There is a time and a place for mystery. Agatha Christie has sold more than two billion books, escape rooms are booming in popularity, and there are dozens of successful whodunits on TV. The surprises that often accompany a mysterious situation give us a boost of dopamine much like exercise or caffeine can.
Even in the dining experience, there is room for the element of surprise -- a salty finish to a sweet dessert, an unexpected note of cinnamon in a hearty dish, or a curious flavor you just can’t put your finger on in your cocktail.
Mystery isn’t always welcome at the dinner table, though. Consistency is king when it comes to repeat business. And no matter how long your eatery has been in operation, the consistency and success achieved by major national brands are unparalleled. That’s not necessarily something to bemoan. Rather, it’s an opportunity for you and your business.
Brands Give Your Guests a Peace of Mind
The dining experience begins before a single order is ever taken. The moment a guest is seated, the table itself starts to inform their expectations. Do you want them to see a generic yellow squeeze bottle with who knows what kind of mustard inside? A crusty vial of mystery hot sauce? Do you really want your guests asking questions about the decisions you make over the little details before they take a glance at the menu? Or would you rather them look at your tabletop and have peace of mind knowing that you use quality products.
The large, national brand name products we all use on a daily basis are massively successful for a multitude of reasons. They have stood the test of time thanks to years of consistency, successful marketing, and customer loyalty.
When guests order a Coca-Cola, they know exactly what they’re getting. There’s a certain warmth that comes from taking that first sip and reliving that “first sip” experience over and over again. That’s the power of a product that’s been unchanged for decades, paired with a massive marketing department. It’s something a generic replacement simply cannot replicate.
Same goes for the rest of your restaurant’s products.
Let those big names get out in front and set the pace for you while you draft behind them. That famous yellow bottle of French’s mustard or the unmistakable orange hue of Frank’s RedHot sauce can answer questions before they even pop into your guests’ heads. If nothing else, it’ll put their mind at ease that your restaurant doesn’t sacrifice quality.
If this may seem like an easy shortcut, it’s because it is. When 76% of consumers are more likely to dine in a restaurant that partners with leading brands*, the familiar comfort of time-tested brand names is invaluable. Tabletop accouterments can represent a significant portion of any restaurant’s food cost, so the ability to have an expense pull double duty as a marketable asset is a blessing.
Driving Traffic with Brand Partnerships
We’ve established the good that an instantly-recognizable name can do for you once your diners are seated, but what about getting them in the building in the first place? How can your partnerships drive hungry diners to your tables?
It’s no hidden secret that Americans love food. More than baseball or football could ever hope to be, eating is our true national pastime. Now with fall sports in full swing, adding a little friendly competition to your venue with a Wing Bowl or hot dog eating contest can bring hordes of hungry customers to you. Don’t forget, those champion eaters will need plenty of beverages to wash down their feasts.
Using one of your national partners to sponsor and promote these events help you reach a wider audience and again add that warm embrace of consumer confidence. To really sweeten the deal, try working with your suppliers’ sales representatives to see if they can help offset the costs of running the event or even pony up some prizes. Many already have a slew of promotions to choose from and run at no cost and little effort on your behalf.
The extra appeal and legitimacy that a name brand can bring to your event cannot be overstated. When promotional materials feature a phrase as simple as “sponsored by French’s” it instantly ties that brand’s goodwill to your restaurant. Potential guests unfamiliar with your business now already have a positive connection to it.
We all know how powerful word of mouth is when boosting your customer base, so why not use the biggest mouth that can reach the largest audience?
* Study from HEINEKEN USA Internal Research, based on imports’ increased profitability over DPLs