There are opportunities for growth and a chance for local, independent restaurants to compete with chain restaurants and hold onto a significant market share. Indeed, many mom-and-pop restaurants have it in them to outperform competitors and inspire customer loyalty.
Granted, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Subway, Wendy’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, and other larger chains have some advantages working for them. These include brand recognition, pre-built menus, and of course, beneficial existing vendor relationships.
Be that as it may, small restaurants can effectively compete with chain restaurants with the following strategies.
Diners will always go where there is high-quality food. Therefore, going local is one of the best food trends to follow, which can give you an edge over large chains. Source for quality ingredients from suppliers and develop a menu with your local community in mind. You can never go wrong with sourcing from local farmers in your area.
With attention to who visits your restaurant, you can create a great menu. Again, small restaurants have the advantage of being flexible with the menu. As such, always be on the lookout for ways to spruce up this menu, ensuring consistency in the quality of the outcome every time you add new dishes.
By all means, pay attention to client feedback on how best to improve your local menu. If you notice a majority of your diners leaning towards a specific cuisine, be sure to update your menu and include the same on your offerings.
Away from the menu, you can go local in other ways. If there is an art that is unique to your local area, then, by all means, display the same around your restaurants. You can also benefit greatly from having a local band, and other acts perform at your restaurant on weekend nights.
Just as with the menu, the best way to go about marketing your independent restaurant is to adopt a local approach and be very creative while at it. Whether you are a new restaurant or have been around a while, make customer engagement and improving customer experience a priority when developing your marketing strategy.
Indeed, there are many digital signage solutions for restaurants you can deploy to turn your marketing around. First, you can attract many potential customers off the street with an attractive digital welcome board. It’s excellent advertising that is a sure attention-grabber.
Secondly, make the ordering experience easier for your clients with digital menu boards, and they will have a reason to come back again. Digital signage is also a great way to upsell your restaurant offerings. A visual display of your dessert menu will undoubtedly have the patrons wanting to taste what is on offer after they are done with the main course.
Additionally, you can have video walls in your restaurants to display content that is both engagingly entertaining and informative. From highlighting the day’s specials to live TV, you only have to ensure the content displayed on your video walls is relevant.
As an independent restaurant looking to compete with chain restaurants, you cannot afford not to have a social media marketing strategy. Actively promote your restaurant on various social media platforms. Americans are very trusting of reviews on social media, so you will want to get ahead of that also.
Connect with Your Local Community
Again, staying true to your identity as a local restaurant is very important, and this extends to how you engage with your local community. Connecting with the community in various ways will help to build your brand recognition.
It is a show of dedication for your local community, for which you may get some loyalty rewards. Show support for the community, and they will no doubt rally behind your business. What’s more, it is this kind of goodwill that will inspire long-term customer loyalty.
Be a part of the community, and jump on every opportunity to partner with other businesses in influencing or driving a positive effect in the community. You can host a cooking master class for the community. Sponsor your local league. If there is a local feast or fete, be sure to be among the sponsors. Similarly, you can donate food for charity events.
Playing to Your Strengths
While big chains do have some advantages, independent restaurant owners must also be aware of their strengths. In the end, flexing and ensuring they work for you will ultimately be what helps you to compete with chain restaurants and start you on the journey of being a successful restaurant.
As highlighted, your greatest strength lies in delivering a personalized experience to the locals and staying connected to the local community. Even with your marketing strategy, think local, and be sure to structure and customize the plan in such a way that it speaks directly to the community of customers you are looking to attract.