Working as a chef's assistant several kitchens while in college, I had the opportunity to learn from a few great chefs about what makes a restaurant successful. Managing a kitchen and satisfying customers is no easy feat. Restaurants, like most businesses, have to rely on a few key concepts to stay competitive and keep customers returning. The chef, in many instances, is really the brand manager for the business.
Here are a few things I learned from the kitchen that relate to marketing your brand:
- Consistency - One chef had asked me "What's the most important characteristic of the food we put out?" My answer, presumably, was "Quality." He corrected me by stating "Consistency, you aren't going to please every customer, but the ones that come back are going to have an expectation. If we put out a consistent product, that customer will always be satisfied."
Marketing Tip: brand offerings aren't for everyone as they tend to solve different problems for different people. Deliver a consistent product and your loyal customers will keep coming back.
- Create an Experience - By the time the food is served up to the customer, they have already experienced a series of observations in the restaurant. What was parking like? Were they greeted courteously by the host? What kind of music is playing and how loud is it? Was the table cleaned off before seating? There are many occurences that influence the customer's overall experience, be aware of all of them and have a plan.
Marketing Tip: When thinking about your product/service offering, consider the entire customer experience. Sometimes the little things we look over can mean a lot more to your customer.
- Presentation - "So much of the food experience is visual," a seasoned chef once told me. "It doesn't matter how good it tastes, if it looks bad they won't want it."
Marketing Tip: Spend time with the aesthetics of your business. Though your product or service may promise high quality, don't devalue it with a substandard presentation.
Apply these tips to your marketing efforts and enjoy satisfied customers. Bon appetit!