How Your Small Restaurant Can Dine with the Big Chains
National chain restaurants may seem to have the advantage when it comes to competing against small, local restaurants. It’s easy to yield to the big chain restaurants and their extravagant marketing techniques when sometimes it feels like your small business is just trying to stay afloat. However, do not lose sight of what makes your restaurant unique because you can make the power of chain restaurants into their downfall.
In this article we discuss:
- Beat Your Competitor at Their Own Game
- Personality Makes the Money
- Let Technology Make Money While You Sleep
Chain restaurants have everything from food to experience and marketing down to a science. Part of what can make a chain restaurant seem so intimidating is this large identity that is branded everywhere you go. The marketing of the brand is so professional and widespread that the restaurant easily achieves publicity. They have pre-built menus, sometimes with international accommodations. They have strong existing vendor relationships that allow a constant supply of consistent ingredients. Finally, as if that weren’t enough, chain restaurants know exactly how to run themselves. They know their customer’s preferences and have set protocols for how to best serve customers. At first glance, chain restaurants appear like well-oiled machines that are impossible to compete with. However, even a perfect machine cannot give that personal touch. That is where local restaurants come in.
Beat Your Competitor at Their Own Game
While it may seem those big chain restaurants are unbeatable, research actually shows that independent restaurants are set to outpace chains. According to Bloomberg, individual restaurants should grow at a 5% rate per year while chains will only grow by 3% per year. This means chains are not so invincible as they seem. Even big chain restaurants have their downfalls, namely in their tight constraints that limit their adjustability. Once you understand their weaknesses, you can focus on what you have that the big chains do not. As an independent business, you have the ability to change and adapt menus without answering to a corporation. You can pursue local or niche vendors and support other small businesses like yourself. Most importantly, you can have direct interaction with customers, creating strong customer loyalty and satisfaction data that will improve the quality of your food and service.
Personality Makes the Money
Take advantage of the independence you have as a small restaurant. As a small business, you know what kind of people will visit your restaurant. Use this information to come up with new and interesting menu items that will pleasantly surprise your customers. Introduce menu items that will give your restaurant a clear identity and set it apart from others. Daily specials are a great way to create variety and keep your customers coming back, while “homemade” or “signature” menu items allow you to put your own unique flare on a modern dish. Also, to take advantage of your local flavor, you should consider choosing local food suppliers. The local food movement is still growing, and this a significant strength independent restaurants have that chains do not. By using locally grown food, you can both add to your local restaurant presence as well as increase your food quality, greatly outmatching big chains. You also have the opportunity to make your restaurant shine through community engagement. A local business can be personal.
Let Technology Make the Money While You Sleep
A major downfall of small, local restaurants compared to big chains is that they lack a strong digital presence. Technology proves to be a critical arsenal in business warfare, you just need to know where to use your weapons. Customers need to see some sort of digital presence for your restaurant to verify service quality and food quality. Creating a “digital storefront” is a tactic to generate revenue through online ordering and expand your customer reach. Branded, mobile menus for in-person dining is also a huge bonus for both customers and your business because it allows you to serve more tables by increasing order speed, thus increasing revenue. It’s important that your customers can find you online, so make use of the digital marketing channels whether it be through email, text, or social media platforms to provide special offers and updates.
When it comes to tech solutions for your business, navigating the field can be overwhelming; Skipli streamlines the digitization process by providing online ordering, mobile menus, digital/print marketing, and website design which give your restaurant major assets to pose as a threat to big chains. It’s no easy challenge going against big corporations with money and power, but with the right resources and strategies, your small business can become fierce competition.