Tips to Set Your Restaurant Business Apart from the Competition

Building a thriving consumer base of loyal traffic to your restaurant is often about how well you can set your business apart from the competition. With myriad food options that people have available to them, restaurants must find a way to distinguish themselves in some form or fashion if they hope to attain any memorability—and thus, return customers. Here are a few concepts to think about when considering how to make your restaurant business shine apart from the rest.

Get Your Restaurant Behind Something Novel or Cause-Related

By definition, standing apart from the crowd means that you are not afraid to do something that is, well, different. Having the confidence to be unique and let your individuality shine is attractive to people. Being different than every other restaurant out there can be done in a number of ways. For instance, you could get your restaurant behind a cause that is important to you or the people in your area. There are many to choose from, but a few examples include donating a portion of your proceeds to charity, locally sourcing your ingredients, only providing hormone-free meat on your menu, having a waste reduction and recycling plan in place, etc. Choosing causes that help and affect the local populace are particularly potent choices.

You can also be different by doing something novel. Novelty can come in the form of something old, re-done in a new way, or can be something entirely new that has never been done before. The bottom line to the effective use of novelty is: deliver the unexpected and offer surprises. Think about what is being done in your area and what would catch people’s attention.

Whatever you choose to do to set your restaurant apart from others in the area, make sure to let your customers know about it. Educate your staff to speak about the good or cool things you are doing, provide literature for customers to read while they wait and post regular reports about that awesome thing on your social media sites.

Little Differences in the Restaurant Can Make a Big Difference in Long-Term Loyalty

Setting your restaurant apart from the crowd doesn’t always have to be done in the form of something big, like taking on a cause or niche market. Little differences in the experience people have with your restaurant can be enough, in and of themselves, to keep people coming back again and again.

For example, you might offer unusual sauces for your french fries, like wasabi or pesto. Maybe you bread your dill pickles in a beer battered sauce, grow all of your restaurant’s tomatoes in the parking lot, or artfully arrange your plates complete with your restaurant’s logo toasted onto the inside of the bun, so that even a regular burger and fries feels a little more special than normal. Perhaps you only offer local brews, or even better, maybe you have your own little microbrewery in the back. The point is, these are little touches that are pleasantly surprising and unexpected, yet subtle. They’re not the kind of thing you’re going to put on your marketing materials. Their purposesare to be “cherries on the cake”for your customers’experience when dining in your restaurant.

Keeping a Balance in Your Restaurant Between Service and Sensationalism

Although there are some notable exceptions, novelty and uniqueness alone usually won’t keep customers returning if the food and service isn’t good. This might seem an obvious statement, but it’s crazy how much time and energy some restaurant businesses throw into marketing and getting people through the door without paying close enough attention to their customer’s experience once they’re actually there. Namely, this experience comes down to the customer’s interaction with his server. Do not underestimate the power of direct eye contact, a sincere smile, attentive service and a welcoming atmosphere to pull more weight in building loyal traffic to your restaurant than any other endeavor you could employ.

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One Response to “Tips to Set Your Restaurant Business Apart from the Competition”

  1. From Ovens to Ice Machines: Restaurant Technology that Can Improve Operations | Jim Balis' Blog Says:

    […] computer-regulated back-of-the house appliances, to smaller and more efficient front-of-house equipment, there is a mass of great technological adaptations and innovations available to operators. For […]

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