A restaurant seems like an overly used business idea. Despite the pandemic, a lot of them still pop up around town, filling our social media feeds with photos of their mouthwatering dishes and homely interiors. But even so, people are still thrilled. Foodies still anticipate whatever a new restaurant offers, even if those dishes are nothing like they’ve never tried already.
Hence, if a foodie walks into your restaurant, you may get good publicity, since they usually post about their dining experiences on their social media. But the question is, how do you make them recommend your restaurant? How will you make your business cut out from the rest, especially if your offers are not particularly unique?
The most obvious answer is, of course, offering high-quality food. It’s the first step to making a good impression and building up your reputation. A highly diverse menu isn’t always necessary, because as long as you offer dishes that set the bar high, your customers will already have something to remember your business by.
Now, here are the actual secrets to making your restaurant a hot topic:
1. Start a Buzz
A typical business lives by following the trends. But a restaurant should get ahead of the trends and pave the way for other businesses to follow suit.
In other words, start your own trend and create a buzz. If every restaurant in your town already offers online ordering, for example, adopt that too, but accompany it with a digital wallet payment option. That way, people who don’t fancy paying in cash can order without hassle, and you are paving the way for e-payments to become the new norm.
Therefore, research new tech innovations, and see which smart feature will benefit your restaurant best. Don’t forget to study how that particular technology is performing in the market. You’re risking a considerable investment here, so the tech’s pros have to outweigh the cons by a great degree.
2. Give Back to the Community Without Announcing it
Customers consider Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) when choosing a business to support. The pandemic has made it even more important for them, with thousands of people who lost their jobs and livelihoods due to the lockdowns.
Hence, your new restaurant will stand out if you help those in need. You may donate, hold charity events, or support local farmers by sourcing your ingredients from them. The last is in fact an environmentally-friendly choice since local farmers produce organic goods.
However, keep your giving back efforts low-key. You don’t need to promote it, otherwise, you may appear insincere, not to mention promotions cost money. Besides, no good deed goes unnoticed. Even if the public won’t immediately know about your acts of kindness, word will eventually spread.
3. Offer One-of-a-kind Dishes
Most restaurants earned their fame because of a dish that no other restaurant offers. If the dish you have in mind is costly to make or requires seasonal ingredients, you may offer it only at a particular time of the year; Christmas, for instance. But if you’d rather make it available all year long, consider adding a twist to a classic dish in your country or city.
You may also offer an unusual local delicacy, like the wasp crackers of Japan, fried spiders of Cambodia, or beondogi (silkworm) of South Korea. Those will definitely create a buzz, and daredevil diners may just hold a race on who gets to try it out first.
But if you prefer a classic favorite, a food that reminds people of home and precious memories, your country’s national dish is most likely the one you need to offer. But of course, make it surprise your customers. Adobo, for example, is the Philippines’ national dish that is known for being cooked in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. You’ll almost never find a Filipino who doesn’t eat it. If you have an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) customer in your restaurant, they’ll probably look for the dish on your menu.
That said, offer the classic Adobo dish, but also offer an alternative, which is the same dish, but with a twist. The Chicken Adobo sa Gata recipe is intriguing Adobo- and coconut-milk-lovers, so consider introducing the interesting dish in your menu, and it might just become your main selling point.
4. Incorporate Culture
Food is an integral part of every country’s culture. But since there are so many restaurants already, a lot of them aren’t so much about culture anymore, but just following trends, diet fads, and such. Hence, consider incorporating culture in your cuisine. Aim to make your customers feel as if they’re experiencing a country or town, not just tasting its food. If you’re offering Chinese cuisine, make your presentation ornate, because, for the Chinese, food shouldn’t just be nutritious, but look appealing as well.
Overall, emphasize customer experience as you create your menu, and design your establishment and service style. When customers walk into your restaurant, they should look forward not just to tasting your dishes, but also to creating memories only your establishment can offer.