There is a quiet little café a few blocks from where I live. They have a full breakfast and lunch menu, serve organic, free trade coffee and specialty drinks, and make their own jams and sauces. They are the only place in Minnesota where I know to go for chicken and waffles. The people are nice, the food is fairly priced, and everything I’ve had tastes great.
I predict they will not last another year.
The reason for my grim prediction is that most people don’t know the restaurant is there, despite being in a busy part of town. Their sign and window facing does not stand out, the interior décor has no flow, and the sounds of buzzing lights and background kitchen clatter does not create an appealing ambiance.
It’s not the menu or the employees that need to change for this place to become successful – it is their marketing strategy. A lot of restaurant buzz is fed by word–of–mouth reviews. People like showing their friends new places they found, but usually only when that experience was enjoyable. Small cosmetic changes can lead to a customer telling a friend, “That place was great,” rather than, “It was ok.”
The restaurant scene in Minneapolis is very competitive. New, fancy places with hot-shot chefs seem to be opening every other week. Most of them only last a few years. After the excitement of a hip new place wears off, their patrons find the newest hip spot to eat at. In order to keep your customers loyal, you need a sound marketing strategy.
From small cafés to trendy restaurants, every food service company needs to have a solid marketing strategy to stay successful. You could be the best chef in the world, but if people don’t know where you are or find the ambiance unappealing, your business will not succeed.