I chanced upon an article where renowned restaurant consultant Aaron D. Allen talked about his experience with a restaurant he loved. The place used to be so jam packed one actually has to bring a crowbar to be able to get in. But there he was, five years later, having dinner in the quite gloomy dining room on a weekday. The place was far different than what it used to be.
Which brings us to wonder –doesn’t this usually happen? Many restaurants start out with a big launch, a gigantic buzz and critical acclaim. But time sets in, the buzz dies. And our once busy kitchen and busy wait staff in their smart aprons, as well as dining areas aren’t that hectic anymore. Allen’s advise? Continuously think of something to buzz about. Do not allow the initial buzz to fade, else the restaurant follows suit. Or if it has already faded, find a way to get it going again.
Here are some tips to continuously have something new to buzz about, thereby boosting your restaurant’s revenue:
Innovation should always be thought about. Sure, your restaurant might be doing really well these days, everyone loves it. But that does not mean that you would stop conceptualizing some fresh ideas, PR strategies and new industry insights. Keep the hottest place in town the hottest.
Keep pushing. Putting another set of funds for a new buzz for your restaurant costs money—isn’t it a lot better to maintain the momentum rather than continuously start a new one? If a restaurant operator takes his foot off the accelerator, he may coast well for a while, but if he waits too long he will eventually lose speed. He’ll end up spending a lot of extra energy to get back on track and capture the lost momentum. Never lose sight of your market positioning—keep pushing.
Some restaurant executive’s focus on what will be relevant to this year’s stockholder’s meeting, or what would be significant to the balance sheet this quarter. That’s perfectly fine. But remember that your customers pave the way to better balance sheets and successful year-enders. While you think of numbers and reports, your customers focus on an entirely different thing. What they have in mind is “what’s new in here that I should experience,” “what’s exciting and worth spending my hard-earned money tonight?” and “what’s new to tweet about?”
Reinvent, renovate before the need to do so. Learn from long-time celebrities (like Madonna, maybe)—they have made themselves relevant despite their many years in the business by continuously reinventing themselves. And while they changed their hairstyles, clothes and collaborators over the years, the heart of their brand remained constant. A restaurant can renovate, remodel all they want just to keep itself relevant without changing its brand personality, brand promise, or its brand story.
Innovation is not just for start-ups. Yup, coming up with great things for your customers to buzz about is not just for the newbie’s. Established restaurants should go over the cycle again and again—offering their customers a stream of reasons to come back to the restaurant. Flowers keep presenting their nectar up to the bees, providing the bees enough reason to visit everyday, gather their pollen, and pollinate the whole garden.
Be bold. Be foolish if necessary. Gather your managers and apron-clad people continuously and try to get as much innovative ideas as possible, thinking of ways to wow your customers, investors, media and community. You can also stay tuned to this blog as we give you fresh ideas everyday.