Parlay your culinary expertise into increased restaurant sales

As a chef-owner, you wear many hats. Along with designing the menu, you may also create your marketing strategy and handle customer service. What if you could add one more title that creates value and increases restaurant sales?

How does culinary expert extraordinaire sound?

Cooking demonstrations and culinary speaking engagements provide a unique way to build your reputation and increase your customer base. Put your chef and people skills to work using these ideas for successful food presentations.

Discover local and regional opportunities for chefs.

Speaking engagements and presentations give you multiple opportunities to show your leadership in culinary arts or showcase your locally-grown meals. Plus, you’re not limited to attending food shows as there are plenty of local events that request help from chefs. Choose your objective for chef demonstrations, then search for venues.

  • If your goal is to build your reputation among your peers, then consider talking to local colleges, chef associations, and convention leaders.
  • To flood your restaurant with new customers, do a cooking demonstration at local farmer’s markets, fairs, and business association meetings.

Brainstorm innovative food demonstration ideas.

Once you have a venue in mind, then start brainstorming ideas for your presentation. Remember, it’s not only about choosing your favorite dish or subject matter. Instead, it’s essential to consider your audience first. The Chicago Tribune lists ten reasons for attending food demos including:

  1. Entertainment
  2. Tips and techniques
  3. Exotic methods and ingredients

Select a few ideas that meet the needs of your audience while also supporting your goals of: increasing restaurant and catering bookings, improving cookbook sales or menu development gigs, increasing social media followers and fans, gaining future invitations to demonstrate or speak, and more.

Sell your culinary expertise.

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Next, create a media kit. Doing so helps you present a professional appearance as a culinary leader. Your media kit includes:

  • Professional headshot
  • Brief bio and restaurant history
  • Testimonials

It’s essential to make a strong visual statement with your chef media kit, which is why partnering with a branding team with industry connections saves you time. A well-designed media kit and strategy ensure a cohesive appearance.

Chef Brochure

Turn your food demo into promotion opportunities.

Food demonstrations are a way to increase brand visibility and boost your reputation as a culinary leader. Develop a communications strategy that consists of:

  • A press release in local publications, on your website, and social channels
  • An email to your subscribers inviting them to join you for your presentation
  • A blog post about what you’ll be doing, why you’re qualified, and why people should come
  • Social media event promotion, and create a hashtag for attendees to use who post during the event

Twitter post promoting a demonstration by Chef Ania Wojtkowska.

Plan ways to connect with attendees during the event.

Along with giving a demonstration, you’ll also want a variety of printed materials to give out to your audience. Consider sharing a booklet of recipes or tips for preparing your dish. Or hand out coupons for an appetizer on the house.

For maximum impact, develop an online landing page for your cooking demonstration. That way, you can direct attendees and potential guests while also offering extra value.

Leverage your food demonstration for year-long promotions.

Keep your culinary expertise on display with a variety of promotions showcasing your experience. Perhaps you have a list of questions from attendees, photos, and videos. Use these across your platforms for extra PR. For instance:

  • Offer a free download on your website using a recipe or infographic with tips.
  • Send an email with the video of your presentation or, if video was not available, with the slideshow.
  • Create a variety of social media posts with images and your special hashtag.
  • Develop a promotion to go along with your demonstration for more in-house sales.
  • And be sure to tell fans and subscribers to share with others to encourage future events!
Chef speaking with guests after a panel presentation.

Chef Pankaj Pradhan, an 816 New York client, speaks with attendees at Harvard University’s Entrepreneurship Panel.

Today’s restaurant guest craves an experience. Excite them by showing your culinary expertise and offering something of value. Along with experience, guests also look for local eateries that support a local movement. By investing time in local and regional demonstrations, you build your reputation as a culinary leader and highlight your commitment to your community.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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