Promote through Community Service
Another great way to promote your restaurant is to be part of the community not another business but a friend or partner. Get to know what activities the local folks indulge in. If they are doing charitable events, join in. I don’t mean only financial support. You can lend a hand, stocking community food banks; revitalize neighborhood parks and many more. If you ask around, I am very sure there’s tons of a thing you can do for your community that doesn’t involve much money. You can even lend out your place for say a Blood Donation Exercise. Join in the festivities, e.g. St. Patrick’s Day.
Community Service in Malaysia
As Malaysia is a multi cultural country, there is lots of opportunity to celebrate with the community. For example the majority of Malaysians are Muslims, so we capitalized on the Ramadhan Month (The Fasting Month). What we did was to visit a local mosque and donated food for the people that went to pray there during breaking of fast. We prepared the raw ingredients in the hotel. Then we went to the mosque to cook with the community. It was fun and the locals loved it. We showed them that we were not only a large building but a friend. Later we joined the community for breaking of fast and prayers. Make sure when you do any kind of community service, your staff wear T-shirts with the name of your establishment. So as people will know who is helping out. Also if you know their culture you can use this to your advantage too.
There was an episode in “Restaurant Makeover“, the designer found out that it was a culture for the Somalian families to have family dinners in private. So she created an area just for that. By the way they were designing a Somalian restaurant and the majority in the community was Somalian. Well this great customer service for the Somalian community there. Imagine how the people there will feel if they know that there is a restaurant that they can dine as a family in private. Therefore in order to give great customer service and be on the good side of your community, you must know what is the beliefs and taboo of the community around you. Even Sun Tzu has a verse for this in his Art of War. It goes like this
“We are not fit to lead an army on the march unless we are familiar with
the face of the country–its mountains and forests, its pitfalls and precipices, its marshes and swamps.” Chapter VII. MANEUVERING Verse 13To know more on how I use the Art of War, please click here. How I use the
Art of War
Be Sensitive to your Community’s Culture and Beliefs
Also if you are sensitive to the Local Culture and Beliefs, you can avoid things that are offensive to the community. If you have just joined the community, then this is very important point. Anything that you do, you must be sensitive to the local culture and beliefs. Get some intel on the taboos in the community around you. If they find it offensive than avoid doing it. One example to this point is, when I was working for a hotel that had just been taken over by an international chain. The Group General Manager and the Chef, both foreigners insisted that for the new menu, we serve the local dishes in a wok. To the local community eating out of the wok was a taboo, a bad luck. We told them about this but they brushed it off, saying it was rubbish and superstitious. Reluctantly we went ahead with the menu. The locals were very annoyed and avoided us. After a few bad reviews from the customers even though the food was great, the Group General Manager finally gave in to change the menu but it was too late. It took us another year to build back our local clientele. Even the design of your place or the uniform is also important. In the East Coast of Malaysia, the people there don`t take too kindly to their waitresses wearing revealing clothes. When I was working in Thailand, they have so much respect for their King and Queen to the extent that they don`t serve alcohol on the King`s and Queens` Birthday.
By doing this you will in good books of the surrounding community.
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