The theme is: restaurants. And what sort of ideas work best with restaurants looking to grow their clientele base and increase revenue – without spending an arm and a leg on renovations.

If you’ve got a restaurant and you’re looking to put a unique spin on your space to attract bigger business, there are some excellent options out there. If you know where to look. Fortunately, we’ve put together our favorite fifteen.

1. Make it karaoke

Flip the script and turn your restaurant into a karaoke restaurant. Why? Why not? Who doesn't love karaoke?

Karaoke bars are already a thing – and people love them. But a karaoke restaurant is a truly unique way to increase revenue and build a major buzz throughout town.

By turning your venue into a karaoke hotspot, you can capitalize on the growing eatertainment and competitive socializing trend, earning an extra stream of income by feeding the hungry guests AND satisfying the ones who want to get up on stage and belt out ballads. After all, the longer guests stick around to sing, the more money they'll spend on food and drinks.

Adding karaoke elements can be very cost-effective and any expenses made on sound equipment or layout redesigns will easily pay for themselves very quickly. Check out how Tampa’s Gangchu Chicken & Beer and O’Learys in Sweden have made a success with this concept. If you are interested in getting started with karaoke check out Singa, they have solutions for all sorts of venues and can help you get started.

2. Try something purr-fect

Cat cafés are all the rage in Japan. So why not bring the theme a bit closer to home? These types of concept eateries are like catnip (get it?) to those looking for a chill space to curl up with a book and sip a hot coffee while kitties roam around, free-range style, searching for nuzzles. In New York City, spaces like Brooklyn Cat Cafe and Meow Parlour are renowned for their menus and their mascots.

While certainly a hit-or-miss idea for those with pet allergies, a cat café is the easiest theme to tackle if you’ve already got an existing space. Just forge ahead and bring in some docile and sociable furry friends and make cleanliness a priority – and you should expect to see some increased revenue.

3. Add some mystery

There’s obviously great value in promoting a restaurant in order to gain more customers. But what about adding an air of mystery to your business and leaving it to audiences to come and find your space? Hidden restaurants are becoming all the rage – like Frevo in NYC, the entrance to which is hidden behind a painting in an art gallery; or Please Don’t Tell, which is secretly located at the back of a phone booth in a hot dog joint. Everybody loves a gimmick, and if your business can manage the marketing very well, a secret or hard-to-find restaurant becomes popular (and therefore, profitable) with those who like to feel like they’ve entered some super-exclusive eatery.

4. Pay a tribute

A restaurant that is dedicated to the memory of a loved one is sweet. A restaurant that is dedicated to the memory of a famous person, or people, is just crazy. But usually in a good way (imagine Graceland but as a diner). This kind of theme can really allow a business owner to put together something truly unique – and the bigger the tribute act, the more dedicated and sought-after your customer base could potentially be.

Poe’s Tavern in South Carolina pays homage to Edgar Allan Poe; meanwhile, there’s an ABBA-themed Greek restaurant in London that is still the talk of the town.

5. A Hollywood-inspired hotspot

A Hollywood-inspired dinner.

Planet Hollywood was one of the most famous eateries to cash in on this unique (for the time) business plan in the 1990s. Featuring movie star memorabilia hanging from every corner and real-life celebrities showing up to grab a booth and a burger while signing some autographs, Planet Hollywood was THE place to be. And given our love of nostalgia over here in the 21st century, it’s time for a redo of this idea.

Try outfitting your restaurant or bar space with décor that pays homage to the movies or television shows of your preference. Need some inspiration? Venues inspired by shows like The Golden Girls and Seinfeld, and movies like Star Wars and Beetlejuice, have left their mark all over the country and brought in throngs of nostalgia-loving crowds (and big business) over the years.

6. Make it a movie night

Movie related decorations.

Speaking of films, why not combine them with food? A restaurant with a great menu inside a venue that holds a massive screen where guests can watch classic or cult-classic movies at the same time?

People love to kick back and catch a flick – in fact, more and more theaters are adding munchies to their menus outside of popcorn and candy. Burgers, nachos, pizzas, and beer…the format has certainly changed a lot since the drive-in. By turning your restaurant into a pseudo-cinema of your own, you can cater to those who value good food and comfortable, non-movie-theater seating while making minimal renovations and limiting spending.

7. Paint it green

People sharing and eating a salad at a restaurant.

Eco-friendly dining options are growing in popularity and for obvious reasons. Diners nowadays are always on the hunt for sustainable eats in restaurants that offer farm-to-table ingredients, repurposed furnishings, zero food waste, and other green initiatives.

