Yesterday we were part of the Best Chef Awards 2021. Our CEO Raymond Wilders joined the conversation on the Future of Fine Dining.
Amongst the speakers were names like the winner of the BCA 2021 and Spanish 3 star Michelin chef David Muñoz, MasterChef winner Antonia Klugman, Manu Buffara, owner of Latin America’s top 50 restaurant Manu, and Dutch 2 star Michelin chef Soenil Bahadoer.
So, what is the future of fine dining for you? This was the first question asked, Manu Buffara, compared fine dining to high fashion. "It's something that will always exist; people want to treat themselves, they love amazing experiences, and it's an extension of a personal preference." This analogy is an excellent example of what we believe is true and gets more visible every day. Restaurants are like fashion brands. They attract a following, people want to interact with restaurants, behave like fans and identify with them.
The Great Divide: Online and Restaurants
During COVID, this consequently became more clear. Restaurants had to re-adjust, chefs had to be creative and think of new ways to reach their guests. The crisis made chefs think; How do we keep reaching our guests if we don't have a physical space where they can come to visit? This is where the great divide comes in; restaurants know how to handle their offline restaurant, but the online part often remains to be an untapped well of possibilities — a pool of opportunity ripe for picking.
Raymond; “Chefs and restaurant owners have thought about all details; interior, dishes, wine pairings, cutlery, glasses, lightning, and overall ambiance. But how often do they visit their website? How often do they look at their online guest journey from the guests' perspective? Think of images, text, the right menu, the right feeling, and make a reservation yourself. How smoothly does that go? People are always looking for new places to eat. The ones that get noticed are the ones who are quick to develop their restaurant marketing strategy.”
Be an Online Brand & Relax
Think of your restaurant as a brand and how you can get the most out of your followers. You will have less stress about filling your restaurant if you execute your brand powerfully online. We strongly believe that with thought-out marketing, great restaurants can achieve a more steady revenue stream. Look at Yotam Ottolenghi, for example; he got it. He is a brand on its own—merchandise, videos, social media channels, a newsletter, and running seven restaurants. Running a restaurant becomes more relaxed when your online channels are in order; you can sell out an event or special dinner with one newsletter or Instagram post to your loyal fans. Restaurants that market their business well on social media see a massive boost in revenue.
And that's the value of a carefully built guest database. Market your restaurant and see 'online' as an extension of your branding. At Formitable, we can help you achieve this with built-in marketing tools; sell reservations as experiences with tickets, grow your newsletter subscriber list in your sleep, make an engaging newsletter in a few clicks, and sell more tables via your social media channels. This is the future of fine dining; be a brand, engage more guests, and have less stress.
Co-owner Philipp of Kona in Copenhagen on how Formitable helped them with their online presence.