The restaurant scene presents a compelling case because of how easy it is to make it or break it. Business is almost guaranteed; it is a basic need that does not discriminate. However, the industry is competitive. You are going against restaurants that serve the same kind of food. You are going against restaurants that serve different cuisines. A successful restaurant is one that transcends fulfilling basic needs and caters to wants as well. You need to be able to attract your client for your food, your service, and your intangible quality.
Restaurants that cater to niche markets struggle more than your average mom and pop shop because of exclusivity. When you commit to a niche, you are intentionally cutting off mainstream customers. You know you are an acquired taste and are willing to address the few over the many. There are three ways you can appeal to your market:
Cater to other needs or interests of your niche market.
Catering to a niche market means that you are a part of the few that deliver. When you expand your service range to your niche market, you are making a distinguishing feature. For example, a café can hold barista workshops or sell a wider variety of premium coffee beans than your average supermarket. You can identify these needs and interests as you do your preliminary research about your niche market.
If you find yourself at a loss for ideas, talk to the people. Catering to any market is about the sense of community. Leave surveys about what people want to see and experience. You can reinterpret their suggestions in the most feasible way possible. By doing this, you are also actively engaging with your customers.
Be featured in publications that your market consumes.
Relying on word of mouth is a slow process. Try to be featured in publications that your market consumes. Vegetarian, pescetarian, or any other diet restricted restaurant can be found in health magazines. Trendy cuisine and themed restaurants can be found in websites that specialize in popular culture. Kosher restaurants in NYC can be found in publications that tap into the local scene. Every niche market has a publication, in print and digital format.
Reach out to these publications, be ready with a brief description of who you cater to and the history behind that decision. Some people live by the recommendations of groups that have a similar philosophy or lifestyle. You want to be able to tap into these media channels as a way to reach a broader audience.
Use alternate forms of advertisement to attract new customers.
A niche market is the opposite of mainstream, and you should advertise in the same way. You cannot expect mainstream advertisements like billboards and long commercials to attract customers in droves like fast food chains. Use alternate forms of advertisement that focus on events and creative partnerships to attract people.
The suggestions might seem dated, but the idea behind these activities are still relevant. It is all about creating a community and a base of repeat customers. For a niche market, that’s all you need: a sense of belongingness and routine.