Only good things happen when money is spent at homegrown businesses, according to The New Economics Foundation, a think tank out of London. Research shows that supporting small-medium markets ensures that wealth stays within the community at hand, and as a result, that wealth is efficient at keeping the in-town economy alive. From their warm and friendly atmospheres to their unique and savory eats, local restaurants are one-of-a-kind venues are part of the vibrancy that gives each city their heart and soul.
Prospering in competitive markets is something that many local Canadian eateries have done, and for that matter, done well. Restaurants Canada’s report The Discerning Diner: What Canadians want from their foodservice experience is filled with pages of useful data for businesses in the industry to learn how they can improve their interactions with patrons while continuing to grow and thrive. Here are examples of three Canadian restaurant leaders that have each mastered a particular “Top 10 Take-Away” from this report and what we can learn from their success.
Name: Lakeshore Restaurant
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Take-Away Mastered: Word of Mouth is King
The Lakeshore Restaurant steakhouse and cocktail lounge has been a staple in Saskatchewan’s capital for more than 40 years. The Lakeshore has built its reputation on ensuring that customers enjoy the finest dining experience possible. According to Restaurants Canada’s report, 40 percent of Canadians “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that “restaurants allow me to spend more time with my family.”
The Lakeshore strives to offer a welcoming environment for people to come together with the ones they love. The restaurant has regular “date night” specials as well as promotes events within the community on their website and Facebook page, encouraging their customers to get out and get social.
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Take-Away Mastered: Update your Website
Toronto’s The Food Dudes newest venue Rasa is located in the heart of the city’s University neighborhood. Rasa features a menu inspired from foods around the globe, including French, Italian and South American. Another way Rasa distinguishes itself is through its use of technology and online presence. Statistics from Restaurants Canada’s report show that three quarters of consumers have been to a restaurant’s website within the last year, and 64 percent of consumers are looking to browse menus digitally. Rasa’s site features a time-lapse video (showing the transformation of their building) as well as easy navigation and their menu is categorized for those with certain dietary requirements. Rasa also sells electronic gift cards right from their website and have supplemented their plastic gift card program with an online component Customers can send and receive e-gift cards via Facebook, text and email. Customers have the option to design the look of the card as well as schedule its delivery date.
Name: Piano Piano
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Take-Away Mastered: Have a Signature Item
Piano Piano, featuring stunning floral murals, is also located in Toronto’s University neighbourhood. Its doors opened in October of 2015 after current owner, Victor Barry closed his iconic restaurant, Splendido. Piano Piano is short for the Italian phrase “piano piano va lontano,” which translates to “slowly, slowly one goes further.”
Restaurants Canada’s report states that “70 percent of Canadians love going to restaurants, compared to 58 percent who love going to grocery stores.” Piano Piano offers signature dishes including pizzas cooked in a wood-burning oven, made-from-scratch al dente maccheroni and “fire-licked” lamb. Restaurants Canada’s report states that specific menu items play a bigger role than general food quality. Piano Piano has been able to maintain and grow its customer base through distinct dishes that have an all Canadian-Italian flair and irresistible home-cooked grade tastes.