on the theme, but neglected the dishes and the service. These restaurants put the cart before the horse and will only be popular for a short period of time.

Zhang Guangmin, deputy secretary general of the Hefei Catering & Cooking Industry Association, believes that themed restaurants have both advantages and disadvantages. “The advantage is that the restaurant has a theme that may be popular in the short term. The disadvantage is that it may get the cold shoulder later. Curious diners are attracted by the environment of the themed restaurant and ignore the dishes at first, so business may be busy. However, after the novelty wears off, business will decline. As a result, themed restaurants should not only pay attention to the environment, but should consider the dishes and the service as a whole.”