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Restaurant brands: How do you capitalise on your popularity?

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Restaurant brands: How do you capitalise on your popularity?

dishoom

Casual dining Indian street food restaurant Dishoom is attempting to capitalise on its strong brand name with the release of its new book, which it calls a “love letter to Bombay”.

Dishoom: From Bombay with Love, which was years in the making, is sure to prove a hit with diners keen to find out the ‘secret sauce’ behind its delectable plates.

But how can other brands follow suit and maximise their popularity beyond the physical restaurants themselves?

Recipe books – restaurant dishes at home

Successful restaurant brands will often have a strong heritage and a bank of popular dishes, all of which can be put to use in a well thought-out cookbook.

If Dishoom did manage to get its book flying off the shelves (it sat within Amazon’s Top 20 Most Sold & Most Read Books of the Week at the time of writing), not only would the business benefit from the sales the book brings in, it could help extend brand awareness.

Ottolenghi and LEON are just two restaurants that have seen their brands go to another level off the back of their cookbooks. Both feature highly in Amazon’s Food & Drink category of books, selling millions of books between them.

wagamama have just released an eagerly-awaited cookbook too, entitled Feed Your Soul, which is sure to be a success, with its fresh and simple recipes straight from the wagamama kitchen. Books are sold in their restaurants as well as in bookstores across the country.

Restaurants crossing over into supermarkets

Cookbooks aren’t the only way restaurants are diversifying their brand names. If you were to walk around your local supermarket you’d find all manner of sauces, meal kits and other products with recognisable restaurant branding.

Last month, Wahaca announced that it was revamping its taco kits as part of a move to “take Mexican food away from the tequila girls, cheap shots and greasy food we knew and replace it with fresh, vibrant recipes inspired by the real Mexico.”

Nando’s, Itsu and YO! are just three other food chains attempting to snare supermarket customers with its crossover products.

YO! teaching guests how to roll like a pro

Other brands like YO! Sushi have gone one step further and actually teach their diners how to make their famous dishes at home.

YO!’s workshops have become extremely popular with diners who are looking to give the gift of experience, and the session comes complete with a branded certificate, rolling mat and sushi booklet, all of which help to keep the brand front of mind once back home.

Merchandise

By merchandise, we don’t just mean branded pens and keyrings. Many restaurants sell t-shirts (think Hard Rock Cafe!) or hoodies with their logo emblazoned across the front. And, of course, there’s the likes of Jamie Oliver selling a huge range of cookware and kitchen accessories; from chopping boards to frying pans.

You don’t have to go this far with it, but if you’re known for your coffee, why not start selling your branded mugs? Or, if your business booms from your famous cocktails, how about putting some of your bestsellers into a small book to sell to your loyal customers?

Pop-ups

Pop ups are, quite literally, popping up all over the place. Designed to showcase your culinary talents at a temporary location, pop-ups can include everything from a rooftop food tent, open for a few months over the summer, to exclusive events.

Pop-ups give your restaurant the chance to appeal to a wider audience, expanding your presence across the country and establishing your brand name. They also allow you to test a location and determine footfall before committing to the rent of a bricks-and mortar location. Plus, the ‘limited time only’ aspect is sure to create a buzz.

Collaborations

Collaborations, supper clubs and sponsorships are three other ways to extend your reach.

The chef collaboration seems to be one of the latest trends taking over the culinary scene at the moment. From competitive cook-offs between head chefs of different restaurants (Hotbox vs. Smokestak in Shoreditch, for example), to The Lucky Onion in Cheltenham, which hosted a guest-chef supper club to celebrate the Cheltenham races, the opportunity to expand popularity in this way is endless.

Another recent collaboration is between wagamama and subscription food box company Gousto, who have teamed up to offer shoppers recipe boxes for some of the chain’s best-selling dishes.

Dishoom leads the way

The new Dishoom book is clearly a labour of love – and having worked closely with Dishoom, who we’re proud to call one of our clients, we know just how much passion and work they put into everything they do.

“Through the book we hope to tell the stories that are such a key part of Dishoom’s history and give guests a new way to enjoy the comfort food of Bombay. Chef can’t wait to see what people create at home.”

“We’re really delighted to finally be sharing the secrets of Dishoom’s best-loved dishes with the world,” said the restaurant’s co-founder Shamil Thakrar, who revealed that executive chef Naved Nasir took quite a bit of persuading to part with the recipes.

But the move might also prove to be a good commercial move.

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