In the restaurant business, there is usually a bit of "What is he up to now?".
It may start out as innocent curiosity, but the more we see that competitor doing well (or so it seems), we start to doubt ourselves and sometimes come up with negative stories in our brain about how the other business must have figured out a shortcut to success somehow.
With diners often choosing different restaurants for different occasions or just wanting a change in menu, it works out best for everyone if all neighbouring businesses can just get along and offer all customers the best experience in that neighbourhood to keep them coming back.
But how to do you get over the twinges of jealousy and self-doubt when your neighbour seems busier than you?
1. Get To Know Them
It goes without saying that it is hard to say you don't like someone when you haven't even met them.
Maybe you both have kids the same age?
Maybe you both have had the same issue with a supplier?
Maybe you both like to go to work very early when it's quiet?
Just like meeting your neighbour at home, you can develop an easy relationship where you can feel comfortable sharing information and even occasional favours.
For example, if you are planning to be closed for a private party one night, letting your competitors in the neighbourhood know that they may be busier than usual may turn into a reciprocal professional courtesy.
2. Offer To Team Up
It is hard for people to realize that not only is new competition good, but it can actually drive more traffic to an area that needs exposure.
Just like our new Flavourfest Culinary Festival, restaurants in close proximity can benefit by holding events that work in tandem.
For example, one neighbourhood in Sudbury has timed their small promotional events one after another to encourage visitors to make a plan to spend time in all 3 businesses in the one evening.
Maybe your business has delicious specialty coffees that are the talk of the town?
And perhaps your neighbour makes the best desserts in the area?
Figure out where each of you are strongest and try to combine efforts to wow your guests!
3. Put On Those Horse Blinders!
The easiest way to deal with a neighbouring business is stop worrying about what you can't control.
Focus on doing the best you can with your own restaurant.
If you have great food and great service, you should be able to handle another business moving in nearby.
This is the time to focus on how to be the best in your area but learning more, working more and consistently showing your best.
Competition is a healthy part of any industry.
Instead, we should embrace it as just another part doing business.
If we remember that, then we can use the healthy competition to strengthen the neighbourhood and continue to grow and learn from one another.
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