Building community is a common goal for many restaurants but that shouldn’t stop at your front door. That sense of community should be rooted in the actual community you’re a part of as well. Not only is this great for establishing your own network and creating a support system, it can also bring new customers in and promote your brand identity.
Whether you’re a new establishment or want to foster a greater sense of togetherness in your community, these tips can get your business involved.
Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
As far as networking goes, this is a great place to start! Joining your local chamber of commerce can foster your relationship with other business owners in your community and be more in the know about new happenings in the area. It can also be a good place to bounce the ideas off others in similar situations in your town.
Get on the Local Calendar
No, we don’t mean a physical calendar…although, maybe that isn’t a bad idea either! Getting involved with local events and community days and intertwining your name can be beneficial both by increasing your brand identity and getting in front of more customers. Many communities host seasonal festivals at certain times of the year that could benefit from having your restaurant join in! If there aren’t any of these planned for the foreseeable future in your town, consider spearheading it and reach out to local officials with your idea for the logistics.
Market Your Space
Have an extra room or outside area that could be used more often for groups? Promote this as a space for teams, committees, or any organized groups to come together (this would be a great offering to highlight to your chamber of commerce as well). Offering some of your square footage (whether for free or for a fee) can help the community foster right under your roof. Capitalizing on this extra space can bring new customers into your venue for the event and, if done right, they may return on their own.
Go Out and Help
To become a pillar in your community, you will have to give back. Luckily there are always causes aplenty! Here are just a few ideas:
- Support your local schools with a special fundraiser night
- Aid a family in need by donating a portion of your proceeds
- Do a drive (coats, gloves, shoes, canned goods, toys, etc.)
- Work out a deal for providing a bulk food order for a benefit
- Help a local team fundraise by providing your parking lot space for a car wash in off hours
- Donate food to your local shelter
There are so many more ideas than those on this list but if you’re getting started, make sure to pick causes that matter to your restaurant’s values and your community’s. Getting involved with a cause isn’t selfish; it’s good business when done right!
Being a part of a community is a mutually beneficial relationship. You bring your business’ unique food and drink offerings to the table, while the community is made up of potential customers. By getting more involved, you can create a greater sense of belonging for your restaurant and increase your community’s awareness of your establishment. Getting involved feels good AND can help you thrive in your community.
What’s your favorite way to be a distinct part of your local community? We’d love to hear!