Running a successful restaurant can be an incredibly complex process. As one of the most competitive industries, there will always be a brand new culinary business venture opening, claiming to be bigger and better than anything diners have experienced in the past.

With this in mind, it remains imperative to be innovative and come up with new ways to make a statement. Our guide on how to make your restaurant stand out is filled with inspiration, guaranteed to entice customers and outshine competitors.

Ideas On How To Make Your Restaurant Stand Out

Before you can begin creating a plan of action, it is vital to spend time identifying your exact target audience. Regardless of whether you an established or start-up restaurant, understanding who you aim to draw in remains crucial. Determining who you intend to attract will enable you to tailor each component of your brand to meet the ever-changing needs. Your food, staff, interior design and customer service all work together to create a brand, so you need to set objectives to guarantee success.

When pinpointing your ‘ideal customer’, several aspects must be considered, including the following:

  • Demographics – First, understand your local community and their needs. Try to track down the most popular age group, profession, income, and whether the area is predominantly business or residential orientated.
  • Competition – Use competitors to your advantage. Visit those who you strive to be like and take inspiration from not only what is working for them, but also what isn’t.
  • Existing Customers – If you are an established restaurant, observe your regular customers. Ask yourself questions such as how long do they stay for? How many courses do they order? What are the most popular dishes? What is the average age of customers?

Once you have deciphered the above, you can begin building a target audience profile, including all of your research. All ideas mentioned below can then be tailored to suit your chosen profile.

Busy chefs

Embrace Technology

In the ever-growing digital age, technology plays a pivotal role in everyday life. It is now more important than ever for you to digitalise your business as much as possible, regardless of your industry.

There are many different ways that technology can be implemented in your restaurant, the first of which should always be social media. According to Statista, there are now over two billion social network users across the globe, so use this to your advantage. As a restaurant, channels that allow you to share photos and run promotions or competitions are ideal. Due to this, we suggest beginning your journey by creating a Facebook and Instagram page. Facebook is a channel that every demographic will use, which means that you can’t really go wrong. Whereas, Instagram is all about high-quality, mouthwatering photos of dishes that will entice customers to visit your restaurant. Keep in mind that social media content must be sharable, you want people to see your page and forward it onto their friends, and so on. Toast has put together a super helpful article on the best examples of restaurant social media marketing – ideal for inspiration!

Another fantastic way that you can draw in customers via technology is through emails. Emails make it exceptionally easy to follow up on repeat customers, providing them with an invitation to revisit that they simply cannot refuse. When it comes to email marketing, one of the biggest hurdles will be collecting customer emails in the first place. Unlike a shop, you are unlikely to be sending e-receipts or accepting online orders. This means that one of the online ways would be through an online booking system or signing up for a newsletter. More information on how to attract customers through email marketing can be found on Optinmonster.

Woman on phone in restaurant

Improve Kerb Appeal

As a business, first impressions count. During busy periods such as at the weekend or school holidays, a substantial percentage of diners will be visitors to the area. They will not be familiar with your branding, which means that the exterior of your restaurant will be the deciding factor towards whether they opt to step inside. Due to this, it is imperative to ensure that your kerb appeal reflects the quality of your business.

Kerb appeal relates to the attractiveness of your property and how visitors perceive it. As a restaurant, you should use your theme to your advantage, making it immediately apparent to customers that you are offering a unique experience. Cladding spraying can be used to transform your exterior panels to the colour of your choice, creating a seamless, clean appearance. You could even consider replicating the exterior scheme inside with the addition of a foodsafe coating to keep your restaurant meeting the highest hygiene rating.

A popular method of creating an inviting atmosphere for passersby is to give a sneak peek into the interior of your restaurant. If you have large windows, ensure that the view inside is appealing. Avoid having windows that peer into the kitchen as this is often a disorganised, messy area. Instead, allow potential customers to see the main seating area, with tidy, nicely decorated tables.

Exceptional Staff

While spending time creating a welcoming, visually-appealing atmosphere is vital; without quality staff, your hard work becomes relatively futile. Staff are the forefront of every business; they reflect the companies ethos, traits and personality, which means that they must be carefully selected.

