Themed gastronomy: How do you wow your guests?

Im Restaurant

Seriously: Because GALA is fed up with the boring restaurants and bars that can be found on every corner!

That’s why we’re taking you on a journey into the world of themed gastronomy. And show you how you can transform a visit into an adventure.

With 11 examples and ideas that are guaranteed to attract attention.

Definition: What is themed gastronomy?

It’s quite simple: themed gastronomy is eating and drinking coupled with entertainment. Restaurants, cafés, pubs and the like offer something special that goes beyond the “normal” customer experience.

In principle, it does not matter what form the special feature takes. The main thing is that it will be remembered as a unique experience. After all, the aim is not only to wow guests, but to set your gastronomic offering apart from the competition.

In general, there are two types of themed restaurants to be discerned:

  1. Passive: The surroundings make up the event. Guests simply have to eat or drink and enjoy the unfamiliar atmosphere.
  2. Active: The adventure is in taking part. While the food is being prepared, or during a show or other activities.

This becomes clearer when we take a look at real examples.

6 examples of themed gastronomy in Switzerland

There is unlimited scope for you to provide your guests with an unforgettable evening. Nevertheless, some typical categories do exist.

Passive: Themed Restaurants

In themed gastronomy, the interior design, menu and appearance match. Just like in sports bars, where the beer is served in stadium tankards and football is shown on TV. Or in the famous Hard Rock Cafés dedicated to rock music.

The experience stands and falls with the uniformity. The food is Hawaiian, but the décor screams IKEA? Then we are not talking about themed gastronomy, but just a normal restaurant.

Our two showcase projects address each of these themes right down to the last detail:

Restaurant Negishi with authentic Japanese interior design.
Restaurant Negishi with authentic Japanese interior design.

Negishi at Winterthur railway station has sushi to go in surroundings that reflect authentic Japanese food culture.

Kilo+Gramm store in converted slaughterhouse.
Kilo+Gramm store in converted slaughterhouse.

In the Kilo+Gramm store guests get to enjoy a meal in an old slaughterhouse. The interior design is reminiscent of its previous life — except for the smell, of course.

Passive: Exciting Location

You have access to a truly special lot? Then make the most of the situation!

Like Restaurant Piz Gloria situated on the almost 10,000 feet high Mount Schilthorn. It is situated on a rotating platform so that guests can take advantage of the brilliant panoramic view of the Alps. Guests rotate 360 degrees in 45 minutes.

Passive: On-Stage Show or at the Table

Watch and enjoy: the motto of show gastronomy. Artists provide entertainment between or during the different courses. This often involves comedy, music or theater.

A show that combines everything in one colorful evening takes place regularly at the Pink Rabbit in Zurich.

Passive: Live Cooking

Guests get to watch the pros cook in open kitchens. The food preparation serves as the show here. The more spectacular the flames, the louder the sizzling and the sleeker the movements, the more potent the experience.

Japanese Hibachi restaurants have perfected this principle. Here the chefs prepare the dishes right in front of the guests on a hot plate. To be seen, for example, in Fujiya in Zurich.

Active: ‘Whodunit’ Dinners

Now we come to the part about active themed gastronomy. “Whodunit” dinners are now very popular. The guests get to play a part in a criminal case. One guest is the murderer or thief, the others have to unmask the perpetrator. The game master serves up new clues with each course.

One such provider is, which organizes events throughout Switzerland.

Active: Assisting in the Preparation

Preparing the food together can also be an experience. A chef shows the guests a few practical tricks, tells them about their day-to-day life working in the kitchen — and in the end, everyone enjoys the home-cooked meal together.

In the ‘alten Brennerei’, the old distillery in Solothurn, for example, guests get to brew their own beer. That lots of quality samples are taken goes without saying.

GALA Brainstorms: 5 Ideas That Are Guaranteed Not to Exist Yet

Want to open a themed restaurant, but are still looking for inspiration? Our ideas definitely attract attention. And if you let us handle your interior design, you don’t even have to pay us a percentage…

  • Restaurants in the year 2222: Here, robots not only prepare and serve the dishes, but also keep the guests company. Each table has a digital conversation partner who chats about God and the world with the help of AI.
  • Escape Restaurant: Five rooms, five courses. Only those who solve all the riddles succeed in getting through to the dessert. The rest just starves!
  • Influencer Café: Here the guests pay by leaving positive posts. The more followers a guest has, the more they can afford. And anyone who dances the name of the café on TikTok wins a piece of cake.
  • Brain teaser bar: Like a sports bar. But instead of football or boxing, you have are chess, sudoku and spelling bees.
  • Café Weightless: Here you eat cake from a tube like an astronaut. The waiter simply pours the coffee into the weightless room which the guests are floating around in.

The potential is limitless here!

Trend or future?

Is it still worth opening a themed restaurant?

GALA prophesies: Yes. Market niche! The phenomenon is already widespread in North America and Asia. But in Switzerland only a few restaurants of this type exist — and hardly any successful chains.

The fact that people long for more experiences, however, is already evident in other phenomena. For example, escape rooms, which are springing up everywhere. Offices with ball pits and table soccer. Or pop-up stores that sell their products in anything but traditional ways.

No wonder: Distinctive places will be…
…often recommended
…shared more on Instagram
…preferred over boring alternatives
…visited more again in the future

Storytelling works, even in gastronomy. But only if you do it right.

What do you need to be successful in entertainment hospitality?

  1. Delicious food and drink. Your guests are guaranteed to go home full and happy besides all the bells and whistles. A top show doesn’t make up for bad cooking.
  2. An idea that is incendiary. A themed restaurant about different electric socket standards hasn’t been opened yet, because only few would be interested.
  3. The right interior design. Your space has to mirror the story you are trying to tell. GALA can help you with this.