Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Making a living in the hospitality or food service industry isn’t easy. As the owner of your business, you have to always be “on” – you can’t afford a rough day or two that leaves customers put out and ready to trash-talk your business to other would-be customers. When your main job is improving your customers experiences during their leisure time, you have to work hard to ensure their relaxation.

Needless to say, there’s a lot that goes into this kind of work. Business owners who work in the hospitality and food service spaces know that there’s so much more to this business then what the customers eventually see and experience – behind the scenes, you have to juggle everything from payroll and taxes to supply chain concerns.

Still, all of that behind-the-scenes stuff is in service of that main goal: the customer experience. At every moment of their experience, your customers should see your business as exceptional. That means providing great service, of course – but it also means presenting it in the right way.

When looks matter

Does a meal taste the same no matter where you eat it? Studies say no. The impression a customer has of the restaurant they dine at will make a big difference in the experience they have – even down to something as seemingly unrelated as the taste of the food.

Looks matter in hotels, too. Relaxation isn’t just about soft sheets and firm mattresses; it’s about a state of mind, and people are more relaxed when the spaces that surround them are clean and well maintained.

In short, working in the hospitality or food service business requires more than just being great at what you do. You have to look the part, too.

How to exude professionalism

You’re a professional. But you don’t just have yourself to worry about – every aspect of your business, from the plants in the beds out front to the toilets in the bathrooms, reflects on your business’ professionalism and affects your customers’ perceptions of your work. To nail the presentation, you have to address every aspect of your business.

It starts with your employees. Few things matter as much as hiring well. You’ll still have to train your employees, of course, and things like maintaining a great company culture and rewarding great work (and great presentation) are still essential, but you’ll only be able to shape your workforce to the extent that it is full of smart, dedicated people who take instruction well.

You’ll also want to make sure you have great suppliers, point out the experts at JOBELINE. High-quality, matching uniforms are a must in the hospitality and food service industries. Get a reliable supply, and make sure that your employees keep theirs clean and pressed. Great uniforms are visual shorthand for dignity and consistency. They demonstrate to your customers that you are serious about their experience and rigid in your expectations of employee behavior and performance – a must in an industry that focuses on things as important as the food customers eat and the beds they sleep in.

Finally, you’ll need to focus carefully on the spaces that define your business. That means being proactive about maintenance and repair to ensure the systems that keep your spaces comfortable and functional are always in pristine shape. The visible spaces should match the systems within the walls, with fresh paint and carefully manicured landscapes. Demand attention to detail from your employees our outsourced janitorial services; if your customers notice dirt or grime, you’re already in trouble.

If all of this sounds simple, well, it is – at least in theory. But savvy business owners know that the key to all of these things is organization and an unfailing commitment to the details. Your attitude will trickle down and define your business, so make it clear: Presentation matters.