Monday, June 10, 2013

Attracting Tourists to a Restaurant, the last in the series

Becoming a Tourist Attraction- Part 3
Whether or not you are near a tourism hub, you may be able to attract travelers to your restaurant. By establishing yourself as unique, you can turn yourself into a destination for culinary tourists. Try the following:

Offer regional cuisine.
Many travelers are looking for cultural education, and offering unique, regional cuisine will pique their interest. For example, if you are in San Antonio, consider serving chile con carne. If you are in Chicago, serve gourmet hot dogs. If you are on the beach, serve fresh seafood. You could also serve local wines and beers, or feature local produce in your menu.

Develop your unique selling point (USP).
The more unique your restaurant, the more likely you will become a destination for tourism. Theme restaurants, exhibition cooking, and unique dining experience can attract tourists. For example, Casa Bonita in Denver attracts tourists by offering cliff divers, costumes and other forms of entertainment. You could renovate your restaurant to include a unique interior design or even offer cooking classes to teach tourists how to make local dishes.

Get press.
The best way to become a tourist destination is to get regional and/or national press. If you get enough press and good reviews, travelers might visit your area just to eat at your restaurant, or they may remember your restaurant when the inevitable question is posed: “Where should we eat out tonight?”

Organize a local culinary event.
Get together with other local businesses, restaurants and farmers’ markets to organize a regional or city-wide culinary festival or dining event. For example, restaurants in the City of Boulder host an annual weeklong event called “First Bite,” where top local restaurants offer a unique three course $26 fixed-price dinner menu. Such an event may require you to work with the competition, but it can increase culinary tourism in your area, especially if the event highlights regional cuisine. If your region already puts on an arts or culinary festival, like “Taste of Georgetown,” make sure to participate or vend at the location.       

Thank you for reading our three-part series on attracting tourists to a restaurant. For further information on making your restaurant more attractive to tour groups, please contact

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