When in Rome, if everyone behaved like the Romans, Rome will end up being a pretty boring place. Same with Lajpat Nagar in Delhi. We all love Punjabi food (don’t we?) and can’t thank God enough for the fact that every block in Lajpat Nagar has a restaurant that serves exactly the same food at slightly different prices. But even my adorable neighbours can’t deny that a little change in palate is not such a bad thing.
In fact, if it is the Colony Bistro, it’s a great thing. The place is run by two young entrepreneurs, who seem to have equal expertise in social media as in the kitchen. I enjoy vicarious eating. I troll social media sites, local restaurant directories, food blogs from all over the world and stare endlessly at the pictures while drooling on my keyboard. So, I was reading about the place months before I went there.
To cut a long story short, I was not disappointed. The menu was good, the artwork on the menu was better, the interior was really soothing, the chairs were stylish but uncomfortable and the service was proper, the way you would expect from a starred restaurant, not a neighborhood place. We will go there again and will recommend them to others too.
My colony Bistro experience was great, but gladly, not unique. During the last few months, we have come across quite a few small restaurants who use social media wonderfully. They don’t hire creative agencies or dedicated marketing teams, nor are they tech entrepreneurs with food dreams. These are very small places run by a couple, two friends or a single guy, all of whom have graduated from inserting flyers in newspapers to doing its equivalent online.
One of the first places in Delhi to benefit from social media was Gunpowder in Hauz Khas. This South Indian restaurant is run by a couple, is known for being homely and serves great food that many find to be expensive. You have to climb a hundred rickety stairs to get there and are compensated with the view of the jheel. What’s remarkable about their story is that the owners have never campaigned online, I won’t be surprised if they have never been online to promote their place. The online following comprises solely of people who had actually eaten there, are impressed and defend it passionately against anyone who is not. You can see more of their reviews here and here.
Then there are the startups that no longer depend on newspaper inserts and fate. For example, there is a small Chinese take away place close to my place which has not pushed a menu under my door. Instead, the guy has put his menu on Zomato, offered discount coupons on Khojguru and signed up with JustEat.in for home delivery. Reviews, discount coupons and online home delivery – that completes the marketing cycle for a small restaurant doesn’t it?
One would think this is just a trend or it will appeal only to the youth, but you will be surprised by the number and location of restaurants that are using the above marketing matrix. They are not in the trendiest of places, don’t charge a premium and have good things to say about the returns from their efforts.
As per the customers, they can check out the menu and plan to what to order in advance, see authentic pictures, read reviews, and leave a feedback for others to read once they have been to the place. Everybody wins.
How has your eating out experience changed with social media?