Alignable is a networking platform that can help you meet other business owners nearby or anywhere in North America. As a restaurant owner, you may be wondering why network with other business owners?
With the help of restaurant owners, we've listed 5 ways you can work with local businesses to help reach more customers. Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below!
1. Connect with gyms to reach health-conscious customers:
If you're a restaurant serving health-conscious patrons, getting to know the owners of local gyms might pump up customer visits.
Sweet Green knows this well. They tend to open restaurants close to places where healthy people hangout... like gyms. Here in Boston, both in the Prudential Center and in Newton, Sweet Green opened 2 restaurants in front of Equinox gyms so that people can grab a salad post-workout.
If you own a smoothie shop or any restaurant that targets health-conscious customers, consider partnering with your local gym, where you can promote the gym's membership within your restaurant, and you can offer discounts on meals to gym members. Your restaurant would attract the gym's customers, and the gym can gain new ones through your space.
2. Work with local hotels:
A few months ago I drove down to New York from Boston and had the pleasure of staying at a fantastic hotel with concierge service. Because Mexican food one of my favorite cuisines, I asked the concierge what the best taco place nearby was.
The concierge recommended a restaurant that was just a couple of blocks away that had recently opened. We came out of the restaurant very satisfied and thinking already of the next time we could come back to have some more of their great food.
As a restaurant owner, by connecting with and inviting local hotel managers or concierge teams to your restaurant for a complimentary meal helps them get to know you and what you have to offer. They'll be more likely to share what you are all about and refer your restaurant to their hotel guests.
The hotel wins because their guests are happy and satisfied. Thus, increasing their opinion of their hotel stay, increasing the likelihood of a return visit, and providing the hotel with another way they can differentiate themselves from others.
3. Offer your space for local events and meetups:
Our Head of Design here at Alignable organizes a monthly meet-up for local web designers, UI & UX designers, and other designers for networking and design thinking workshops (if you're in Boston, check it out here). He was able to partner with a restaurant across the street that had an extensive bar and tabletop space where meet up attendees could freely discuss design and enjoy some drinks from the bar.
Ryan was able to find a space where he could host his meet up without any cost to him, and the restaurant was able to fill their space with people who would purchase beer and snacks while they networked.
If you have an extra event space or a slow time of day you're looking to book, let people in your community know there are certain times they can use it for free (excluding food and beverages). Restaurant owners looking to build up their clientele have hosted networking events with event planners, wedding planners, and local business groups. We also see them offering their space for fashion shows and launch events by partnering with local fashion designers or jewelry stores.
Whatever the event may be, as a restaurant owner, networking with local business owners will likely result in business owners looking to host some of their business events in your space.
Connect with businesses that organize events on Alignable here.
4. Support local artists:
I was recently convinced to drive to Philadelphia where someone had recommended a Mexican barbacoa tacos place in South Philly called South Philly Barbacoa (Yes, I told you Mexican was my favorite cuisine). You might recognize their name as the owner Cristina Martinez was featured on Netflix's Chef's Table. After waiting for our food to be ready, they sat us down at our table where we realized that all over the walls were photographs taken by a local photographer for sale.
With all of the success the restaurant was having from being featured on the show, they were able to help the local photographer gain visibility as well.
As a restaurant owner you wan to create a great experience for your guests, and a lot of that experience can be shaped by how your restaurant looks and is decorated. Local artists are always looking to gain exposure to their art, photographs or sculptures. If you're looking to change what your restaurant looks and feels like, or if looking to open a new restaurant, partnering with local artists to display their art in your space is a great way for you to cost-effectively decorate your space, while also helping the local artist.
Connect with Artists and Photographers on Alignable here.
5. Find local ingredients and wines by networking with local farmers and vineyards:
Networking with local farms and vineyards could not only help you find better ingredients for the dishes that you offer, but you can also gain an edge on the competition by marketing your restaurant as locally sourced when you source from local farms. They can also help you gain access to seasonal ingredients. Some restaurants could even host partnered events with farms to promote some of the main ingredients the farm produces among local consumers.
Improving and maintaining the quality of the food you serve (and your customer experience) should always be a priority. The better the food, the more word of mouth you will create for your business. Ultimately helping you attract more customers in the long-run. And by promoting the ingredients that local farms offer, it helps prop up demand for the same ingredients at local supermarkets, ultimately helping local farmers grow their business as well.
If you have other ideas, share them in the comment section below!