When my business partner and I bought Dizzy's Diner back in 2008, it was already established as a business. It had been created back in 1979 as an authentic American diner situated on Beckenham high street. The restaurant was a firm favourite amongst the locals and stood the test of time.
At Dizzy’s we had always catered for families, birthdays, any celebrations and the classic pre cinema meals (because of our close proximity to the cinema on the high street). Although the business was ticking along quite nicely, I still wanted more. I wanted to build a recognised brand and my own Dizzy’s community. I decided to start creating promotions on different nights of the week. We made flyers for each event and gave them out in local venues, targeting one specific area. We had Rib Tuesdays, £5 Burger Wednesdays. I created kids party packages and a cocktail menu for the adults which really went down well. Every Thursday we had a happy hour.
We started doing themed nights, every third Friday we had a motown singer come and sing live. Our customer numbers were going up. I had so many ideas, but I still wasn't reaching the numbers I wanted. These were all promotions I had seen done in other venues, but I knew there were other channels I could exploit. So I did.
I created a Facebook page and other social media accounts, but thought it would be best to focus on one social media account instead of spreading myself too thin. Consistently posted photos of our restaurant and reflecting the exciting events we were holding through the social media channels. I was also fully aware of recommendations so decided to build up our reviews and used TripAdvisor. There are also some amazing online tools you can use for your business saving huge amounts of time and resources.
From some of the local groups I joined on Facebook I knew that certain activities were taking place in my local area. I started contacting the organisers, which lad to me doing the food stalls at summer school fairs, events put on by local churches and then the jackpot my local park. I got very hands on and built some great relationships along the way.
Getting involved in the park was a stroke of genius and was just good timing on my part. I was out with my children one day and I saw a flyer about the friends of the park, round table meeting. The Round Table is a non profit organisation that supports your local community, they work throughout the UK and Ireland. Round Table clubs raise over £3.3 million a year for local charities and good causes through various events including bonfire nights, beer festivals and Santa sleigh collections. I went and negotiated to provide food for their annual firework display, along with other vendors. From then on I started working with them whenever we could, offering our services whenever they were needed. I attended every round table meeting and we maintained in constant contact so whenever anyone did consider food they thought of us.
We created a great relationship with the park and after a year of catering for their events I spoke them around into doing my own Dizzy’s Diner event. I created the Dizzy’s Diner summer fete. We did flyers and posters and shouted to the rooftops through any channel we could. Facebook, Twitter, baby groups, local cafes.
We charge an entrance fee and for people to have stalls there. I provided entertainment using local dance groups more than one this was to ensure all the mums would come. Dizzy's provide all the drinks and food. We also provide some inflatables like a bungee jump and bouncy castle. I get these free by allowing the companies to advertise at the event. Dizzy's summer fair has been going for 3 years now. This year we had over 1000s people through the gates.
We followed on with the success of the summer fair by doing outdoor cinema events this year. Both went amazingly well and we have already booked our third date.
Without the backing of the local community these events would not have had the success we have had. I would recommend any business to think about how you could use Facebook in your local area. Join groups and start getting involved in the community liking and commenting on posts. Promote your own business when people ask about birthday parties etc.
As a business I have always embraced the power of the web and technology. We have always had an up to date website with menus and special offers featured on it. We advertise all local events we are involved on my website and social media channels. We are always looking at new technology and how we can use it to enhance our business and increase profits.
When someone informed me about Deliveroo I knew Dizzy’s would be the perfect fit. We signed up and within a week were delivering 20 takeaway covers. I was reluctant to start up deliveries myself as I knew how much work was involved in the set up, but this offered a perfect solution.
Every year Dizzy's events get better. Every year I'm doing more covers and my restaurant now opens for lunch and diner. In a busy high street packed with amazing eateries I'm proud Dizzy's thrives and I will continue to grow my business. I am thinking of opening another branch shortly so watch this space.
Lucy Bateman - Owner of Dizzy’s Diner in Beckenham