Whatever the industry, with smaller foundations to fall back on, independents have never needed a greater support network to survive. Around the world, restaurants and all hospitality businesses have been among the worst hit during the pandemic and its lockdowns. Many restaurants and takeaways have diversified to stay afloat over the past year and making sure to fall back on any support that’s offered, as well as giving assistance to our peers where possible, is a business essential.
Marketing independently, together
Supporting independents isn’t just something for our customers to do and, working together, independents can become a force to be reckoned with. Here, the team from Ryan’s looks at ways to work together with other local businesses to support each other through…
1. Complementary businesses - retail
The retail industry has been working on supporting its independent community for some time and restaurants and takeaways should be a part of that community, too. Talking with local retailers, you may be able to help support their business with postcards on your counter or ads on your displays. If you support them, they’ll be more likely to repay the favour. Recommendations from trusted sources are always more valuable. Plus, of course, you’ll be building up your business network as you go.
2. Complementary businesses – hospitality
When it comes to word of mouth marketing within your local area, you’ve probably got it down to a fine art. But have you considered drawing in trade from people coming in to stay for a break? As the UK starts to move out of lockdown, hotels, B&Bs and other staycation businesses will be looking to reopen their doors. Again, it’s well worth offering to promote their business from yours and, in return, to ask for your menus to be placed in their holiday let accommodation, for guests to use as a trusted recommendation when they stay.
3. Competitor businesses – other restaurants and takeaways
Of course, there’s no reason why your support of local independents can’t stretch to a carefully selected range of competitor restaurants and takeaways. It’s a rare customer who chooses from the same menu every night of the week, so partnering with other businesses offering different menus can be another way of gaining word of mouth referrals. This is a model that Burger King has been working to during the pandemic, even promoting its main rivals, and offering for restaurants to advertise their own posts to the Burger King Instagram account, which they’ll then repost on their own Instagram account of over 30,000 followers.
It’s important to remember to do your research carefully before recommending other businesses, to ensure you’re aligned on quality and services and that you won’t become liable as a result of inaccurate advertising. As they say, though, you have to be in it to win it, and teaming up with other local entrepreneurs to support and promote each other can be very rewarding. Give it a go!