Nowadays we can see an uprising all around us. The demand for quality food in the market is astonishingly greater today than it was 10 years ago, but as we know from other Ranktoday articles, a restaurant's success isn't just about food, marketing is fundamental.
A commonly made mistake is trying to "steal" ideas from other competitors in order to be in "equal conditions" but this is not what big and successful businesses or industries are known for.
What do all famous brands have in common? They are recognized, their marketing allows them to stand out from the crowd and offer innovative products or services.
The idea is not to make yourself "equal" to another business, but rather to be different, comfortable and innovative.
Let's see some simple things you can do to highlight your business:
We know that a restaurant has three major aspects that determine its success: Food, Service, and Ambience. Adding some live music to your restaurant can make your clients more comfortable and even make them fall in love with your combination of music and style.
What kind of music should you choose? Well, it depends on your restaurant's concept and design. What kind of marketing reaches your target customers?
- If you have a fine/elegant concept, you may want to go with a more instrumental and soft approach.
- If you have a Bohemian-Styled restaurant and bar, you could choose reggae, indie, rock, or any genre that connects with your restaurant's concept.
Another great way to distinguish yourself is to add "Comedy Nights" to your business. There's been a comedian uprising in the last couple years thanks to social media, this means that you'll have a good amount of people to choose from.
Picking your comedian is utterly important for your marketing. Comedy is like food, not every type is meant for everyone. Some people are easily offended by certain topics, and other people simply don't find them funny at all.
In order to make comedy an asset instead of a liability, analyze your target customer's likings.
- Which comedians do they like?
- Which topics do they talk about?
- How much time would they like the show to last?
- What kind of food do your customers like eating during the show?
Some restaurants, cafes, and bars offer poetry nights in which people can come in and recite some author's poems or even their own.
One of the main advantages this strategy has is the fact that with enough encouragement, your own clients will also be your entertainment, and therefore, its a good and inexpensive way to distinguish yourself from your competition.
But having "Poetry Nights" won't simply lead you to marketing success. You'll need to make your customers comfortable with going up the stage and start reciting in front of a crowd. You can encourage them leading by example, making competitions or simply giving away a few drinks.
The more your clients are included, the more comfortable they'll feel and therefore, they will visit your business more frequently. Success at the palm of your hand.
Exotic Dishes or Drinks
Everyone offers a margarita in a margarita glass or a mojito in a mason jar. Why not make it different?
Something as simple as serving a drink in a wooden tiki vessel or adding a funny ritual everytime someone asks for a specific dish can make your clients highlight your business everywhere they go, basically doing a marketing campaign for free.
For example, a bar in NYC offers Game-of-Thrones-themed cocktails. Asking for a "Shameful Tequila Sunrise" will make all of the bartenders and waiters to constantly shout "Shame!" while the customer drinks it nonstop.
These are the little things that keep your customers talking about your business, which means more potential customers. Always try to adapt and keep innovating!
Try a New Concept
We know the usual restaurant concepts. Elegant, ethnic, fine, familiar, fast food, etc... But what if we change the game, if we take a different marketing strategy?
There are several "weird" restaurants out there that offer a whole new and never-tried-before concept. Adopting a new concept exploits your customer's curiosity, and if your restaurant is in a touristic location, visiting your business will become a must-do for all tourists.
Here are some real-life examples:
- Calico Cat Cafe (Tokyo) - This cafe has cats that provide you with their adorable companionship while you sip on a cup of tea, coffee, or simply enjoy a dessert.
- Ninja New York (NYC) - This ninja-themed restaurant offers its clients secret passageways, a nice dungeon-like atmosphere and ninja waiters that will perform magic tricks with your food, such as a sauce that catches on fire.
- Toilet Restaurant (Taiwan) - You shouldn't undervalue this weird and somehow gross restaurant theme since it's one of the most popular restaurants in Taiwan. They offer toilet seats as chairs, bathtubs as tables and toilet-like dishes.
Another way to entertain your customers while advertising your restaurant is to organize eating competitions.
In these competitions, several customers will pay for joining the tournament. After this, they must eat a pre-established amount of food and drinks. Whoever finishes first wins.
This strategy doesn't need to be particularly expensive since you can offer coupons for free food and drinks at your restaurant or promotional articles such as caps and shirts with your logo.
Another great aspect of using this strategy is the fact that you can promote your tournaments and winners through the social media, advertising your restaurant and inviting new customers.
Let them do the marketing for you!
Dance Floor / Dancing Lessons
Some people just can't resist the urge to dance, and some would love to do it but they are just too shy or inexperienced.
By having a dance floor in your bar/restaurant, you'll become not just a mere place to eat, but also a place to have fun, thus, having the chance to benefit from two markets.
Another benefit is the fact that dancing causes your customers to get thirsty and hungry, this will lead to more sales. The only downside is that not every business has enough room for a dance floor or a consistent concept.
Another strategy to involve your customers in your entertainment. By having a karaoke you add a musical environment to your business while making your customers eager to participate.
When someone sings in a karaoke, that person isn't just having a good time and a huge rush of adrenaline, but also entertains everyone in your restaurant and encourages them to do the same, providing hours and hours of fun for your clients.
If you plan to have a karaoke in your business, make sure you advertise it and make a good schedule, otherwise, it may turn into a boring event with almost zero participation, playing against your interests.
In the gastronomic world, tasting is an incredible and popular activity. You can host these events and provide your customers with a good and pleasant night while letting them slowly enjoy and examine your dishes.
This, of course, requires a good chef and a good bartender. There's no point in hosting a tasting event if the food and drinks aren't up for the task.
In these events, you can also talk about the origins of your dishes, ingredients, liquors, drinks, and cocktails. This adds an informative and pleasant discussion to the environment, thus increasing your restaurant's popularity.
Include Other Activities
We all know that a restaurant is a place to eat, but it doesn't have to be just that. Including other activities in your restaurant can be a very attractive chance for your business to grow.
Adding chess or pool tables, having a relaxing outdoor area, a library, an art gallery or another kind of recreative area will give your customers more entertainment options.
For example, several fast food restaurants tend to add recreational places for kids such as ball pits. By doing this, when people are confronted with choosing a regular fast food chain or another one with a ball pit, they will almost always choose the one that offers more things to do.
What other marketing strategy can you use?
Of course, the golden rule of creativity states that if you want to try something new or to tweak something from this list to adapt it to your needs, you can and should do it.
These are very basic ideas that can highlight your business from your competition. If your competition is already using some of these strategies, try to analyze them and go for something new.
The questions you have to ask yourself when thinking about new ways to distinguish your restaurant are:
- Will my target customers like this?
- Is it innovative?
- Is it profitable?
- Is it worth it?
Remember! Having a successful business isn't about trying to be like your competitors, but rather distinguish yourself with creative, innovative and smart ideas. Your mind is the limit!