SunsetAs everyone knows atmosphere plays a big role in the success of any restaurant. Atmosphere seals the fate of any dining experience. People don’t eat at expensive restaurants solely for the cuisine. They want an experience. They want something to talk to their co-workers about on Monday.

Last weekend my wife and I went out with some friends to eat at Red Rock Canyon Grill, which is located on the banks of Lake Hefner. They serve a Southwest/American cuisine that is delicious, and are best known for their wood-fire roasted chicken. Red Rock knows their chicken melts in your mouth like butter and they use this knowledge to their advantage and have made it part of the overall experience. In a back corner of the restaurant the whole fire roasting process can be seen, as the chickens are roasted over a massive wood fire. Fire roasting chicken over an open flame isn’t anything new, but the way Red Rock does it, something sticks.

My favorite part of our dinner at Red Rock, and what impressed me most, was something that is done every night at the same time. The back balcony of the restaurant faces west and each evening at sunset there is a celebration. As soon as the sun sets waiters clap and whistle, those dining raise their glasses and cheer. It’s something simple, it’s something free, and something that works. As the sun goes down the energy of Red Rock rises.

I don’t know how much thought went into planning this sunset celebration, but I think the whole concept is genius. Not only does it add to Red Rock’s image, but I’m sure it adds to the restaurant’s overall profits each night. The sun sets at roughly 5:20 each night, which leaves those wishing to partake in the festivities getting to the restaurant much earlier than they normally would. Most restaurants don’t get busy until about 7pm. I’ve concluded that this gives Red Rock approximately 2 extra hours of business at what I’ll call full capacity.

This just goes to show you that often time the simplest ideas and solutions produce the biggest results.