In the hospitality industry we know as owners, managers and operators that just as you are the new hot spot, you can quickly become the old washed up establishment closing its doors. The same exact high end restaurant concept can open two miles down the road, causing you to stress and worry about competition and potentially closing your doors.
Both of you can have similar menus with innovative dishes that are classic and eccentric. Concepts that are well planned, have locally sourced food and play to the desires of their well-heeled patrons but, in most cases there is only enough business in the area for one of the establishments.
So how are you able to stand out and service. How can you create buzzwords, evoke emotion and build trust with consumers by leveraging your unique brand story. How are you able to stand out in a sea of similar establishments and bring your consumers an experience to remember without becoming a cliche?
1. Tell the story customers want to hear
If you are opening a new restaurant, listen carefully to the people in the community and the story they are telling. Know how you want to be seen in the publics eye and what type of emotion you want your general audience to see and understand. Also, take time to understand the community in which you serve. Build strong relationships with your guests and allow them to feel as though you are an extension of their family. Consumers become “regulars” when they feel valued, understand what your establishment represents and they know they will receive high quality food/service every time they join you.
2. Train servers to be storytellers
Your servers are the first line of defense to properly tell your story. They are able to do so trough pointing out different items on the menu; what they were, what sauces they came with; all things that guests could read for themselves. Reciting descriptions, no matter how well written, does not engage customers with your brand. Instead, train your servers to tell the stories behind the dishes. Who created them? How did the dish come about? When was the first time the server tried the entrée, and how did it make him or her feel? This tip will not only help the consumers understand what you offer but, will allow them to feel as though you are taking the time to teach and tell the story of your establishment.
3. Leverage stories to develop brand ambassadors
A marketing research expert recently stated that the strength of a brand is no longer how well you can tell your customers what you do. Rather, the power of your brand reflects how well your customers can tell their networks what you do, and how well THEIR networks can tell THEIR networks. Good storytelling can stand up to this complex chain of communication. If you and your team are telling actual stories about your food, your concept, your founders, your mission in action… you are training your customers how to talk about you. For every story you tell and table you turn, you are actually creating a PR army.