One of the things your customers will weigh when deciding where to eat is whether it is more important to them to have a great meal, or if it is more important to avoid being disappointed. The reality is, most of your customers will choose the second option, They’re willing to forego a great meal in favor of avoiding a disappointing experience. That is one of the reasons for the success of many of the national restaurant chains.
A term I have heard numerous times when discussing the national restaurant chains is “consistent mediocrity.” While the meals may not be great, they are consistent in what they serve. You may not get a fantastic meal, but you will not be disappointed very often.
When you go to one of the national chains you know what to expect when you walk through the doors; a decent meal in clean, comfortable surroundings. The food is good, and the service is usually adequate. You know that your dining experience probably will not be a disaster. These chains can deliver because they can afford to hire qualified chefs that develop the menu in the corporate test kitchens, then test the new meals in limited target markets before placing it permanently on the national menu. They also have the time and resources to develop very good training programs for their staff.
The one thing that is typically lacking in the national restaurant chain dining experience is a meal that makes you say, Yes, this is what eating is supposed to be like!”
One big advantage your restaurant has over the national chains is the ability to successfully incorporate local flair into your meals. With the national chains the food is the same whether you are in New York City or Dallas, Texas. There is very little room for regional differences.
Where national restaurants aim their menu choices to hit a broad national target, you can be more adventurous and try new and exciting recipes. You can take advantage of local ingredients and flavors, and come up with wonderful meals that may have a more limited appeal, but will knock the socks off your customers that fall into that particular niche.
If you want your restaurant to be successful, you need to build a reputation that you will deliver both. Everything you offer on your menu should be consistent. Your customers dining experience should not change based on the time of day, or who is working in the kitchen.
You should also take advantage of the ability to run specials. Be creative, Give oyour customers an experience that will have them telling their family and friends for weeks to come.