Promoting your restaurant is essential if you want to keep your doors open long-term. It can help you build a strong reputation and reach potential customers that wouldn't have known about you otherwise. Utilizing community events is an excellent way to promote your restaurant. Here's how you can make it happen:
Identifying Vendor Opportunities
To ensure that your time spent working at community events is effective and draws more customers into your brick and mortar restaurant, you'll have to identify which events will help you connect with your target audience throughout the year. If your restaurant tends to attract casual diners with children, events such as fairs and parades might be right for you. If you want to attract higher end customers, consider creating a presence at trade shows and seminars.
Once you have figured out which events are right for your restaurant, you should contact each one to determine whether you can meet their rules and regulations based on what you plan to serve and how you plan to serve it. If you do meet all the requirements, it's a good idea to sign your business up as a vendor then and there to guarantee yourself a spot. Signing up for all the events at once will allow you to schedule them all on your calendar and ensure that you don't end up scheduling conflicting events or in-house parties.
Designing a Menu Plan
After you've secured spots at the community events you want to attend, it's important to design a custom menu plan for each one of them depending on the type of customers you expect to serve. Most foods that are included on your event menus should also be available on the menus at your restaurant so people will know what to expect if they decide to dine with you at a later time.
And when planning your menus, keep convenience and room for dining in mind. For instance, if you'll be selling snacks at a circus that doesn't offer table seating for guests, all the items on your menu should be hand-held and eatable without the use of cutlery.
If you're serving food at an event with plenty of seating, you can offer more elaborate options that require the use of forks, knives, and even glass dishes that you brought with you from your restaurant. You may even be able to have waiters and waitress take orders from the tables instead of having them stand in line at the counter to get their food depending on the atmosphere's vibe, so plan your employee roster accordingly.
Setting up Your Mobile Restaurant
Just because you won't have access to all the equipment in your restaurant's kitchen when on location at an event doesn't mean that you can't serve the same delicious food you're known for. You can set up a portable canopy to give yourself cover from the sun and rain, then set up a mini kitchen underneath to take care of all your cooking needs.
In addition to a portable sink and water system of some kind, you'll need a propane stove that features at least three burners on it. You may even want to bring along a gas or charcoal grill in case you need more cooking space. A couple fold-out tables made of thick plastic or metal will serve well as counter space.
But the most important thing to think about is how you'll keep your ingredients and food items cold throughout each event. You'll need some type of refrigeration to comply with your state and county codes and to ensure that your food stays safe for consumer consumption. An excellent option to consider is an online commercial cooler for sale which you can purchase.
They're designed to keep food as cold as it would be in your restaurant kitchen's fridge, and they're compact enough to keep under a table or in a corner for easy navigation around it. Order your commercial cooler online to save some money on your portable kitchen expenses, just make sure that you order it in enough time that it arrives before the county health official comes to inspect your portable kitchen.