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Last Updated on September 29, 2022
The restaurant and general dining industries are incredibly competitive. From massive chain restaurants to local coffee shops owned by mom and pop, carving out a niche serving food and drink can be a tricky business. How do you make your menu and dining experience stand out so that customers want to come back again and again? Or, how do you draw in new customers and get them instantly hooked on your brand?
Sometimes, it takes intentional changes to add that extra little wow factor to your services to draw in customers and keep them. Creating a memorable experience or product will leave them wanting more and excited to return to your establishment the next time.
But what can you do, as a dining business owner or operator, to wow your customers to the point that your brand stands out from the rest? Here are a few ideas that you could try to create a unique experience in your restaurant, cafe, or another type of dining business.
Expand Your Menu for Unique Diets
Whether by choice or because of health concerns, more and more people are having to focus their diets on specific types of food. While many restaurants and cafes are including gluten-free options, keto items, or other diet types with their offerings, others are still far behind in keeping up with this trend. Some simply add a couple of items to their menu, making little effort to provide significant options for all types of customers. You can go above and beyond by expanding your menu to include a diverse selection for specific diets and not just one or two options that limit the choices these customers have. Take that extra step to wow all your customers, not just those with conventional diets.
Use QR Code Menus
As a result of the pandemic, many people became a little more cautious about how they dine. One trend that increased exponentially, as a result, was menus that can be accessed via QR codes. This makes it easier for customers to have a contactless experience while also saving money on printing new physical menus. However, you should continue to offer physical menus, as some will prefer this traditional method for choosing what they will eat and drink. QR code menus also allow for a faster browsing experience when you have a busy day since customers will not have to wait for a server to bring a menu. Or, if there is a long line, they can easily view the menu while waiting.
Choose Quality Over Savings Strategically
One of the hardest parts of being in the dining industry is working with suppliers and determining what you can afford and what prices to charge. As a result, owners have to decide where to allocate their resources to invest in quality products without reducing their profits. Will you invest in high-quality equipment that churns out delicious products every time? Or will you spend a little more on receiving higher-quality meat and produce? To top your desserts, will you purchase a name-brand whipped cream or order your own whipped cream chargers and dispensers for more quality and flavoring options? Be strategic with where you invest in your resources for better quality while balancing it with the prices you charge.
Create an Online Ordering Experience
Convenience is a major determining factor when customers are choosing where to eat. Over the last several years, many businesses added take-out as an option where it had never existed before to keep up with new consumer demands. While this was an intelligent way to adapt and keep customers interested, many businesses stopped short of the next step; online ordering. More and more customers are looking for the convenience of online ordering. Gone are the days when everyone called the restaurant to place an order for take-out. Now, many businesses offer convenient apps for a faster and more user-friendly experience. Even if you don’t have the resources for an app, creating an order feature on your website could lead to growth in your customer base and sales.
How Will You Stand Out From the Competition?
As mentioned before, the dining industry is very competitive. Depending on your location, you could have hundreds of other restaurants in the area competing for the same customers that you are. Even in small towns, there could be several cafes worth visiting in addition to your own.
To gain a competitive advantage, you need to be willing to adopt new measures that can take your business to the next level, satisfying your current customers and bringing in new guests. Whether that means expanding your menu, using QR codes for faster customer experiences, investing in quality products strategically, or adding an online ordering system, you need to create a customer experience that is memorable and convinces them to look forward to their next visit.