New restaurant owners are often concerned about building a good reputation within the local community. The obvious way to do this is to provide delicious food and great service. But this is not the only way. The restaurant can become an important social meeting place, provided the owners and staff encourages it. This benefits restaurant owners, because it increases their visibility and also attracts new customers, and it benefits the community because it provides invaluable space for important events.
Here are 3 ways a restaurant can engage with the local community and improve its reputation.
Host A Political Event
Local politics is an important part of the community. Often, people running for office will seek out libraries, schools, and other civic areas to speak at. Sometimes it can be difficult to secure these locations. A restaurant owner might want to offer space for a particular party or candidate to host an event. This will attract all of their supporters to the restaurant. The restaurant could provide a small sampling of the food for free, so that those in attendance can get a sense of the menu.
It's important not to take sides on a political issue. So if there is a contentious issue in the community, you should consider hosting events for candidates that speak for each side. This way you will not alienate those who don't agree with one particular candidate.
Allow Local Artists To Showcase Their Work One Night A Month
Local artists are always looking for space to showcase their work. A restaurant owner can use the walls, or empty space, in their restaurant to help them out. Photographs, paintings, and sketches can be hung on the walls or placed on stands along the walls.
The owner can arrange for a monthly show where the restaurant is closed down turned into a gallery. Wine and hors d'oeuvres can be served. They can chose a day in the middle of the week when the crowd is slow. It doesn't even have to be a full night. The event could start at 9 p.m., for instance, when the dinner crowd is mostly done.
Donate Food To The Local Homeless Shelter
A restaurant will have lots of leftover food. The prep chefs will often have lots of unused salads, greens, vegetables, meats, etc…This food is perfectly edible and should not be thrown out.
Rather than waste this food, set up special section where food that is not used for the restaurant patrons is set aside. The food to be donated should be prepared as though it were being served to a customer, not simply slopped into a bin. The people who need this food will appreciate that it was not simply thrown in front of them with no thought.
For more information about getting your restaurant's name out there, visit Voted Best of America.