As a professional writer, I had never been of much help to my father’s restaurant. I took a part-time job there for a few years while studying, yes, but that’s all. Dad did not mind that, considering he knew that my heart was elsewhere.
Nevertheless, when I overheard my parents talking about possibly closing the restaurant after a year, I couldn’t help but ask why loudly. Though Mom helped out there a lot, it was Dad’s bread and butter. He would not think of letting it go for no reason even if it is causing him import/export entrepreneurs’ mental health issues.
Then, they explained that the business was no longer attracting new customers. “They patronize new restaurants now. They don’t want to be in our diner.”
Although I was not a business expert, I knew that Dad’s diner won’t sink once we:
Revamp The Restaurant
The first thing on our list was to revamp the shop. Ever since its opening in 2000, its aesthetics had never been updated. It would have been passable if it was supposed to have a rustic vibe, but that’s not the case. It merely screams outdated, which is perhaps keeping even the local customers from coming into the restaurant.
I asked my father to close the diner for an entire week. He did not want to, but it was necessary to get the renovations done quickly. Besides, it would be cool to keep the new design a mystery to people.
With the windows blocked, the workers started removing the vinyl tiles and replacing them with cool porcelain ones. We also had the couches reupholstered on-site and repainted the walls, tables, and the massive bar. Then, we changed the pendant lamps with modern styles.
When I brought Dad to his diner after the renovations, he almost did not recognize it. After all, his once-outmoded restaurant looked chic and stylish all of a sudden. Before I could even say it, he uttered, “I can already imagine how many millennials we can attract aside from the usual middle-aged folks!”
Review And Improve The Products
While the renovation was going on, I split my time between that and reviewing everything on the menu with the entire family. Since my father knew his customers best, I told him to underline every dish that had been ordered the most in the last few years. Then, I asked him to be honest and encircle the ones with the least favorable reviews.
After some deliberation, Dad said that his cheesecakes and pasta needed some improvement. Hence, I invited my best friend, who happens to be a chef, to come over and teach my father how he could achieve that. It only took him two days to perfect those dishes and was already eager to present them to his diners.
Update Business Website
Despite my father’s outdated establishment, he had a web developer create a website for him and fill it with information about the restaurant. However, when this person went away three years ago, Dad did not have time to look for someone else to fill in the position. It meant that the site went from page two to page 22 of the search results without my father realizing it.
When I learned about the website, I immediately checked it out and consulted another friend of mine to see how we could revive it. Their suggestion was to alter the photos, reword the texts, and perhaps add blogs with SEO in mind.
I went to work at once and told Dad to cook his best dishes at home so that we could do food photography. Since it wasn’t my cup of tea, I hired a professional to do it, and the end products would undoubtedly make your mouth water. After that, I took a crash course in search engine optimization before changing the texts, writing blogs, and uploading the new images.
The more we updated the website, the more it started ranking high whenever we typed related keywords in the browser’s search box.
Create Social Media Pages
One thing that my father never knew his business needed was social media presence. He thought that having a website was enough to entice potential customers to visit the restaurant. It might have been true in the early 2000s but not anymore. Most people would use social media to see if any of their friends went to this place and learn their opinions about it.
Therefore, I dedicated an entire Wednesday to create business pages for Dad’s diner on Facebook and Instagram. I used the same pictures that were previously taken and turned them into ads for marketing purposes. I also decided to create Yelp! And Trip Advisor accounts and asked the regular customers to write their reviews regarding the business.
Our efforts to keep the restaurant from sinking paid off well. Folks waited in line to get inside once we revealed its new look. To my father’s delight, his improved dishes received glowing feedback, too. The turnout was undoubtedly better than expected, and it’s now one of the must-visit local businesses in the state.