Every year, restaurants succeed or fail based on their ability to continue to re-invent their business models with the changing times, while also staying true to their original plan and not losing their core customers. In Chicago, we have found that reinvention consists of pricing, collaborations, social media, as well as event marketing in order to gain new clientele and brand exposure. The newest form of influence in the restaurant business is through food blogging, something I believe strongly in and continue to do.
Two years ago I went to New York with my best friends and was instantly inspired by Indian street food. I wanted to bring that to Chicago, only to find that a restaurant opened with the same inspiration and was able to do it much better than the restaurants I visited in New York. That restaurant was Bombay Wraps.
I knew one day I wanted to partner with Bombay Wraps' owners and push that vision forward in Chicago. To move forward, I knew culinary school and inspirational foodie trips to India were a must!
Late last winter, I finally met with the owners of Bombay Wraps, Falguni Dewjee and Ali Dewjee, and happily found a synergy that sparked a whole line of creative inspiration between us. That meant it was time to reinvent the business.
To partner with a restaurant/company/chef, you have to ask yourself:
- What do you bring to the table?
- What are the areas of opportunities for the business that you would like to partner up with and can you assist with these growth opportunities?
- Be honest with yourself as well as the owners, don't oversell yourself. You want to be as transparent as possible with the owners of the business so that you can really develop a true partnership.
- Have a contract in place setting the guidelines for the partnership.
- Don't overstep your bounds, but make sure you state your worth in the company.
After a year of being in the culinary industry, Bombay Wraps' owners found that creating a collaboration that can lead to a potential partnership will not only increase business, but will also generate an increase in clientele through a social media following. In other words, they were reinventing the possibility of success with their business through digital media.
This started other collaborations like beer pairings with their lunch menu to food bloggers and foodies within the community. Then we were able to introduce the new breakfast menu to Bombay Wraps, as well as an appearance that I am still doing every Friday from 8 to 9 a.m. We are selling dessert samosas to Bombay Wraps, and by doing so. we have filled a culinary gap and created more attention through social media for Bombay Wraps.
In addition, we sell product through Grubhub, Fooda, delivery services and collaborations with the Chicago South Asian Film Festival. Think social media, think collaborations.
They gained a strong following and increase in business largely to collaborations like the one we have, and being open to using social media to do so. Bombay Wraps has made a smart decision to collaborate with a chef as well as adapt with demand in the industry. They have priced their wraps appropriately as well as continue to create new events to gain more of a following for their restaurant.
Homework assignment: How will you reinvent your business? What steps will you take to grow with the times? Think about the trends that you are seeing in the industry and share it with us!!
Next week we are viewing your entries and answering questions that you have brought up.
MasterChef contestant Suzy Singh spices up life through culinary arts. An inspiration to her fans, she recently left a career as a neural engineer to pursue food and cooking. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Suzy believes in the integrity of food and cooking. She is versed in Punjabi, Classic French, American, and Molecular Gastronomy cuisine. Currently, you can find delectable treats from Suzy at Bombay Wraps (Chicago), Foodstuffs (multiple Chicagoland area locations), and Fedora (Chicago). She is also a national spokesperson for Le Cordon Bleu, has her own food truck in the spring through fall months in Chicago. She plans to author a book, star in her own show and inspire others to pursue their dreams. For more on Suzy go to SuzySingh.com.