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December's Featured Speaker: Catriona Harris, CEO, Uproar PR

Three Tips for Restaurants Looking to Brand Local

Whether your restaurant is part of a well-known chain or you’re just getting started in the industry, the only way to achieve success is by making yourself stand out to the locals. These customers are drawn to restaurants that have taken the time to become invested in the community, and look for brands that have established local roots. 

Restaurant owners can use these tips to brand local in order to attract customers and build loyalty within the community:

Lay out the Welcome Mat
In order to win the loyalty of your community, you actually have to get to know them. To do this, try bringing people together in your restaurant by hosting networking events like a young professional’s mixer or cocktail connector party. 

Not sure where to start? Begin by inviting one company to host 30 of their employees in your private dining room. Offer complimentary hors d'oeuvres and encourage your sales people to mingle with guests. Investing in small, free events like this will yield big results when it comes time for companies to plan the location for their next holiday party or business luncheon. 

Take a Local Taste Test
Assess your customer base and adapt your menu offerings according to the local taste buds. If your restaurant is located near schools and neighborhoods, offering a kid’s menu is a must. Located downtown? Cater to busy professionals with enticing happy hour specials.

Locally-grown food is also a huge factor for customers considering where to go out to eat. Not only does it taste fresher, but they have the satisfaction of knowing that they are supporting their local economy. By taking the time to get to know what your customers like, you’ll keep them coming back for more.

Brand Yourself Unique
Whether you own one restaurant or a chain of 10, remember that each location should be tailored to the customers it serves. This is especially important when it comes to your interior design choices, which have a huge impact on the environment and energy in your restaurant. Customers who walk in will immediately feel special knowing that the owners have put real thought into tailoring the dining experience to their location.

Another way to set your restaurant apart is by bringing on a PR firm. An agency can help you increase brand awareness among consumers and media alike, as the team uses their pre-existing relationships to quickly brand you as the unique, local gem you are.

While it may be easy to get sucked into the day-to-day operations of your restaurant, remember that you must become part of the greater community to operate successfully. Locals will recognize the investment you’ve made and will repay you with brand loyalty. When customers feel like they’re understood, rather than like they’re just one of the 2 million customers that walks through your door, they’ll continue to come back for more.

More about Catriona Harris:
Catriona cuts through the noise and keeps her teams and campaigns on message, on strategy and under budget. In her role with the agency, Catriona works directly with clients on the overall strategic direction of their PR campaigns. She is responsible for developing and managing strategic campaigns that enhance client’s messaging and increase their exposure in the marketplace. The Orlando Business Journal also named her one of the Forty under 40 in both 2009 and 2011.

Catriona is very involved in growing the agency’s tech and consumer practices. She is the lead on Uproar’s consumer and technology clients, including Kavaliro, RA Sushi, and Modiface, playing an integral role in devising unique campaigns. Through her hard work and dedication, Catriona’s clients have received coverage in leading business and trade publications including TechCrunch, Mashable, New York Times and TIME.

Prior to starting Uproar, Catriona was the Vice President of East Coast Operations for a San Francisco-based tech PR agency and the PR Manager at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.  Catriona has also spent time working as a producer for CBS in San Francisco. Catriona received her B.A. in Communications from Saint Mary’s College of California. 




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