Three ways to make your restaurant succeed
Opening a restaurant is different than starting any other business. It’s a special kind of reward because the product you sell isn’t just the food, it’s an experience – one that you hope will leave people smiling. But it’s also a difficult industry, and a strong opening can make or break a restaurant. Here are three ways to make sure your restaurant is strong from Day 1 onward:
Many new restaurant owners will put plenty of money into the front of house, trying to make the space look special. That’s good – but it’s not the only way to make your business stand out. Everything you use from the servers’ aprons or outfits to the packaging for to-go food can be made to stand out. Not all food service packaging has to look boring, and you can make yourself far more memorable by making sure it’s attractive – and functional. Consider natural brown folding containers instead of Styrofoam clam shells, or a pristine white carton with your logo on it.
Door to door
There really is no advertising like word of mouth. In the age of the internet it’s easy to think that social media will do everything, but there is hard value in rolling up your sleeves and hitting the neighborhood. For low overhead options there’s nothing wrong with the tried-and-true method of sticking menus on every door handle and car in your neighborhood – people are often more excited about a new restaurant than they would be about other kinds of ads. If you want to invest a little on your promotion, go in person to different large offices in the area with a sample platter around 11:30 am.
Of course “buzz” is the all-important magic ingredient in a restaurant opening, but how do you create it? Buzz occurs when influential taste-makers rave about your restaurant – even before its open. That means that part of your six month lead up to opening day should be making personal contact with every journalist, critic and food blogger in the area as well as business and community leaders who have a large audience. Sometimes it’s as simple as introducing yourself and telling them why you’re passionate about what you’re bringing to the scene. You won’t impress everyone but when you get a few key voices saying good things, you’ll see a strong opening month.
Of course, there are lots more ways to bolster your restaurant business than clever food service packaging and good networking. What else sets a restaurant apart?
Ashely has a big interest in business, to see more check out her Twitter @ashelymarie1985.
- photograph – Tartanna