Every operator has a great story to tell. You may already be sharing it with your customers. But even then, it’s worth sharing with everyone. It’s what sets you apart. Stories are the simplest, most effective form of emotional branding. They shape how a person thinks and feels about your brand and can give you the edge over the competition.
Your story should…
Be directly related to your restaurant or unique offer
Be personal – consumers want to support businesses with compelling/interesting/relevant stories
Help customers understand why your food is the best
Identify the way (or ways) your dining experience enriches your customers
The Elements of a Great Story
Keep these elements in mind when crafting your story.
Simplicity: Good stories are simple, memorable, entertaining and educating. Your message should be easy to understand.
Emotion: Connecting with your customers on an emotional level helps create those back of the mind memories. A good story makes us react and take action.
Believability: A good story can be fact or fiction, but should be told with an honesty that resonates with your audience.
Connections: The best stories are told in a language and tone that matches the way the intended audience speaks. People relate best with stories that relate directly to the teller, told in his or her words.
Consistency: Every touch point, whether it’s a video, a menu or a table tent, can further tell your story. Make sure your story is consistent throughout your dining experience.
So, what’s your story?
Your story doesn’t have to sound like a Hollywood script. Here are some questions that can help you identify your story. Pick and choose what works best for your specific type of restaurant. Ask your employees or customers – they should be able to give you genuine reasons why they love your shop.
What’s your back-story?
Who or what inspired you to start your business?
Is your business a family business?
How did you get to where you are today?
Who or what inspired you?
What do you love most about your job?
Why did you choose to open up where you did?
What do you love most about your customers?
Is there a particular taste or local flavor that’s unique to the area?
How do you interact with the local community?
Are there ways you give back to the community?
Do you have a signature dish?
What makes your place so special?
What keeps your customers coming back?
Are there any ingredients that set you apart from local competitors?
What’s your favorite item on your menu?
Once you have established the core of your story, you can add some extra shine to it by telling your customers what makes your food taste so great.
Customers care about what they put in their bodies and like to feel that they’re eating food that’s natural and good for them.
They want to know that you are using quality ingredients and that they are getting value for their money.
Let them know that you’re committed to serving the best.
Tell them you use Grande Cheese because it’s a premium product – “the finest Italian cheeses money can buy®”.
Grande is known in the industry and by fans of quality Italian food as the best and it is often mentioned positively in reviews of the best Italian restaurants and pizzerias, emphasizing its connection with great taste and consistency.
What are you waiting for? You’ve got a great story to share. Write it down. Put it on your website, include it on your menus, add excerpts or elements of it to your social media posts. Display it as artwork in your restaurant or up on LCD screens. Train your staff so they know it and can repeat it word for word and encourage them to use it as part of their conversation with patrons.
Storytelling is a great way to differentiate your restaurant, and every day, you’re writing another page.