Create a buzz with a Festive Bazaar.
Instead of doing a buffet to highlight your signature dishes, have you thought of doing a Food Bazaar with stalls promoting several of your dishes that you are featuring in your establishment. This year, we did just that at the resort that I am attached to.
Each year in the event that the hotel occupancy is high particularly during school holiday season, we usually set up a buffet for dinner. This is to entice some families to dine in as well as reduce the strain on the kitchen with ala carte orders. However recently with the ever increasing cost associated with raw ingredients and also the decreased spending of customers, we have noticed a decrease in our buffet crowd. Families were a lot more calculative in their spending and we couldn’t reduce selling prices. So this year during the high occupancy we created a food bazaar. We had stalls offering dishes from our various kitchens. We had| local favorites such as Char Koay Teow, Chicken Rice, Murtabak and so forth. From our western kitchen we had Roasted Chicken, Burgers as well as Roasted Beef. From the Pastries there were Waffles, Ice Cream as well as Cakes. All items were individually priced. We sold vouchers of RM5. 00 in booklet of 6 vouchers. To make calculation simple, we priced all our items in RM5, RM10, as well as RM15 and so forth. The customer simply needed to purchase a booklet, go to the counter or stall choose the items and pay using the vouchers. This is also to avoid any kind of pilferages by the staff. I have noticed that by setting up a food bazaar we increased our revenue, as tables got turnover quickly. People simply bought exactly what| they desired, eat it and left. Some even purchased items to go. But if we were to have a buffet people would sit at the table long as there were a lot of food to enjoy. So the turnover of tables was slow.
On normal days and also the Hari Raya Holidays we created a scene similar to the Hawker Scene in Malaysia, with stalls on both side of the street. Each stall had a street sign of a well-known street in Malaysia plus the item offered. Staff was dressed in their traditional costumes. The staff was permitted to call out their wares similar to how it’s carried out by street hawkers. The staff| had a lot of fun, so did the customers. Many customers said it was fun, entertaining as well as a unique experience. A concept that originated from reading the book known as “Fish” a customer service story about the Famous Pike’s Place Fish Market.
As for Christmas we created a section of the street into a Snow land with a North Pole sign in the middle. We put Traditional Christmas Fare on this side of the street and on the other side we put the local Malaysian Street food along with a Tropical Christmas Scene. Now I am thinking for the Chinese New Year Holidays.
As for marketing we prepared buntings and positioned them around the resort for people to see. Here is how we marketed using buntings. Using Buntings to bring people to your Restaurant
Food Bazaars is a great way of showcasing your food items and also create a Buzz. Don’t price your items to high, you want to entice people to try your food and it’s also to remind people that you are around. However don’t do it too often or else it will be a norm and dull. To make it fun and enjoyable add some games, clowns and perhaps a magic show. This will certainly make people remember your place. Additionally you may offer some discount vouchers for future visits to your restaurant for customers that have purchased a certain number of vouchers. If you don’t possess a large kitchen but possess the space, why not rent out a few stalls to the local community to sell their wares that is not food related. Consequently you will have lots of stalls. In the event you don’t possess the space, set up some stalls in your local neighborhood bazaar selling your signature items at a discounted price. Don’t forget to add your flyers and perhaps a sample ala carte menu. Try it; believe me its fun, it worked for me personally.