Restaurant owners are a special breed, doesn’t matter the background or cuisine, they all have a common love for the way food makes us feel
I recently received this message via my Instagram
Great question, how can restaurants who relied on ambiance still turn profits during a lockdown?
While I may not be America’s best restauranteur, I am a scrappy nerd from Brooklyn who happens to be a Growth Hacker.
Especially when I see problems out there like this highlighted by Guardian Journalist Susie Cagle
What Do You Serve?
“How you do anything is how you do anything” goes the saying
What’s helping some thrive right now is the way they train their people, (special mention: this is why restaurants with the worse service also happen to have the highest turnover rates) they created an ambiance prior to all of this
Take, for example, McDonald’s. You’re not going for the ambiance, you’re going for some nuggets and expect a mean mug if you dare ask for more than 2 sauces with 20 nuggets
Can be drive-thru can be in your car, who cares
Now take Restaurants, they rely on things like delivery, specials, even ambiance, study after study has shown a connection between ambiance and how food tastes
There’s this Chinese takeout restaurant in my hometown that is small, run by a sweet family that I’ve known since I was in middle school, for as long as I can remember they’ve always “hooked it up”. (I’ve linked to their Yelp page just in case any of you happen to be in Park Slope, Brooklyn).
A can of soda, some extra sauce, a small sample, an egg roll I never ordered, just because.
When I would visit home and do a pickup order, my receipts would say something like “special order, boss add special” or “boss special” and they’d throw in some sodas, maybe a little extra this, some extra that
Something as simple as extra containers and utensils is a nice touch. They’re not marketing mavens, but they work hard and have gotten to know a lot of us in the neighborhood, It’s their “brand”.
How Do You Serve?
Then there’s the area of getting creative with what you have, and applies today more than ever
10 years ago I found myself with a pizzeria that was just another hole in the wall. I found myself asking, How the hell do I bring in more bodies to a small pizzeria where pizza is everywhere (NYC)?
I could run by the same book as everyone else in the restaurant business, offer delivery, improve takeout advertising
As I learned how to make better pizza I also learned how to sell pizza better, who doesn’t love pizza?! (I’ve witnessed too many vegans and folks who are lactose intolerant sneak eat pizza to believe anyone hates pizza).
Look, plain and simple, people eat at restaurants because they can’t make it on their own, and/or they really enjoy how you make it
Isn’t it awesome how some food tastes better when someone else makes it for you?
So I went and put more pizza in their hands’, I packaged the recipe, dough, and sauce, and delivered it.
I then used those sales to put it in neighborhood supermarkets. I was now feeding folks without them ever stepping foot into the pizzeria,
I’ll never forget a couple telling me they learned of us after making a pizza with my kit during a date (i never got an invite to their wedding, sadly).
Fast forward to the present and a restaurant could replicate this way better than I did.
I didn’t have UberEats, the internet, or social media(damn I feel old typing that, even though I’m still a millennial).
You of course can add better visuals and even document the process to help folks replicate their favorite dishes at home.
Please remember why your customers buy from you in the first place
- There are feelings attached to food
- They enjoy the way you make __
- They don’t know how to, or rather not make it themselves
So how can you deliver some love to your people these days?
Here’s to escaping average,
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