How to Handle Rising Competition in Your Restaurant

By Alex Fainblum

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For years your restaurant was the only game in town. You offered the best burger for miles, the most authentic Indian food, the most inventive cocktails, etc. With no competition in sight, it was easy to satisfy your customers and make some serious profit.

That is, it was easy until the competition moved in. The laundromat next door is now a great burger place like yours, and the bookstore on the other side is now a specialty restaurant that is, quite frankly, kick ass.

Don’t let new restaurants steal your spotlight. Take back all the light with the help of these tips.

1. Mark Your Territory

Great service, food, and decor may come and go, but your history is set in stone. Use it to set you apart from rising competitors in your neighborhood.

Take customers on a trip down memory lane by showing them what your venue was like on opening day. Frame old pictures and hang them on your restaurant’s walls, post them on your website, and make them a part of your social media strategy.

For example, United Bakers Dairy Restaurant has included a history lesson alongside the old pictures shared on their site. Their origin story is a full part of their brand and lets customers know they were the first in their neighborhood to do what they do best.

Your long-time loyal customers will appreciate the blast from the past, and your new customers will know your brand as a community staple.

2. Join the Community

Do local businesses gather as a collective to do philanthropic work? Join in on the good vibes. You’ll be helping out your community and improving your corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices.

Here are some CSR activities your restaurant can get involved in:

  • Donate a percentage of your earnings to a charity of your choice
  • Set up donation boxes in front of your cashier
  • Host an exclusive event at your venue
  • Sponsor local events and games (with food and drink)

3. Stay Relevant

The restaurant industry is always changing – so keep yourself informed! Make sure you’re subscribed to restaurant magazines, blogs, and social media accounts that will keep you updated on changes that can impact your business. For example, TikTok marketing for restaurants is bigger than ever before, so consider following your favorite creators to stay updated on the latest video promotional trends.

You want to stay true to your roots but also relevant to your customers, so make sure you add your own twist on the industry’s newest trends. Didn’t think your Italian restaurant could jump on the latest health craze? Think again. Add some handmade zucchini pasta to your menu, or start offering cauliflower crust pizza. Always have fresh veggies and lean protein on hand to satisfy any customer’s diet.

Make sure to integrate technology into your restaurant operations, and don’t be afraid of change. Get a POS that’s easy to use for you and your staff, and that will tell you new things about your business that you can take action on.  

New competition doesn’t need to run you out of your restaurant’s neighborhood – make your history known by becoming part of the community and never losing touch with your roots. Locals will love your venue for its authenticity.

Photo of Alex Fainblum
by Alex Fainblum

Alex is a Marketing Coordinator at TouchBistro where she writes about food and restaurant dining experiences. She’s a lover of all things chocolate covered but her true passion lies in late-night eating.

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