Surviving the Restaurant Epidemic

By Andie Mirabal

An epidemic of restaurant closings is sweeping the nation. According to an article published in Albuquerque Business First, although about 60,000 new restaurants will open this year, nearly 50,000 restaurants will close. The article presents interesting information about the public relations aspect of the food and beverage industry, then transitions to present relevant information about New Mexico restaurants. This includes legislation that could hurt the industry and a list of restaurants that have opened and closed in the past year. But, aside from the legislation and market saturation, New Mexico faces other unique circumstances that are hurting new restaurants. It’s no secret that the Millennial generation is fleeing the state. However, this means that less emphasis should be placed into a digital strategy for new restaurants. Millennials are one of the largest purchasing groups,who also love to use social media. This means that restaurants like Desert Valley Brewing Co., which have created the memorable cheese dump on their burgers or fog filled mixed drink concoctions, are positioned for success with this segment of consumers, because of the ability for consumers to create exciting social media posts. Many new restaurants, such as Desert Valley Brewing Co., have been able to use social media to build awareness within the community. However, as this group leaves the state, new restaurants are left with an older, Hispanic population – a group that serves as a foundation for our culturally rich state and is influenced by Spanish, Mexican and Native American traditions. These traditions typically center around family and food and have created a unique demographic with a large amount of spending power that tends to be habitual. This means that this group is more likely to frequent the same restaurants and are less likely to try new ones. Examples of this include the many families that have established traditions of visiting the same restaurants after their church services on Sunday. Many have visited the same restaurant for the past 20 years at the same time and have consumed the same meal in the same booth with the same people. This group is also less inclined to find a new restaurant on the internet and more likely to change where they spend their money based on word of mouth. How can restaurants combat this? Just like the daily special, it’s a combination. It’s a combination of community relations, digital media and traditional media. And like the food created, each restaurant’s recipe will be different. Keep in mind that each recipe is based off your target audience. So, create a sound plan with avenues to reach your target demographics, develop an intriguing call to action and create a reason for consumers to show up. Our team has found success with integrated approaches, with local original restaurants and national franchises that include 5 Star Burgers, Enchanted Circle Brewing, El Pinto, Krispy Kreme, Denny’s and Corner Bakery (to name a few). For each of these restaurants we established brands, launched products, created neighborhood marketing programs, as well as implemented successful digital and traditional media programs.

Read more about The Garrity Group’s success stories here.

About Andie Mirabal

Andie Mirabal is the Director at The Garrity Group. She is a visual media enthusiast with a love for telling stories. To learn more about Andie, click here.

Published June 6, 2019

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