Have you heard of 'destination dining'? The idea of turning your foodservice venue into more than just a place to eat is a relatively new concept, but it's one that has incredible potential and is on an upward trend. To help you put your venue on the map, we've put together a quick guide on how to make your restaurant a destination.
Customers are often drawn to restaurants that offer an experience as well as delicious and sought-after menu items. A great 'destination dining' venue will have enough appeal that customers will opt to go out of their way to eat there.
To help make your restaurant a destination, here are a few of our top tips:
1. Identify the Gap in Your Area
Every local area will have some sort of gap in their culinary offerings and there is always opportunity for you to stand out from your competitors, whether your venue is an inner-city pub or seafood restaurant on the water.
Different events and offerings will draw in different customers and it's important to know your local area's interests and desired experiences. For example, if your venue is located inner-city and open til late, fun offerings like themed or weekly trivia events are a great way to entertain your guests and make your restaurant more of a destination.
Additionally, events like trivia will encourage bigger groups of guests to your venue and will have your guests staying in your venue longer, resulting in higher sales and larger table bills.
Other events that can help make your restaurant more of destination include cooking classes, wine tastings, or special limited-time menus, such as Christmas in July.
For event marketing tools, check out our free resources here.
2. Partner with Local Businesses
Cross-promotion is an excellent way to create more of a buzz around your restaurant and increase interest in your menu. Some local businesses that can provide great cross-promotional opportunities include tourist attractions, local food producers, farmer's markets, hotels, dessert venues and wineries/breweries.
If you're able to partner with foodservice businesses like dessert venues or wineries, a great way to collaborate and increase the profile of your business is to run an event together, such as a cooking class or wine and food pairing night.
You can also partner with local businesses by featuring on their websites (or having them feature on yours), or participating in street food festivals or markets.
3. Introduce Signature Menu Items
A well-crafted and unique menu is essential for you to stand out from your competitors, especially in a market as competitive as the foodservice industry. A regularly updated menu with new items introduced every 4-8 weeks is a great way to keep customer engagement and interest high.
Creating unique, signature dishes that guests won't be able to find anywhere else can be a very strong marketing tool and can encourage customers to visit your restaurant and experience your exclusive menu items. For more foodservice venue marketing tips, see our article here.
Incorporating local and seasonal ingredients into your menu can also add an element of freshness and sustainability, and be a great selling point for your venue. See our article here for the top benefits of using seasonal produce in your venue.
4. Create a Unique Ambiance
The exterior and interior design of your venue can significantly impact your venue's success and it's ability to be more of a destination than just a restaurant.
A great destination restaurant will have a unique ambiance and creativity to the design and decoration of the venue. Many restaurant owners will consider working with skilled interior designers who can create an atmosphere that complements your menu and culinary style.
The design and ambiance of your restaurant can also help tell your restaurant's story or your cuisine's origin place, such as Italy or France. Many customers are drawn to places that have a narrative to share and an environment that gives them the full experience.