The idea of starting a restaurant is appealing to many. Not only will you get a chance to run your own business, set your own hours, and build a team of passionate employees – but you’ll also get the opportunity to come up with fantastic culinary creations.
Of course, opening your own restaurant isn’t a guarantee of success. In fact, more than 60 percent of restaurants close within the first year, and from the outset, you’ll have dozens, if not hundreds of competitors to contend with.
If you want a chance of becoming successful, you’ll need some way to stand out from the competition. But what’s the best way to accomplish this?
The Importance of Differentiating Your Restaurant
Differentiating your restaurant from the competition is a practical requirement if you want to rise above that competition.
There are a few major advantages to consider here, including:
- Visibility. Sometimes, making your restaurant more distinguished in some important way can help you become more visible. You’ll get more press, attract more reviews, and potentially be more noteworthy as people pass you by.
- Memorability. Unique restaurants also tend to be more memorable. People will have an easier time remembering your business’s name, and they’ll be more likely to talk about it with friends and family members.
- Audience differentiation. Sometimes, distinguishing a restaurant is a way to target a different audience. If you and your competitors are targeting different niches, you won’t step on each other’s toes in marketing and advertising.
How to Distinguish Your Restaurant
The question is, what are the best ways to distinguish your restaurant from the competition?
Here are some ideas:
- Serve unique food. One of the most obvious options is to serve unique food. If there are 10 restaurants in your city that specialize in burgers and fries, opening up another “burger and fry” joint isn’t the best idea. Why not offer a type of cuisine that isn’t currently available in this area? Why not get inventive and come up with a whole new style of cooking? If there’s only one restaurant like yours in the area, you’ll attract a significant audience by default.
- Focus on sustainability. You can also work to make your business more sustainable with efficient practices, local shopping, and sustainable partnerships. For example, Griffith Foods is a food product and ingredient innovator focused on sustainability; they’ve worked with countless restaurants and food distributors to come up with more sustainable options. Marketing your business as a sustainable option will attract more customers and help you rise above the competition.
- Cut prices. It’s also possible to cut prices, though this can be difficult to manage. Restaurants already operate with some of the lowest price margins in any industry, so this isn’t always possible. But if you can manage to serve similar-quality food for a lower total price, you’ll have a steady stream of patrons coming through your doors.
- Prioritize quality. Conversely, you can get away with charging higher prices – as long as you have a commitment to quality food. Invest in your ingredients and prepare them right, and people will be willing to pay just about anything.
- Offer a dynamic experience. The experience of dining at a restaurant is about more than just eating, so consider offering a more dynamic, engaging experience. This could mean investing more into the décor and layout of your restaurant, making it more beautiful or immersive. It could also mean training your waiters and other employees to provide patrons with a more engaging, valuable experience. Using technology to your advantage can help you create a dynamic experience. Digital signage can provide ambience throughout the restaurant and can show freshly cooked specials.
- Offer other products and services. In addition to food, you could consider offering other products and services. However, you’ll have to exercise this with caution; you don’t want to draw attention away from the fact that you’re a restaurant.
- Target a niche audience. Distinguish yourself by targeting a niche audience that isn’t being served by other restaurants in your area. If you do your market research, you should be able to find at least some market segments that don’t have many options in your area – and figure out the best ways to appeal to them.
- Move to a new area. If your current city is overloaded with competition and you’re finding it difficult to stand out in any way, consider moving to a new area entirely. You might find it easier to enter the market in some unique way with fewer competitors to deal with.
Of course, it’s important to note that there’s such a thing as distinguishing your restaurant too much, as well. If you modify your approach so heavily that your restaurant becomes awkward or unappealing, you’ll lose fans, rather than gaining them. Always make sure to test your ideas before fully committing to them, and remain adaptable so you don’t get stuck with a failing strategy.