Monday, August 25, 2014

Becoming a Tourist Attraction, Part 3 in a 3-part series

This is the last of our series on attracting tourists to your restaurant.

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

Capitalizing on a Nearby Tourist Attraction, Part 2 of 3-part a series

Please enjoy the second part of our series on attracting tourist to your restaurant.

Capitalizing on a Nearby Tourist Attraction  Part 2

If you operate a restaurant near a tourist attraction like a museum, beach, theme park or event center, make sure you capitalize on your good location. In addition to the essential marketing techniques mentioned above, use some of these tactics to catch the interest of tourists:

Use outdoor signs.
A large sign and a sidewalk menu will help you attract passersby. Prominent outdoor signage is especially important if you operate within walking distance of a major tourist attraction, like a beach, museum or downtown.

Buy billboard space.
To attract tourists traveling by road, consider purchasing billboard space on a major interstate, especially if your restaurant is near an exit. It is also a good idea to advertise on the major highways near the airport, since you might catch the eye of a traveler in a cab or rental car.

Advertise in newspapers.
Many travelers will buy a local newspaper or pick up a free one at their hotel. If you hope to attract their business, consider advertising in the papers, especially during tourist season.

Form partnerships
Partner with charter bus companies, travel agencies, local hotels and event centers. For example, you could agree to give discounts to mutual customers, and ask them to distribute coupons or menus for your restaurant. Some hotels and convention centers will even give visitors a coupon book for local businesses. You should also consider forming a friendship with and giving a permanent discount to the employees at hotels and visitor centers. Many travelers will ask these locals for restaurant recommendations.

Become a rewards provider.
As a rewards provider, joining a rewards network – like ThankYou, SkyMiles Dining or Rewards Network Restaurant Cashback – can help you to attract business from people who eat out frequently when traveling.

Be sure to check back for the last entry in the series: Part 3 Becoming a Tourist Attraction