Nothing is certain in life. Something common, however, is the propensity people have to stay within their comfort zones. This is a fatal character flaw in the restaurant industry. Julia Gillard sums up the need for innovation well when she says: “Our future growth relies on competitiveness and innovation, skills and productivity… and these in turn rely on the education of our people.” It is important to keep up with the changing landscape by seeking out innovative practices.
Let Them See
Typically, the kitchen is off limits to guests. However, the modern day consumer is much more interested in the ingredient list going into their meals and the preparation practices involved. Consider an open floor concept when designing the flow of your restaurant. If guests can see things running smoothly, they will rest easier. An additional perk is the necessity for your staff to always be on their A-game, in light of their audience.
If restructuring your floor plan is out of the question, consider other methods of transparency, such as easily accessible ingredient lists. Millennials in particular are very concerned about what they eat. Any effort towards transparency won’t go unappreciated.
Talk About Yourself
The modern culture, particularly Millennials, are interested in the story behind the service or product they buy. When marketing your restaurant, don’t focus on what you offer but rather why you offer it. For example, say you offer hamburgers. Rather than saying, “we offer delicious hamburgers” say instead, “our hamburgers are made with organic ingredients and my grandmother’s recipe because we want to share the joy of home-cooking.” While the overall taste and quality of the meal is important, modern day consumers are more likely to consider a meal experience as positive if they associate it with a compelling story.
Don’t Give Them Space
Creating a tightly designed dining area might not always be the best approach; however, if you are catering to Millennials, it could be a major selling point. Millennials are known as a “connected” and “open-minded” generation. Further, given the large amounts of their life which is consumed by screen time, Millennials are also on the lookout for new ways to enter into meaningful human interactions. One example of this is social dining: the opportunity for guests to be matched up with other guests to share a meal. While this may seem like a strange dynamic, it is gaining traction. If you are feeling bold, implement a testing period where you provide guests the option to be matched up with meal-mates. It just might turn into one of your best selling points.
These particular suggestions might not be a good fit for your restaurant; however, the universal principle at play is applicable to all: be innovative and open to new creative methods of operating. This is the key to longevity.
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