By Andrew Carlson, Foodable Industry Expert
There's a major difference between being a community-driven restaurant and a restaurant that is driven by the community that it resides in.
A community-driven restaurant finds the community benefits and accents them as part of the restaurant. If your restaurant’s community is known for its fresh produce, a community-driven restaurant would create dishes to highlight the community.
But that's only the first step to creating a successful restaurant. The second step of creating a successful restaurant is to be an establishment that your community is proud to have in the area. The stronger the ties to the community, the stronger the connection people will have to your restaurant.
How can you be more involved in your community?
The best thing you can do is figure out how to respond to the biggest issues that plague your city or town.
Roy Choi is a great example of this. He has been known as the godfather of the food truck movement. He is on a mission to bring together rich and poor, fast food and healthy fare, young Americans and their immigrant parents. It’s all, he says, about “slinging love.”
He is taking a stand to bring the community back together — especially when there is such a divide between wealthy and poverty in the city of Los Angeles.
There are many perks to getting more involved in your community, but it boils down to these three main benefits.
It Unites the Community and Creates a Bond with Your Restaurant.
You will no longer have to beg people to come into your restaurant and you won't be the "only" option in the community. You will become the option that people must go to when they want to feel a local connection. Even outsiders who are only visiting will hear about your restaurant and want to check it out!
Support Is a Two-Way Street
A lot of restaurants move into a community and want to change it. You'll stand out by wanting to grow with the community and support them as they are, even in their current state. When people within the community feel supported, they will feel the need to dine in your restaurant more, especially because you are making an effort to be a shining light in their neighborhood.
Growth and Sustainability
The last benefit is that the community continues to grow, and so does your restaurant. Your restaurant is a sign of sustainability. You’re creating jobs and igniting passions. There's nothing more appealing to a community than to continue to grow the people within it, particularly those who have a passion for the restaurant industry.
At the end of the day, your restaurant needs to stand for something. I wrote an article about having a vision for your restaurant. Make your community a major part of your forward-thinking vision and watch how much it benefits your business.