Everyone loves to treat themselves to good food every once in a while. Food businesses are integral in people’s lives, from ordering pizza on a cheat day to celebrating an anniversary by taking their spouse out for a nice meal. This high demand has also caused significant competition; about 11.2 million people work in the restaurant industry.
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If you are a new food business in your area or even an existing restaurant, you could find it difficult to stand out. You would compete with leading food chains, fine dining outlets, and local diners.
Here are some ways you can stand out and increase your sales:
1. Offer a Unique Menu
As a food business, your menu is critical to your sales. Research the market in your area and go for the food options that are less available but have high demand. For example, if your street already has several pizza joints, open up an ice cream parlor instead of another pizzeria. You can also offer specific cuisines, such as Indian or Chinese. Creating a fusion menu that combines elements from multiple cuisines is also a good idea to ramp up interest in your restaurant.
Also, consider using unusual or unexpected ingredients, for example, edible flowers like lavender, to have a distinct flavor profile. You can also cater your menu to people with specific dietary requirements, such as offering a keto menu.
Theming your menu according to pop culture, like this Harry Potter-themed cafe, is also an excellent way to create buzz around your business. You can also offer seasonal or one-time items on your menu to boost sales and generate hype around your business, as McDonald’s did with the Szechuan sauce.
2. Create a Unique Atmosphere
In the food business, the restaurant’s atmosphere is as important as the menu and the food quality. Your restaurant should have an ambiance and decor that relaxes visitors and puts them at ease. If your restaurant follows a particular theme, ensure your decor matches it. Restaurants specific to a country’s cuisine should reflect that culture; for example, a Mexican restaurant can feature traditional Mexican pottery, colorful murals, and sombreros.
Create ambiance by carefully playing around with lighting and scents. Place lights strategically to create contrasting bright-lit and dim-lit areas. Scented candles and oil diffusers can also create ambiance and set the mood. Curated music playlists can also help create the mood. Play different playlists depending on the season and the time of the day.
3. Focus on Customer Service
Customer service is integral to any business, and food services are no exception. There are multiple ways to ensure excellent customer service in the food industry, starting with the staff. Train your staff to be kind and polite with every customer, and to not lose their cool even with rude ones. If a situation arises, your staff must be trained in conflict resolution.
Personalizing the experience is yet another way of improving customer service. Try using customer names and data to curate the experience according to them. Constantly solicit feedback from your customers, ask them to leave honest reviews, and integrate their feedback into your decisions. Complementary discounts are another great way to make a customer feel welcome. Here is a handy customer experience checklist to ensure you provide the best possible service.
4. Utilize Social Media
Digital marketing has become essential in this age, and food businesses have untapped opportunities in the social media world. Social media is a great way to reach out to potential customers in your area, and you can excite your restaurant by putting out savvy content.
Share high-quality, mouth-watering pictures and videos of your food and its preparation. Such videos attract many customers and showcase your food quality. Engage with the customers and answer any queries they may have. It is also an excellent idea to collaborate with food influencers and have them put videos of reviewing your restaurants, as it unlocks more audience.
Social media is also a great way to communicate your deals and discounts and to promote any events you may be hosting. You can also showcase behind-the-scenes content to hype your cooking process. Also, participate in social media trends and make widely used memes to get popular with the Gen Z population.
5. Offer Ordering and Delivery
Customers prefer convenience, so online deliveries are becoming common. Offering delivery increases your audience and revenue dramatically, as people who may not be able to visit your restaurant physically can also buy from you. It is a feasible business model for many ghost kitchens, too, even with no dine-in options.
Generally, some restaurants charge a delivery fee, while other businesses deliver your foot to your doorstep for free. Avoid charging delivery fees as they discourage customers from ordering. However, delivering without fees in some areas may not be sustainable.
Consider offering discounts and deals exclusively on food delivery to prompt your audience to buy from you often. Food deals for a single individual are generally top-rated on delivery, as few people bother dining in alone.
6. Host Events
Hosting different kinds of events at your restaurant or cafe is a great marketing tactic to help your place stand out. There are multiple types of events you can host. For example, cafes regularly host slam poetry readings, standup comedy, or literary events.
You can also hold different tasting events to showcase new dishes or promote particular ingredients. Think of them as a beta-testing event that lets you know if your customers will like a dish you want to introduce or consider introducing cooking classes that promote your restaurant and serve as a community-building event.
You can also host private events, like birthdays, farewell or welcome dinners, and weddings. These can bring in a lot of revenue for the business. Here, you offer personalized decor and catering in return for getting your place booked for decent compensation. Providing live entertainment options, like music or games, at these events can let you stand out.
Food outlets are a feasible and popular business model with great innovation potential. Venturing in the culinary business requires you to stand out from your competitors. You must think of creative menus and innovative dishes to attract customers.
Focus on your restaurant’s atmosphere and ambiance to distinguish your business from the competitors. Do not compromise on customer service; consider innovative marketing strategies like social media marketing and hosting events. Offer deliveries to get maximum revenue. The food industry is an exciting and profitable business, but you must think outside the box.