One Thing to Share Beyond Your Customers’ Palates
When you open a new restaurant, it’s natural to have the fulfilling tastes of your food and unique recipes on your mind. The simple thought of your best dish passing the palate of your first customer’s mouth can only bring you pure joy. But, there’s far more that goes into attracting new customers and building repeat customers than what’s on their dinner plate!
The one thing you should be sharing with your customers beyond their palates is your story!
Brand equity is defined as the commercial value derived from consumer perception of the brand, rather than from the product itself. It is made up of many components including quality (i.e., the quality of your dishes and menu). But, it also includes image and character. Herein lies the beginning of your story.
What’s Your Story?
Who we kidding? The restaurant business requires a lot of heart and dedication for the long hours and undying commitment to customer satisfaction. What draws you to the business and keeps you going? Your passion.
I always say the best story any brand can tell is the story all its own. And, in the restaurant business, I’m certain that story begins with passion.
Think about why you’re opening your restaurant. Has it been a longstanding dream of yours to share your mother’s recipes with the world? Or, did you discover your appetite for the business after a collegiate culinary tour across France? Whatever your unique story is, it’s all your own.
And, when it comes to building that brand story, you should begin by asking yourself these three questions:
- What do I do?
Make craft-style burgers.
- How do I do it better?
- What makes me special?
Grew up on a rural Georgia farm where my passion for local foods was fostered…
This last one is typically where your most unique story comes into play.
How Will You Tell It?
Now that you’ve dug deep to discover your unique brand story, how will you share it with others? There’s the things you say and the things you show.
The Things You Say
There are many ways you can directly tell your story to your new customer base. I recommend strategically leveraging the channels you own – your website, your social media accounts and/or your menu. Depending on the style and atmosphere of your restaurant, you may also display your story in your décor and/or signage. Or, perhaps even on your pizza box!
The Things You Show
Consider your customer touch points. These are all the opportunities you have to present your brand to your customers (e.g., your greeting at the door, your service at the table, etc.). For example, the signature, “It’s my pleasure.” from Chick-fil-A employees is a hallmark to the value-driven service they offer.
Whether you’re starting a small sushi bar or a high-end, Italian restaurant, there are a variety of options you have to tell your story in a manner that is most fitting for your brand.
How Will You Inspire Others to Share It?
Inspiring people to share your brand story begins on the frontline with your staff. Identify the values that are central to the character of your restaurant, share them throughout the interviewing process and use them as a barometer for finding and building your best team.
A solid team that believes in your restaurant and equally desires for it to succeed can share your story with authenticity. As the face of your company, these hostesses, servers and bartenders can help you to build brand ambassadors with your customer base as well as serve as brand ambassadors themselves. Most guests (78%) find restaurants to try based on recommendations from their friends (source).
You have a unique opportunity in being the new kid on the block. Invite early patrons in on your journey and get them excited to share your story and new restaurant with friends. Simply sticking up a sign at the hostess stand with the iconic thumbs-up and “Like Us on Facebook” message won’t do.
Try asking customers for something more personal and specific like sharing what they liked about visiting your restaurant on their Facebook page and tagging your restaurant. You could even incentivize the request by giving these social-sharing customers a discount or freebie at their next visit. For higher-end restaurants, this could be an amuse-bouche or a visit from the chef to the guest’s table.
The human tongue has between 2,000 and 8,000 taste buds. I may venture to say there’s just as many opportunities for you to share your restaurant’s story!