Breaking Through the Noise and Into Consumer Consideration

By Dean Harrison

Captivating the attention of current and potential guests can be increasingly challenging in a crowded hospitality space. Guest expectations surrounding the initiatives and platforms they can engage with brands are ever-expanding. Restaurants that continue to meet consumers where they are and provide unique value propositions will win – driving traffic, sales and profitability.

Single and multi-unit owners and operators need to have a solid understanding of their brand identity and what they provide to their guests that no one does better. For example, if you make the most delicious organic salads in your city, it’s essential to understand current and targeted guest behaviours and values that drive consideration and purchase. Suppose your targeted guest seeks healthy and convenient menu offerings; in that case, it’s critical to understand what else they may value – sports and wellness, community food security programmes and gardens, convenience, value. Solid insights are essential to understanding where your chances of enticing and engaging guests will lie. The magic happens at the crossroads where your brand offerings and targeted guest values collide.

Once you have mapped out the brand halo associated with your unique selling proposition, be unwavering when deciding where your restaurant should show up.

Existing Community Or Trade Events

No need to reinvent the wheel; find events within your existing trade area which align with your brand and targeted consumers. Perhaps you can rent a booth at a large-scale convention, set up a sampling station at a farmer’s market, or cater an arts festival. Ensure you have proper branding, consumer takeaways, information collection, and a social media content strategy. Engage with guests via email, push notification or social after the event for a healthy return on investment.


A solid understanding of your targeted guests will help you identify sponsorship opportunities to deliver the highest return on brand awareness and drive relevancy. Understand the territories that make sense for your brand’s ethos – sports, fashion, art, or film. Work to amplify your brand uniquely within the ecosystem of your partner’s channels, such as social, sampling, team wearables, on-camera assets, email deployments, etc.  Just as important is investing in amplification tactics within your channels, such as on-premise assets highlighting the partnership, digital mentions, copy on reservation confirmations and receipt print-outs; engage your guests with contests! Sponsorship doesn’t work in isolation and requires omnichannel support from both parties to engage guests.


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Proprietary Initiatives

To strikethrough, you must think outside the box. Consider hosting your own event, a special brunch, a pop-up, a games night, or a mixology lesson. Consider dayparts where you need a traffic push and plan something that aligns with the interests of your targeted audience. Ensure you amplify via owned or paid channels and capture as much content and guest information as possible to keep them engaged. The next thing you know, they’ll be regulars.

Meeting consumers where their interests lie will help to ensure you’re captivating guests and building a solid base of brand fans to continue moving your business forward. Be unique and relentless in your approach and execution; the traffic lift will follow.