Setting your restaurant apart from your competitors is a difficult prospect, especially if they’re even remotely similar to you.

For example, the differences between Tijuana Flats, Chipotle, and Moe’s might be obvious if you’re a frequent fast casual customer. But to the average Joe that’s just looking for a quick taco or burrito bowl? What makes that person decide between these three restaurants? What makes that person decide to choose one of those places in lieu of heading over to Taco Bell?

The answer lies within each of these restaurant’s differentiating factors. Let’s break it down.

Tijuana Flats stands out from the pack for a multitude of reasons. If you’ve ever visited one of their locations, you’ll immediately notice that not only are the walls ordained in wildly vibrant, often-fantastical artwork, but many of the photos lining these walls are of celebrities at their various locations. And that’s just the atmosphere. Tijuana Flats has a huge hot sauce bar, bottomless chips, and awesome weekly deals.

Chipotle’s differentiating factor is that they have high-quality food, and they make sure you know it. Just take a look at their website. Two of the main tabs on their site link to “Nutrition” and “Food With Integrity” pages.

And then there’s Moe’s. Much like Chipotle, Moe’s places a focus on having fresh ingredients in their dishes. But one of their biggest differentiators is their overwhelmingly popular queso, fueled by their annual “Free Queso Day.”

Let’s look at a personal anecdote. Over the Thanksgiving break, I went to catch up with a pair of friends at a local sushi restaurant. I’d never heard of the place before, but one of my friends just had gone recently, and he came back insisting that it was the best sushi place in town. I didn’t believe him at first, so naturally we had to go check it out.

I was wrong. It was the best sushi place in town. But that’s not what’s important. During our dinner, our waitress made the salient point that their fish was imported from Japan. I can’t tell you whether or not any of the other sushi places in town import their fish from Japan, but what I can tell you is that this place does, and that I’m much more likely to head back there now. Therein lies the power of the differentiating factor.

Differentiate With CoGoBuzz

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What do you do to differentiate your restaurant? Let us know in the comments!