It is important to be incredibly thorough during the recruitment process. While, at first, you may feel as if you are increasingly picky, ensuring that you hire the right candidate from the get-go will save both time and money. It means that you can spend time training individuals to work to their best ability, preparing them to deal with every situation with a level-head and provide the highest level of customer service attainable. For more great tips on how to create a fantastic team of restaurant staff, take a look at The Balance Small Business.

Drinks waiters

Host Pop-Up Dinners

Standing out from the crowd is all about thinking outside the box, taking chances and being brave. Many restaurant owners are often a little dubious about hosting a pop-up dinner, but it is one of the best ways to entice new customers and create a buzz around your brand. There are two different ways that you can adopt the ‘pop-up’ method; you can either invite a guest chef to your restaurant for the evening or hire a food booth to a local event.

The thought of inviting a guest chef to your kitchen can be a little overwhelming but should be used to your advantage. Every chef has their own unique traits, which means that they can take some of the favourite dishes on your menu and transform the flavours. You could even consider creating a one-off menu for the evening, perhaps alongside a quirky theme, promoting it as a unique experience for diners that make a reservation. The public is always intrigued to sample speciality dishes that are only available for a limited time, making it a great way to outshine competitors.

Hiring a booth at a local event is also a great way to get your name out there and known to the world. While many do require an initial fee to secure a place, you will most definitely make a profit and gain exposure for your restaurant. Pop-up stalls are the ideal opportunity to test out new ideas for your menu; you could even ask customers to give their feedback on particular dishes that you are considering adding. When searching for local events, we suggest taking a look online at Eventbrite. Alternatively for food-related functions, head over to Food Festival Finder.

Mini burger stall

Experiment With Quirky Presentation

As mentioned previously, the world now revolves around social media. If a friend uploads a photo of cleverly presented food that looks delicious, you instantly feel the urge to visit to investigate for yourself. Presentation is key in showcasing your expertise, which means that you should always be on the lookout for quirky presentation ideas. Spend time being creative and coming up with new ideas to make your restaurant stand out from the crowd. Perhaps consider arranging a brainstorming meeting with all members of staff, along with chefs where you can sample a selection of new dishes.

When considering presentation, opt for ideas that encapsulate your theme. It is ideal for creating a lasting impression on customers, who will then recommend you to friends and family members. Biz Bash has a great article on top restaurant food presentation ideas.

Child-Friendly Environment

While a child-friendly restaurant may not be for everyone, it is a proven way to increase the number of diners that walk through the door. Making dining easier for both parents and children needn’t be a tricky task and is a relatively cost-effective update to make to your restaurant. If you are located in an area that is a hotspot for holidaymakers, then creating a child-friendly atmosphere is guaranteed to make a profit. Some ideas on how to attract families include the following:

  • Larger Tables – Ensure that you have plenty of four to six-seat tables, with the option to put tables together for larger parties. Don’t forget to provide the option for highchairs.
  • Activities – Whether you opt for paper tablecloths or activity placemats with crayons, colouring activities are always a fantastic way to keep children entertained. To go the extra mile, you could even create a games corner.
  • Earlybird Discounts – Use your quietest hours of the day to attract families. Parents are more likely to be swayed towards a quiet restaurant where they can allow children to have a little more freedom. Consider running discounts to entice families during non-peak hours with a menu created specifically for younger diner.
  • Children’s Dinnerware – Children love anything that is filled with their favourite, recognisable characters; it is a great way to get them excited at the thought of visiting a restaurant. Online retailers such as Becky + Lolo have a generous selection of child-proof dinnerware sets.

Family out for dinner

Make A Lasting Impression On Customers!

Standing out from the crowd and outshining competitors is all about constant innovation. Aim always to bring customers something that they cannot find elsewhere and will encourage them to feel eager to revisit. If you experiment with a method and it doesn’t quite work how you had anticipated, don’t feel disheartened. The ability to trial and error is one of the key aspects of being an innovator. Do not be afraid to think outside the box and make bold statements.

We hope that you have found out tips helpful, if so, why not share on social media?