New York is most famously known as the city that never sleeps, but it’s also the city that’s always eating. With more than 24,000 restaurants to choose from, New Yorkers have no shortage of dining options to choose from, with a restaurant literally around every corner.
If you want your venue to be successful, you have to set your restaurant apart from your competition and consistently deliver delicious and memorable dining experiences to your customers.
Here are four ways you can ensure your restaurant stands out from the crowd and is always top of mind when it comes to good food.
Offer One-Of-A-Kind Specials
Your regular menu may be great, but why not test the limits and lure customers in with exclusive, one-of-a-kind specials?
For example, if you normally serve fried chicken and waffles, how about also offering a one-day-only fried chicken and maple ice cream cone? Or maybe your venue is meat-free and hoping to attract more carnivores in which case you could follow in David Chang’s footsteps and offer a “bleeding” vegetarian burger special.
One-of-a-kind specials will encourage your customers to be more daring in their food selections while giving them an opportunity to taste something unique. And because these items are limited in quantity and availability, they’ll exude the kind of exclusivity that’s sure to be a social media favorite. So while your restaurant is packed with social media snapping customers, you’ll also have people lined up outside of your door for a taste!
Create A Food Community
Food has the ability to bring people together, create lifetime memories, positive experiences and effect change. Think about it — most first dates, anniversaries and other celebrations happen over a meal. So if you’d like to be known as more than just another restaurant on the block, consider creating a food community for your neighborhood locals.
You could host monthly menu tastings for neighborhood locals and get their feedback on new dishes you’d like to introduce, or encourage customers to share their favorite photos and stories of eating at your restaurant. People also love participating in out-of-the-box experiences such as cooking classes, so if you have the capacity to offer a weekly or monthly hands-on dinner class, select some of your restaurant’s top selling dishes and let your customers put their hands to work!
Food has the ability to bring people together and create lifetime memories and positive experiences and by building a food community you will give all of your customers meals to remember.
Host A Guest Chef Night
There are thousands of chefs living and working in New York City, many of which are extremely talented and creative. Why not host a monthly or quarterly “guest chef spotlight”.
Allow the chefs to bring their own innovations to life by preparing and serving a menu entirely of their making. This will allow your venue to expand its current customer reach, offer something fun and exclusive for diners, and help up-and-coming chefs get their names out there.
Cater To Your Customer’s Palates
Your customers palates are unique. In order to avoid serving customers a dish they won’t enjoy, have knowledgeable staff on hand who can make recommendations based on customer preferences. Train your staff to ask food preference discovery questions and describe all of your menu items and specials in detail.
Here are a few examples:
A customer wants to know how the Chicken Marsala is prepared and what wine goes best with it. The server, who knows the food and drink menus in detail, is able to educate the customer and offer the following well-informed advice: “The chicken special tonight is coated in a semi-sweet marsala sauce made with mushrooms, onions and herbs. It’s served with a side of mashed-potatoes and pairs perfectly with the pinot noir which compliments the earthy taste of the mushroom and herbs.”
Or perhaps the customer is uncertain of what to order, and wants server recommendations. In this setting, the server should ask questions such as, “Do you prefer sweet or spicy flavors?” and “Do you have any dietary restrictions?” These kinds of questions and descriptions will empower your staff to eliminate or recommend dishes based on restrictions and taste preferences while catering to the individual needs of your customers.
By using these four tactics, your restaurant will always be a favorite choice for diners looking to have a memorable, exciting, and belly-satisfying food-adventure.
About the Author
Antasha is an Online Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro where she spends her days advising restaurateurs on their point of sale systems and her nights writing hospitality-related content. A veteran bartender and server, Antasha enjoys bringing her industry experiences to life through blogging. Her three-year-old son and BFF, Elijah, is her self-proclaimed muse for all things creative.More Content by Antasha Durbin