Restaurant food consumption is on the rise in New York City, meaning your venue has more opportunity than ever before to appeal to potential customers. The average New Yorker eats out more than five times per week — can you say cha ching!?
With thousands of restaurants to choose from, it can be difficult to reach your intended customers in such a heavily saturated marketplace. Before you start planning your retirement as a multi-millionaire Danny Meyer 2.0, arm yourself with the tools you’ll need to make a lasting impression on the New York restaurant market.
There are more than 24,000 restaurants in New York City, but not all of them appeal to every customer. As a business owner and culinary visionary, it’s your job to know who you’re catering to.
For example, if your restaurant is a high-end steakhouse near Wall Street, your target customers are most likely going to be business people who dine during lunch and dinner meetings. Your hours of operation, decor, price point, ambiance, and service must appeal to this demographic of people. If your music is too loud, for instance, business-minded customers will take their lunch meetings elsewhere.
Many restaurant owners don’t take the time to properly understand their customers so they can customize their dining experience. Here are some questions that will help you shape your target market:
Once you answer these questions, you’ll be able to identify your target market, competition, and your market differentiator.
If you want your restaurant to be successful, you have to offer customers something beyond your menu. It may be your dream to open an inexpensive, pizza-by-the-slice shop, but if there are already a plethora of other similar restaurants within close proximity offering the same thing, how will you stand out from the crowd?
Here are some questions to answer when carving out your niche:
When you answer these questions, you’ll begin to zero in on your market differentiator so you can strengthen it and do it better than everyone else.
Now that you know what differentiates you from your competition, do something creative to get noticed.
Pietro Nolita is situated within a sea of brick and concrete. The entire venue, however, is painted bright pink, on the inside and outside . A large “Pietro Nolita” neon sign hangs outside of the venue above the stairs, and passersby can’t walk down the block without noticing the restaurant.
Now, don’t panic. There’s no need to run to your nearest Home Depot in search of the brightest gallon of paint you can find. There are other, more subtle ways to make a splash in the market:
When your restaurant stands out (for all the right reasons) prospective customers will notice, and you’ll see an increase in your traffic and sales.
A quick and easy way to ensure your restaurant stands out against its competition is to create a memorable slogan. Your slogan will offer target customers a quick pitch about your brand and restaurant.
Here are some tips to consider when creating your restaurant’s slogan:
By creating a memorable slogan, your restaurant and brand will always be top of mind when your target market is dining out.
At this point you know your target customers and what makes your venue unique. Now you can use your market differentiator as a selling point when advertising to your intended niches.
But first you have to figure out how to reach your target audience. To do this you’ll need to imagine life from their perspective.
You can start by asking yourself these questions:
For example, if your target customers are social media savvy people who enjoy posting everything they eat for likes and shares, you’ll need to create an Instagram account and post daily. Posting beautiful, mouthwatering photos of your menu items with trending hashtags will enable you to quickly and instantly reach your customer base.
Or maybe your target customers are vegans who advocate against animal cruelty and harmful food additives. For these consumers you’ll need to make sure your brand message is in alignment with their attitudes and beliefs. For example, a simple blurb on your website and restaurant menus such as, “We believe in the ethical treatment of animals and our planet and do not feature any animal products or harmful additives in our dishes,” would speak to this audience appropriately.
Keep in mind: you’ll be most effective when you appeal to your target customers’ emotions. Make them feel like you’re one of them rather than just a business trying to gain access to their wallets.
When you go through these five steps to differentiate your brand, you’ll be able to create a memorable niche in the New York City restaurant market and increase your chances of long-term long-term success.