To regularly find customers for your restaurant and sustain your success, you must surprise, differentiate yourself, stand out from the crowd. This is especially true nowadays, even as consumption habits change very often . The solution ?
Innovate = launch new products to bring about change.
A restaurant which is experiencing a period of insufficient occupancy must introduce new elements to start filling its tables again. Just like a restaurant which, on the contrary, has a full house, it must be one step ahead of its competitors to be able to maintain itself. It is for this reason that innovation has always played a fundamental role in catering, and today more than ever.
One interesting aspect is that contemporary innovation is directly linked to the ability to spot customer needs and find a solution to meet them. Let us cite the case of the very first restaurant to have accepted to welcome customers’ dogs , or the first to have offered free wifi to its customers . These are innovative strategies that arose out of new consumer needs and that have given breathtaking results.
To innovate, you have to know how to listen
Active Watch is a concept that refers to constantly monitoring changes in the lifestyle of clients . In this regard, restaurants wishing to innovate must listen and observe, both in the real world and in the digital space, the motivations, opinions , actions and above all the demands of customers.
Therefore, before defining what to introduce into a restaurant to find new customers, it is a good idea to actively listen to consumers and answer questions like these:
- What are customers in my neighborhood, in my locality, in my area of action asking? And what do tourists want?
- How can I improve the customer experience in my restaurant?
Imagine a restaurant specializing in family cuisine, located in a university district, teeming with millennials from morning to night. Logically, it would be in his interest to exploit this customer segment, but what elements could he introduce to fill the house? An active watch on social networks will allow him to extract important data, by revealing for example that a high percentage of these customers are passionate about video games and that if they can play in a restaurant during their meal, then they will. will attend every day. Do you have the answer ! If the establishment changes its storytelling and is transformed into a thematic place focused on video games, by adapting its gastronomic offer, its atmosphere and its service, it has every chance of being sold out, and it will have innovated compared to its competitors.
This is what the restaurant The Advocado Show in Amsterdam did. After having carried out an active watch to find its prospects, it ended up becoming the very first European restaurant specializing in avocado and it innovated on an entire market. The restaurant had realized that avocado was a trendy gourmet product in Europe, and that customers were starting to demand it regularly. He therefore put it on the menu, paying attention to quality, with a view to a healthy philosophy . Its innovation approach paid off and found a positive echo among customers.
Simplifying the customer’s life also means innovating
Of course, innovating also involves the introduction of new technologies in the restaurant, the desired goal being more simplicity and convenience for customers. Paying the bill with your mobile phone is thus one of the services that everything indicates that it will become a habit. This is a natural consequence of our new digital way of life, which now allows us to manage everything with a mobile or other digital device.
And, if this technology has become natural and intuitive for customers, another tool is starting to follow suit and is also about to become a habit: the digital card. Available on the customer’s mobile phone or on a tablet provided by the restaurant, it allows you to discover the gastronomic offer, nutritional information and indications on allergens. Some maps even display 3D representations of the dishes .
This is the case of the Bar à Huîtres de Paris , where customers are given tablets instead of the traditional paper menu , and can consult various screens to discover and choose the dishes. It is a more complete experience, which reveals to them in the smallest details what is concocted in the kitchen.
3D printing dishes to find customers
And since we are talking about innovation in modern catering, it is inevitable to mention gastronomy in 3D. Restaurants that print food? Yes, you read that right. A proposal for the less curious and which is likely to dazzle customers. And that’s what it is all about: using creativity to impress, because customers seek experiences that impact their five senses when they eat out.
The Food Ink company , whose slogan is Taste Tomorrow Today, has been commissioned by several European restaurants to carry out these experiments. Result: the chefs of these establishments offer unusual gastronomic menus produced using a 3D printer. In Barcelona, they collaborated with the team of the Yours restaurant and served a 12-course dinner that left all the guests speechless.
It is clear that the big challenge for restaurants is to adapt their services to the needs and requirements of customers, who are also looking for personalized experiences using cutting-edge technologies. This is the reason why in modern catering, the most coveted professionals are those who, in addition to their skills in cooking or restaurant management, are able to carry out marketing actions and effectively use digital tools, as shown by the survey carried out by LAVIÑA and TheFork on new profiles sought in the sector.
This is a challenge that concerns all players in the exciting world of gastronomy, because companies like TheFork must also constantly improve the tools they offer , to keep up with the changes in the sector.
To innovate, it is also essential for the restaurant to be active on the Internet, to communicate with customers on social networks and to apply marketing strategies on a daily basis.
We therefore hope that innovation will come to form an integral part of your restaurant management, so that you can offer extraordinary experiences to your customers and that they return it to you by showing you unfailing loyalty.
We are already tomorrow, so let’s go, go for it!