If you are running a restaurant today, you already know the market is shifting. Customers aren’t looking for the same things today that they wanted five or ten years ago. According to a report cited in USA Today, sales at chain restaurants are declining. Customers are looking for a genuine and different experience to share with friends and family.
Consumer spending is steadily shifting from things to experiences. According to GeoMarketing, millennials are leading the charge in this shift. They don’t just want to spend their money on things, but instead are looking for experiences.
Here are some ways to transform your restaurant from a transaction into an experience that will make your business stand out and keep people coming back.
Consumers will continue to seek out local businesses. It makes them feel good to support the local economy, and locally sourced food means that they may know the farm where the cheese, vegetables, or meat in their meal came from. If you serve local ingredients, note it on your menu, on a chalkboard similar to a specials board, or in some other creative way that works for you and your restaurant’s atmosphere.
Customers are seeking an atmosphere that makes them feel connected to each other and their community. Consider hosting community events and local clubs on slow evenings. Host a cookies and canvas event or yoga on the lawn. Customers choose where they are going to spend their time based on how the space makes them feel. Make your space a community gathering space and encourage those positive feelings.
Your restaurant should have a cohesive ambiance. A fireplace and cozy seating is not applicable in every scenario, but celebrating a mission, design, or idea throughout the space in a unified and genuine way is, and that is what customers are looking for. Displaying the works of local artists or celebrating something regional through your design may resonate with your customers. If customers feel like they belong in a space, they will return more often. Understand the type of customer you want to bring back and tailor your atmosphere to them. Don’t be afraid to put something in your space that sparks conversation.