These types of restaurants do well in both urban and rural areas, and in some cases, such businesses can apply for environmental grants and incentives to put towards renovations.

8. Go dark

Dining in the dark? Believe it or not, some people are really into the idea. Especially those who are visually impaired, as it makes for an inclusive option, and one that is sure to be unforgettable either way.

Billed as an extrasensory dining experience, O.Noir in Toronto invites customers in and seats them before turning out all of the lights and continuing with dinner service. As wild a notion as that may seem, the menu and the experience have been very well received by food critics and customers alike. And while implementing a layout like this certainly comes with its share of safety risks, the costs associated with turning an existing space into a dark space would be mostly negligible.

9. Turn off the charm

A waiter acting rude at a restaurant.

A relatively new (and strangely intriguing) concept in dining is the idea of having deliberately grouchy waitstaff serving food to the amusement of customers who are in on the bit. This idea might take a lot of marketing to pull off, but if done correctly, your space could really be a must-see destination for adventurous eaters.

Arguably the restaurant that started it all, Karen’s Diner bills itself a destination for “great burgers and very rude service” on account of the waiters and waitresses who are paid to treat you like dirt. Honestly, it shouldn’t work – but it really does. So much so that there are multiple Karen Diner locations around the world.

10. Give your space some space

They say that space is the final frontier. But what if it’s also the newest concept for your eatery? Put a futuristic spin on dining by mimicking the menus and atmosphere of places like OffWorld in Toronto, which feature celestial-inspired cocktails, apocalyptic décor and dedicated staff who make visitors feel like their chowing down on another planet. The look is hyper-realistic but totally serious.

Invest in some modern, modular furnishings, and some fluorescent purple lightbulbs, and get your staff to commit to the script when ushering guests from the door to their table. The future of dining has never looked so futuristic.

11. Pop up somewhere

A pop up restaurant and cafe.

Just starting as a business? Consider a pop-up dining experience that establishes you and your menu as a major presence in town. And then take it to the next town.

Pop-up restaurants are all the rage and have been for years because they allow audiences to savor new and inventive menus AND it gives restaurateurs the flexibility to share their food with people in different regions – and without many of the hassles associated with building rental prices and mortgage rates. Pop-up eateries can appear in subsidized retail locations, market halls, or as food trucks. In fact, chances are you've eaten the best tacos of your life from a food truck that was operating as a temporary space until the owner had the word-of-mouth attention and funds to establish a brick-and-mortar location. Pop-ups really did that!

12. Switch up the cuisine

Another simple restaurant theme that can greatly increase revenue, the idea of a venue serving different types of cuisine on different nights is catching on in some areas of the country. Now, we don't mean having one chef working Monday to Friday, and a different weekend chef putting their individual twists on the same menu – we're talking Sushi Tuesdays, Thai Thursdays, and Vietnamese Fridays.

If you want to turn your space into the talk of the town, rotating cuisines could be the ticket to gaining significant income without making any major renovations or layout changes.

13. Ditch the tips

A top jar at a restaurant.

Regardless of where you stand on the tipping debate, many eateries are shifting toward tip-less dining as a theme in order to attract guests who either don’t have a lot of disposable income (but still want to go out for dinner once in a while), or vehemently oppose the concept of gratuity. It’s a hot-button issue, but tipless dining definitely has an audience, and there are plenty of those willing to patronize a place that takes the pressure off adding 25% to the bill.

This is another theme that doesn’t require any labor or renovation work – just an established understanding among waitstaff that includes greater hourly compensation.

14. Get interactive

A dinner show where the woman is killing is strangling a man while another plays a violin.

Whatever happened to dinner theater? It still exists, of course, but in numbers nowhere near as large during the height of its popularity in the 1980s and 1990s.

If you’ve got the space to host a restaurant that includes a show – whether it’s a live theater performance, a murder mystery, or some other interactive viewing experience––then you can likely make a killing with nostalgia-starved crowds looking to be entertained. These types of businesses tend to work best in small- to medium-sized areas where cultural experiences are few and far between.¨

15. Unplug and indulge

Not necessarily a major theme, but one that includes some seriously forward-thinking ideas. More and more, restaurants (like Hearth in NYC) are encouraging guests to turn off their devices when at the table and engage with their party, or at least with their surroundings. It's a novel concept – and one that might leave Gen Z audiences panicking – but an eatery that not only discourages phone use but temporarily holds guests' devices in a safe space for the duration of their meal, might just be the way of the future. We certainly love the idea.