For any business to flourish, it is imperative to focus on what are the ideal results that would deliver the experience and brand ethos which we are aiming to achieve. In the restaurant business too, it is important to know what this is. What is it that you really aim to deliver? The most obvious answers would be food and beverage or a meal experience. But if one gets into the depth of it — we deliver human emotions through the meal experience which would eventually sustain the brand loyalty.

Humans, by our very nature, are emotional beings. It is the depth of our emotions that sets us apart from other animals on the planet. If we realise that emotions are vital, then how can the owners of the restaurant business afford to have a careless attitude to the factors of emotions that come into play and drive sales, and thereby ensure greater levels of success?

One needs to realise that human emotion can be a major contributing factor that brings customer loyalty into play for the restaurant. It is important to make your presence felt in supporting community initiatives through innovative and out of the box marketing strategies.

Story continues below
Advertisement

We all know that all the customers who frequent a restaurant are not local residents. There is a wide market of food enthusiasts who are all eager to try something creative and new flavours of the region. When tourists travel – they generally are exploratory and adventurous to try the local food. Locally sourced ingredients — organic in nature — could be the highlight on your menu to excite such clients. Social media would be a great platform to put your unique menu in the spotlight to attract such culinary adventurists into your outlet.

Another known fact is that the strength of emotions can also be a weakness. The mood changes in different situations and sometimes in a split second the emotion can swing from one extreme to the other. This is where clarity of focus on something that is familiar can play a vital role. When the customers bond with a familiar item on the menu, it can be the star attraction. For example, we all have fond memories from our childhood days of food prepared by our mother. Some of the menu item names can immediately trigger an emotional response. Such a homely food emotion can work wonders for the business — and a creative chef can really drive this home.

An innovative marketing technique which has brought rich dividends is the ‘limited period offer’. People tend to rush to a spot when they feel that they might miss out on something if they do not make it on time. This is how happy hour menus draw clients in with great success. The enticing effect of such menus must not be under-estimated; one must not make the big blunder of reducing the price of regular menu items to bring in the desired footfall. Always create a special menu with creative and unique offering for a limited period. This would ensure both parties win in the end.

Remember to also deliver the extra mile and go beyond expectations. Adding a bit extra — and going out of the way in over-delivering the promise can create a surprise factor which can go a long way in creating an emotional bonding to the brand. Creative concepts such as ‘take away gifts’ such as healthy oatmeal cookies or chocolates from the chef can bring in the surprise element. Such marketing thoughts would create the excitement the business needs.

The most important of all human emotions is the attachment or human connect to the brand; guests can sometimes feel as if they are part of the brand. This is what customer loyalty is all about and sometimes can last even after generations pass by. This factor makes your business stand out from the crowd and ensures that there is a lifetime of relationship with the clients.

When marketing focus shifts from the product and caters to the emotional bonding, the opportunities for the brand reach unparalleled levels, and make your brand truly outstanding.

About the Author: With more than 28 years of hospitality experience globally, Naim Maadad is the founding CEO of Gates Hospitality, which owns and operates hospitality concepts including Ultra Brasserie, The Black Lion Public House & Dining, Bistro des Arts, Reform Social & Grill, Publique and Folly by Nick & Scott. It has ownership of Six Senses Zighy Bay. Contact: Naim@gateshospitality.com