Guadalajara welcomes more than 26 million visitors every year, and the local restaurants know very well how to take advantage of this vast market and keep their restaurant in the minds of locals and tourists alike. But, big markets come with big competition, and Guadalajara isn’t an exception. So, we explored the streets of this colourful city to learn what are local restaurants doing to attract new customers every day (and retain their loyal ones) and teach you how to use their tactics in your city.
Now follow us on our journey through the restaurant market of Guadalajara and let’s find out what’s the secret recipe behind their marketing success!
Specialisation has its benefits when it comes to positioning your business. In Guadalajara, you can find whole neighbourhoods specialised in a certain type of restaurant or food. For trendy and alternative, go to Americana and Avenida Chapultepec; for upscale and fine dining, go to Providencia; and for traditional Mexican restaurants, go to Tlaquepaque.
Restaurants in these areas market themselves to very specific clientele. They mold their decor, messaging and promotional styles to suit their targeted customers. That means that they don’t have to attract their target audience from all over the city, because they already know where to find them. Each restaurant is suited to the people that live in those neighbourhoods. One disadvantage this may have is that they are surrounded by their direct competitors, but the segmentation of the market will make it worth it. There are other tactics to still be able to differentiate from the competition.
Everything in the title
Something you see in many restaurants in Guadalajara is the use of their main dish in the name of the business. As simple as this sounds, it’s an effective way to signal your target audience that you’re there to give them exactly what they’re searching for and capture their attention almost instantly. A great example of this is Las Famosas Tortas Ahogadas and Los Chilaquiles. If you want a torta ahogada (one of the most famous local dishes) and you don’t want to waste time searching for a restaurant, the large letters that spell out “tortas ahogadas” be sure to take away any guessing.
Another advantage of this tactic is putting your food in the mind of your potential customers the moment they read your name. This is useful to turn a passerby into a hungry customer, or even to make someone that sees your content online think about paying you a visit.
Of course, you don’t have to sell a single product for this to work, but as we said before, specialisation has its benefits. A good idea would be to offer your own take on a common dish, offering multiple unique variations of the same base meal. Some great examples of this that we came across are Taco Fish La Paz and La Tequila. Taco Fish La Paz is famous for their tacos filled with fish, octopus, and other seafood-based dishes, and La Tequila is one of the best restaurants of Jalisco, known for its high-quality tequila and mezcal.
Sometimes the best way to improve your marketing is connecting with the right people. Guadalajara is a popular destination for both business travel and tourism, there are many hotels, conference centres, events, growing industries, and more. Local restaurants benefit from these travellers, but some of them take advantage of another opportunity that comes from this, offering their food directly to visitors of these venues.
Why compete with all the other restaurants on the street when you can be there right in the conference centre ready to serve all those hungry attendees that have been thinking about enjoying delicious Mexican food all day. This also includes the restaurants attached to hotels. The benefits go both ways, after all, because travellers will enjoy their stay even more after eating some chilaquiles in the morning.
Now, how do you stay unique when there are so many restaurants using the same basic tactics as you? Let’s imagine that you already tried what we mentioned here, and now, you’re competing against three other restaurants doing exactly the same and serving the same basic menu. Well, now is time to find ways to differentiate your business, but how? There are some basic aspects you can check to find opportunities to make your business unique. These are the food, the service, and the experience.
Starting with the food, even if you serve common dishes, you can always add a special twist to it. Restaurant La Chata offers a unique flavour to its customers, they even mention a “secret ingredient” on their website. You can also expand your menu without losing the benefit of specialisation. Like steakhouses that offer a meat-based menu, they can still include seafood, salads and soup. Find the one aspect that you can be the best in and let your customers know about that.
Service is another point you can improve to earn the attention of your target. One of the best examples of this is Karne Garibaldi, a restaurant famous for having the Guinness Record for the fastest service, earned in 1996 when a customer only waited for 13.5 seconds to receive his food. Their tables are always full of people ready to eat delicious carne en su jugo with corn tortillas in a matter of seconds.
And, on the experience side, you can always add an extra element to the experience, like how many restaurants in Tlaquepaque have mariachi musicians performing for their customers. Another option is a guest chef. Alcalde invites famous chefs to offer new appetizers and main dishes. And, Lula Bistro puts a lot of effort in the presentation of their meals inspired in Mexico.
There’s always a way to make your restaurant different (and better) than your competitors. Invest some time thinking about what could work for your target and don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas.
Lessons from Guadalajara restaurants
Finding your spot in the market requires work and planning from the beginning. Everything from the name of your business to its location can contribute to its marketing success. What we learned from our time in Guadalajara is that a clear understanding of your context can be the difference between finding your way in the market and getting lost in the crowd.
Grouping with the other restaurants in your area serving the same food will help you to compete together against the rest of the city and attract your exact target audience. Or make it easy for your customers to know what you offer by adding it to the title. Take advantage of a famous location or a well-marketed building to receive a constant flow of hungry customers to serve, and take your time to find that special thing that makes your restaurant unique!