Bonji Hot Takes Volume 14
Welcome back to another edition of The Food Aficionado Smart Brief! Happy Monday, we hope your weekend allowed you to recharge and get prepared for another opportunity-filled week! There are well over half a million independent restaurants in the United States and that number continues to grow. This means you have to truly showcase why customers should be turning to you instead of the millions of chains or the near million other restaurants. What makes a restaurant stand out? Although we do our best to help, standing out often comes down to personal brands; but still, we want to offer some quick ideas that can help you emerge from the crowded space.
3 Ideas To Help Attract Attention 1. Offer a Unique Environment Through Bonji's eyes, there are only two things that matter about a restaurant: quality of food and environment. Of course, if you make the absolute best quality food that nobody is coming close to in the area, you'll get customers in the door. However, we know how challenging it can be to both be consistently the best and prove that you are objectively the best (considering taste is usually a subjective subject). That leads us to your restaurant's environment. Whether it be amazing views, a fun/inviting atmosphere, or top-tier customer service, the environment will get customers in the door. Now, we know not everyone has a rooftop lounge for cinematic Instagram pictures; however, the design of your restaurant can offer just as much! We've even seen small, inviting restaurants simply put up a pop-up wall specifically designed for pictures. Not only will this inspire customers to take pictures, but it will also send a flock of people to your restaurant simply because there is a trendy area for beautiful photos.
2. Invite Guest Chefs Now this may be something you haven't even thought about, but it's becoming more and more popular. In recent years, chefs have begun leaving restaurants to start on an entrepreneurial or freelance route. A podcast called Chefs Without Restaurants was created in 2019 after Chris Spear wanted to take his personal business ventures to the next level. Other than being a fascinating podcast, the concept of leaving the corporate restaurant business for personal growth is expanding. There are articles left and right about chefs leaving the food industry completely due to the tiresome, laborious, and often unfair standards. Yet, most chefs remain in the food industry because they are passionate about and creative with food. This leads us to the idea of guest chefs. Inviting a guest chef to either take over your kitchen for a night or even create a dish is something that would ensure you are standing out from the pack of restaurants in your area. There are countless chefs on Instagram, showing off their unbelievable skills, that would love an opportunity to cook or help design a menu for you. On top of bringing in new customers, you may find that this starts a budding relationship with talented chefs, fueling your business even more
3. Go Above & Beyond + GIFTCARDS We've preached about going above and beyond in the past, and we stand by it today. Every time you serve a customer, it should be the highlight of their day. Just like when they receive something for free, even if it's a drink, they will be screaming from the rooftops about your restaurant. Another way to show your appreciation for customers is offering more when they purchase something like a gift card. You may not realize it, but restaurant gift cards are on the top of the list when it comes to what people want for the holidays. In fact, over 60% of people wanted a restaurant gift card for this past Christmas. It may seem a bit odd, but keep these statistics in mind:
62 percent of adults would like to like to receive a restaurant gift card
62 percent of those people would prefer one for their favorite restaurant
20 percent want to try a new spot
18 percent want to try a place they would never pick on their own
Now it's time to double down on your own gift cards. Maybe you offer a complimentary drink when a customer brings in a gift card. But in truth, why only benefit the receiver of the gift card, let's help the giver too! When someone comes in looking for a gift card, offer them something on-the-house. Yeah, we know, we love giving things away for free, but it helps like you wouldn't believe! The giver will be thrilled to realize that they too received something as they were purchasing a small gift for a friend or family member. Simply put, anything you can do to go above and beyond for your customers… do it.