Buck Trends - How to Stand Out and Get Noticed
Every year in the US, more than 1,000 independent restaurants open their doors, and many of these restaurants are embracing the ever popular farm to table trend. In order to make this trend meaningful and more than a romanticized relationship between food from a farm and nearby-ish restaurants. It seems like today, every place is ‘Farm to Something’ and it’s time to recognize that isn’t enough nor a differentiator. Everything comes from a farm, just saying it isn’t enough. What can you do to stand out from everyone else saying the same thing...
Serve food and use ingredients that you like, and ones that you find meaningful. Let your passions inspire your menu- like Sticky's in NYC whose menu is almost entirely devoted to unique+ creative chicken fingers! Today, major emphasis is placed on a brands ability to inspire interaction and storytelling among consumers, but these interactions can only really be successful if they are authentic. The culture surrounding your food is nearly as important as the food itself, make sure you emphasize both.
Everyone wants to save to the world, but we understand that you can't do everything! So be transparent with your customers don't mislabel, don't mislead, and come clean in the face of controversy. In the face of Chipotle's E. Coli outbreak, they were quick to address the crisis- this let their customers know that Chipotle was taking this breakout seriously and that they were doing everything in their power to eradicate the breakout. Being smart in this industry comes down to transparency and integrity, and if you are authentic and smart about your mission, your goals and values from the start navigating the rest will come as naturally as your food.
Millennials have an insane amount of spending power in today's economy- nearly $1.3 Trillion and expected to grow. They spend more per capita in restaurants than any generation before. Katie Couric suggests that millennials are different from previous generations because they place an emphasis on experiences rather than tangible things- make sure your restaurant is an experience to remember. People today are looking to establish relationships with brands, so think of ways to engage consumers from every angle.
Possibly the most important 'Be' on this list. Don't be afraid to be creative in all aspects of your business; in your marketing, menu design, really everything under the sun. Engage your customers in and out of the restaurant. Take, for example, one of Lemonade's most recent digital campaigns: an initiative to get customers interacting with the brand in a fresh way that was highly successful. We'd love to give away the keys but can't, it's up to you to engage with your customers in new ways.
As for creativity on your menu, don't be afraid to use your ingredients in unexpected ways. Use global cuisines to inspire your menu and set it apart from another farm to table restaurants. A new locavore restaurant in New York City, Gramercy Farmer and The Fish serves a dish called “Farmer's Sushi” which serves traditionally styled sushi fish on rectangular root vegetables from nearby farms.
It's as simple as that, educate yourself and your kitchen about the seasonal produce of your region. When you cook with fresh, peak produces you have bolder flavors in your meals and bolder marketing material to work with. What better than seasonal marketing content, fresh and ready to align with your quarterly business goals??
If you haven't done the seasonal thing now, why don't you experiment and see what happens. It's as easy as changing a few menu items up and re-marketing them. Who knows you might get some buzz!
To wrap up it's important to remember that people are trying to steal your customers. Other restaurants are opening next to you vying for the same eyeballs as you. What will help you stand out from the rest and get the attention you and your food deserves? Go big - be creative, be special and be you.