The hustle of keeping a restaurant thriving month after month takes innovation, dedication, and creativity. Place that restaurant in a bustling city and all of this is ten times harder and more competitive. That’s why it’s important to utilize any resources you have in the local community to boost business and keep it flowing. Enter: local food tour companies.
Most cities have at least one food tour running in the area that might have tours in multiple neighborhoods depending on how big they are. As someone who has worked in restaurants for years and is a new member of the food tour community, I’ve seen that the two actually work hand-in-hand.
Food tours guarantee consistent business to restaurants and the length of their stay for each visit is much shorter than a typical guest would spend having an entire meal. In return there’s potential for a big impact on new customers. So, win-win!
Here are some of the other benefits of working with a food tour:
- Non-local customers will probably recommend your restaurant to their friends when they travel to that city and will remember you when they come back.
- It shows that your restaurant is an engaged part of the community.
- Food tour times are usually off-peak times so you can make a little extra money when you otherwise wouldn’t.
- Food tour customers often leave Tripadvisor or Yelp reviews and if they mention your restaurant, it’s just another place to be mentioned and have presence online.
- Locals take tours too and are always looking for their new favorite place.
There’s always an opposing side to every argument, so playing devil’s advocate, it’s sometimes difficult to have a food tour coming through if your restaurant is busy all the time since you would be required to hold a table for a lower paying group. Additionally, some servers are not thrilled to have to deal with a group of customers coming in and not having a very high bill. But really, that’s it. If you keep up a clear line of communication with the food tour company things can go really smoothly and bring in great business that your restaurant might not otherwise get. There’s no better marketing than getting people in the door and eating your food.
My vote is one hundred percent for working with a local food tour if you have the opportunity to. They engage you in the neighborhood, get new people in your doors who are both visiting and local, and give you consistent business without taking up too much table-time.
Want to be included in a local food tour? Research the companies that run tours in your area and reach out to their staff. Let them know why you’re an important part of the local food community, any dishes you’re famous for and that you’re interested in partnering with them!