It’s not easy to perfectly figure out how to market a Michelin star restaurant or indeed, any restaurant in the times of the coronavirus pandemic. These are very much uncharted waters and we have no idea of how things will be a few months from now, nor how many restaurants will change hands or close up shop, because running a catering business in this environment is obviously extremely tough.
Essentially, our job to market a restaurant becomes easier when you work with people that are willing to reinvent themselves and do whatever they can to not allow themselves to be bound by mental constraints, especially as the physical constraints are obviously very much present.
It also does help to be paired with clients who have a like-minded resilience.
Find an Undefeated Brigade
We are very proud to have watched one of our clients, Noni, work their collective ass off for over two years. We’ve been with them since before the restaurant was even opened and we see them go from strength to strength, only to have to temporarily close their doors only two weeks after they attained their Michelin star.
It’s a cruel punishment from the universe to have that done to you, and yet it takes a certain kind of group of people to not feel completely crushed by this; that is the undefeated brigade you’ll find at Noni and who together somehow managed to keep the operation underway.
When the government mandates that you close, you close. In fact, Noni shut their doors a week earlier than what was mandated to simply because it made sense to.
Develop a ‘Michelin at Home’ Experience
During lockdown, Noni started what we called ‘the Michelin at home experience’ where people could (for a very good price) enjoy a Michelin star level meal at home with minimal preparation other than reheating whichever meal was ordered. Did it do as well as having guests enjoy their meal at a restaurant? Of course not! But the circumstances were what they were and they dictated what restaurants were able to do in that moment.
As soon as Noni were allowed to reopen, they didn’t cram tables in to make up for lost time; they did exactly as the authorities mandated. They are still operating at a lower capacity and although understandably disappointed that they have to work this way, Noni also understands that this is still a global pandemic and some things might not change for a little while yet but that we must not give up hope.
Follow the Rules
Despite the bottom line changing due to COVID-19, the principles and beliefs that we first held when marketing a Michelin restaurant such as Noni hold true till today; the product must be excellent. The food must be prepared in a way that elevates it, that respects it, that is sustainable and used from snout to tail, from seed to serving, so on and so forth.
It must be served with knowledge, diligence, professionalism, discretion, and willingness to anticipate your diners’ needs. In order to do this, one must be passionate about their job and truly believe in the mission to ensure that every product is of star quality.
This starts from the first point of contact, the menu; well designed, no typos; the brilliant photography and food styling by Brian Grech; the website – everything must speak the same common tongue.
We Will Prevail. One Way Or The Other.
In an age where we suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we cannot just jet off to Italy for a weekend of indulgence, we find that lots of people are opting for the alternative; to spend a little bit more on what our local businesses could provide for us.
Unfortunately, although now has shown itself not to be the best of times, it is also not the time for compromises to core value. In fact, it is time to double down on the principles that made us stand out from the pack in the past, and will serve us well now and in the future. We will prevail. One way or the other.