Posts Tagged ‘local marketing’

How to Make Yourself Stand Out Locally

February 7, 2012

These days, patrons are more and more community-centered. That’s great if you’re a local “mom & pop” establishment. But did you know that you can style your restaurant as “local”, even if it’s part of a national franchise?

 

It’s entirely possible. In fact, it’s preferable! You’ll pull more local business, and even more out-of-town business (especially if you are in a tourist location), by combining franchise name-brand recognition with attention to local community and culture.

 

Here are three ways to cement yourself into your community so that you escape the “anti-corporate/anti-national chain” malaise that has come about in the past few years.

 

Have a Signature “Local” Item

 

If it’s allowed, create a signature drink or dish that people can’t find anywhere else (even other restaurants in your franchise – subject to your franchise rules, of course).

 

Also be aware that, in time, the franchise might add your idea to the menu of all its branded restaurants. So be sure and name your dish or drink after your local area, or after something (landmark or event) that local patrons associate with your area. In fact, that is probably something you should do in any case.

 

Host Local Meetings

 

Perhaps you have a conference room that you could offer free of charge to local groups (businesses, non-profits, and other interest groups). Or you could offer discounts to organizations that choose to meet at your establishment.

 

In fact, you may not even need to concern yourself with discounts. All you will need to do in many cases is advertise that you are open to large parties, non-profits, business events, etc. Fliers in the mail can be an effective way of doing this. Often, all you need to do is get the idea out there.

 

Decorate Your Restaurant with Items of Local Interest

 

This can include local sports team jerseys; photographs of local landmarks, events, and celebrities; highway signs and other antique(-ish) memorabilia of anything your area is known for.

 

In the right establishment, newspaper or magazine articles about events significant to your area can also look great while adding local flavor. You may also want to consider event tickets, concern posters, etc., depending on the theme and demographic of your guests.

How Franchisers can Cash in on the Benefits of Being Local

January 27, 2012

More and more people these days are making a conscious effort to patronize local mom-and-pop establishments. And while that’s great for local economies, the down side is that many franchise operators are starting to see less-than-positive effects on their own operations. But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Yes, there are some patrons on the extreme end who will avoid nationwide chains just because they are nationwide chains. But the majority of guests who have chosen to patronize local establishments more often are doing so to get more practical needs met. Local franchisers can court local business by paying attention to needs like trust, local community, and relationships.  Building Trust with Your Local Clientele  Patrons often trust local establishments more because of how well those establishments handle problems. If you want to develop this same kind of trust, make sure you handle any complaints as quickly as possible and with maximum attention paid to your customer.  It doesn’t matter whether you live in an urban, suburban, or rural area: friendly, personalized attention when a problem arises is something that guests associate with “down home” mom & pop service. And it is this kind of attentiveness will help you create the same level of trust with your patrons.  Sponsor Local Events Whenever Possible and Practical   Be a (visible) part of your community – just like (other) local establishments. This is important in small areas where the local mom-and-pop competition can be fierce. It’s equally important in larger markets, where all competition is fierce!  Finally, it’s also important in tourist areas. Locals who remember your community participation will recommend you to visitors. Combined with name brand recognition, this can be the “tipping point” that sends more out-of-towners through your door.  Encourage Relationships  Want to be seen as a local part of every patron’s life? Encourage your guests to create moments with family and friends – over and over and over again!  One of the best ways to do this is to offer two-for-one and similar specials. Two-for-one drinks are good with the right crowd, as are “half-price-when-you-bring-a-friend”.   In a more food-minded approach, you can offer specials on appetizers or even entrees to patrons who bring a friend during designated times of day.