Good morning readers. This post is a brain dump all about food blogger events – please bear with me as I have a slight rant! It’s a bit of a round up of all my thoughts following a good season of foodie events to attend in the back half of 2016.
Manchester has been blessed with the arrival of a lot of new eating establishments recently, whether it be UK chains setting up shop here or Local Manchester restaurants branching out into new city locations. This is all positive stuff. A more competitive space and prices, more jobs in Manchester…
But one thing has been bugging me for a while and I have to get it off my chest.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
I’ve been to them all.
I’m always grateful to be invited to events held by restaurants opening in a new area, and they’re enormously important for getting the word out.
However execution is the key.
What do I mean? Well first, if you’re inviting people to experience a cuisine they’re never tried, or if your restaurant is supposed to have an exclusive, VIP vibe, then to me there are ways that you can present the experience in its best light.
I’ve been to a restaurant launch where they made bookings open to people who had registered interest, and the bill was completely covered. This meant people got the full dining experience intended by the restaurant, whilst allowing the staff to iron out any teething issues in the service. The atmosphere was relaxed, the menu was fully observed and explored by visitors… The drinks menu was actually narrowed down to their house beer, which I ended up loving!
(I reviewed my full experience of Pho, Manchester’s Vietnamese Street food joint, here).
This was done really well, and I speak very highly of the restaurant in question to anyone who asks me about it.
Another couple of launches were free affairs too, but the focus was less food more drink. And I mean a lot of alcohol. I enjoyed my visit to Cabana Brasil, because who doesn’t like caipirihnas?
Food was carried around on plates like canapés and whilst it was delicious I cannot help but think that this isn’t really the best way of presenting the restaurant and it’s ambience on a normal day. Not to mention the fact that I had attended with every intention of reviewing the food, and didn’t have an opportunity to photograph any food (unless it was on a cocktail stick…)
The party at this place really kicked off, people were dancing on tables… They most likely had a great time, sure, but are they expecting that on a Tuesday lunch? Or a Saturday dinner service?! Not likely.
Another restaurant launch crammed the place full of so many people it was impossible to get anything to eat! What I managed to get seemed tasty, but I wasn’t won over by the ambience of the place as it didn’t seem to know what it wanted to be. Again, I was unable and unwilling to review this place and this visit, as it wouldn’t be a true reflection of a normal evening service.
Lastly, I wanted to mention the exception that proves the rule : Bakchich. Bakchich is a Moroccan & Arabic street food restaurant that was founded in Liverpool and has recently opened a branch in Manchester – (see blog post here for a more in depth review.) They cited the event as being specifically fo bloggers and would be themed around Afternoon tea, but Arabic Style. They looked after us really well, the service was excellent, and it delivered exactly what it said on the tin, in spite of this not being their normal style of serving up food, it gave me a great sample of the variety on their menu, and most importantly I didn’t go hungry!
In summary, if I was to advise a restaurant on a launch event I’d give them this check list.
- know your audience : who are you targeting?
- ambience : what vibe are you creating and how can you keep this as contact as possible.
- Bloggers or public : if you invite a few bloggers, be prepared to compensate them, even if it’s covering the bill. If you’re event is public don’t always expect content to be pushed out automatically covering your launch!
- Set up : if you’re going for a party vibe, make that apparent so less people leave disappointed (and hungry!)
Thanks for indulging me! We’re you able to relate to any of this? Leave me a comment below!