Restaurants really need to decide what their theme is- and STICK to them. Indian restaurants are notorious for having theme confusion.
Usually what happens is that there is a confusion between fine dining and fast food. The walls of the Indian restaurant will be painted with a rich red paint and will have gaudy ornaments. The lighting and host counter will suggest a fine dining experience. However, the tables and chairs will suggest a more fast food theme.
The food is generally good at these places, but they they do not welcome diverse audiences. To be more specific. Imagine a place called "Royal India". The name suggests fine dining.
You try the food- it is good, but the whole time you feel that there is something off. The booths, chairs, and tables look a little cheap. You see broken chairs in the corner. These places exist- and it frustrates me. HOW can you make such good food- but scare people away because of your confusing interior design?
I ask this restaurant and restaurants like this- PLEASE DECIDE. What are you? What is your theme? Are you fine dining- casual dining- or fast food? Please do not confuse your customers. Price according to what type of dining you are.
If you're going to sell $12-15 dishes, please make sure you reflect that.
Here is a spectrum I found that works. It easily explains the solution to the dilemma that I'm talking about. I call it the Chinese Food Spectrum. It can be understood by examining (and possibly eating at) these three restaurants:
The No-Name Restaurant (probably in a grocery store) ---> Panda Express. Pei Wei. P.F. Chang's. ----> A local restaurant that is obscenely expensive that attracts people from all over the world.
The no name restaurant is usually the cheapest of your options. The food taste is either really good or really terrible... and there is a chance of food poisoning.
Panda Express is clearly fast food. It's kind of grungy, pretty unhealthy, and can be a grab-and-go. Can be found in malls.
Pei Wei is more of a casual dining experience. You probably won't find it in a mall. The food is a little tastier, and a little more expensive.
P.F. Chang's is a slightly nicer dining experience. They have waiters and waitresses, and the food is priced accordingly.
There are some nicer restaurants after this and finally we get to...
The local restaurant that is obscenely priced and attracts people from around the world (for some reason). The food here may not be as great as the less expensive. Really you're paying for the ambiance, presentation, and service.
So please, stick to a theme and run with it. Do not confuse and then scare your customers away!
I know I'm picking on Indian restaurants at the moment, but there are other cuisines that do this as well. It's so frustrating living in a world where good food goes undiscovered - and bad food gets celebrated.