The philosophy of feng shui dates back to ancient China, and focuses on how the flow of energy – or chi – can influence our daily lives. If an environment’s energy flow is hindered or blocked, it can have a negative effect on our wellbeing – ultimately resulting in a discontented atmosphere. Feng shui expert, Charlotte Haynes, explains how utilising feng shui in hospitality spaces can improve morale, productivity and profitability …
We are all ultimately motivated to do something by how we think it will make us feel, and this includes how we choose to spend money and where we choose to spend it. Naturally, hospitality venues deliberately develop a particular atmosphere with their decor, branding, food and service to attract the type of customers they want.
However, now that profitability, margins and customer numbers are under pressure for many businesses, some are turning to the ancient art and science of feng shui and the active management of energy flow to increase their success.
Feng shui is widely practised in Asia as a way of optimising a space so that people and businesses thrive, and in the West many high profile companies and individuals use it as well. We can all pick up on the energy of a building whether we realise it or not, and how the venue feels influences our decision to visit it. Feng shui helps to balance a space so that it is more inviting – making customers and staff feel more positive about their experiences there.
When a hotel, bar or restaurant is not optimised in this way, there tends to be problems with profitability, cashflow, lack of customers or a poor profile. It can also depress staff morale, and result in a higher number of customer complaints. Many of these issues can be simply remedied at very little cost with some feng shui expertise and a practitioner’s sensitivity to where energy is blocked in a particular business.
Feng shui can be very complicated, but here are some simple tips for a more successful business.
First impressions count. Make sure that the entrance is well lit, clean and with clear signage – it must be inviting and clear of obstructions. Paintwork needs to be fresh, and dead plants and out-of-date information and clutter removed. People are wary at an instinctual level when they go somewhere for the first time, and you want a customer to feel that they know where to go and what you are offering.
Bring the outdoors in
Healthy plants with dark green and rounded leaves are welcoming, and make the entrance obvious where appropriate. Green plants can also increase prosperity if put in areas associated with business growth – ie the east or south-east of the building. Sharp-leafed plants can make people feel more on edge at an instinctual level and more argumentative, and should therefore be avoided.
Make sure that everything works
Maintenance is crucial – doors that stick or open in a confusing way make it more difficult for customers to get in, and the quality of paintwork is as important as cleanliness. Dripping taps should be mended as soon as possible.
A warm welcome
At first contact, the customer should feel welcomed, know where to go and feel relaxed. Good lighting, welcoming colours and smiling staff are essential.
Find comfort in large spaces
Large rooms should be lit so that you can see the back of the room, and convex and normal mirrors can be used to make a whole area feel more inviting. Carpets that have a pattern that can act as a path from the door to back of the room help to make large basement rooms easier to navigate.
Adjust the seating
If a customer has their back to the room when sitting down, they will be instinctually stressed unless they can see behind them. To solve this issue, mirrors can be used to help the customer relax and ensure that they stay longer. The best seats always face into a room with their back against a wall, so that the customer can see the doors and windows. Try sitting in all the seats in your venue to see how you feel in each one, then adjust the seating as appropriate.
Remove any sense of stress
Areas in which people are working under pressure – such as kitchens – or parts of a restaurant where customers complain, can build up stagnant emotional energy. Notice where the people who complain sit and change the arrangement of the chairs if you can.
By placing a small dish of sea salt anywhere there have been disagreements – with the intention of absorbing any negativity – can be very effective at changing the pattern of behaviour. The salt should be thrown away after five days, into a drain off the premises, and the process should be repeated if necessary. A good spring clean can also help change the pattern of energy.
Your profile will increase effortlessly if images of all the things you would like to promote are put in the south with red frames.
Build your profits
Silver and shiny metal objects in the west are helpful for bringing in money and completing projects.
Be bold with colour
Colours and imagery are crucial for changing the overall mood of the venue. A feng shui solution for increased wealth is to put dark green objects or plants in the south-east, or a fountain in the east or south-east. Silver in the west will help to bring in more money, while silver used in the north-west helps to improves cashflow. Using more silver and gold in the design scheme can enable you to charge more and attract wealthier customers.
Earthy tones, such as yellows and terracotta, and low-level seating – particularly in the south-west – will help to build quality relationships. Pink and sunset colours in the west make people feel more creative and playful, while imagery of nature or the colour green will make customers more relaxed.
Yellow can help to stimulate conversation, while blue tends to make people calmer. Red will help make people feel more expressive and passionate, but can encourage anger. Orange stimulates the appetite and sexual energy, while pink helps people feel more romantic, loved and nurtured.
About Charlotte Haynes
Charlotte Haynes helps businesses to become more successful using feng shui, effective goals setting and other techniques. Charlotte is able to see where businesses are blocked, and aims to find solutions to help them reach their potential.