The hospitality industry is changing rapidly. A decade ago, restaurants and cafes could get away with good service and great food. These days, patrons expect added value, a remarkable experience and great service and food.
The rise of online consumer review sites (such as Zomato) has given customers the power to make or break an establishment. Social media reviews of hospitality locations run rampant, and those who excel at creating a buzz-worthy experience can reap the benefits with constant bookings and little need for paid advertising.
But how do you become Instagram-able? What does it really take to create a remarkable experience? Especially in an age where every main street boasts an array of choices – both in general take-away and coffee shops, trendy bars, and exclusive restaurants.
Here are the common areas where businesses excelled in that helped make them big on the online social scene:
Businesses that excel on social media all seem to have a clear target audience, and know them well. Generally, the audience is consistent with the typical demographics of the local area. But most importantly, the business does not try to be everything to everyone. Instead, they appeal to a certain age group, with a certain style, and a certain budget, and they gear the premise to impress them.
Every remarkable premise has an exceptional fitout design. It’s not that they are crazy unique, or even expensive. What matters most is how it makes customers feel. The fitout designs are built upon clever initial concepts, with a functional and efficient layout and flow – which is then finalised with honest character, creativity, and brand consistency.
If patrons are pleased with what lands in front of them on a plate, they generally take a picture and share it. Sometimes presentation alone is enough to gain momentum on social media. But if the food is delicious too, customers take to social media like bees to honey, keen to let everyone know about the amazing experience they’ve just had.
When people get great service, they feel the need to reciprocate. And in today’s world, that means comments on social media. One nice gesture from a waitperson is often enough to achieve a recommendation or mention. However, the opposite is also true. Bad service leads to swift, brutal reviews.
Branding helps customers know how to feel about a business. And this begins with advertising and extends right through to first impressions of exterior design, internal fitout, menu style, customer service and quality of food. To be a remarkable restaurant or café, you need a strong and consistent identity – and this should be woven into all aspects of your business.
Industry experts expect cafes, restaurants and takeaway food and beverage services to grow by 10.3% over the next five years. Pubs, bars and nightclubs are also expected to grow by 8.1%. So the demand is not only there; it is increasing.
And for businesses that observe the fundamentals of a remarkable establishment, there really is no limit to what they can achieve.
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