One of my favourite restaurants is the "Detroit Eatery" on the Danforth.
It's know for it's Detroit Red Wings and KISS memorabilia, shots of Jager on tap and arguably the best burger on this side of the Bloor Viaduct.
The restaurant gets frequent visits by celebrities living in the area. On any given day you might run into Rick Mercer, Jim Cuddy and many more. Mick Foley was a guest there and even Kris Draper brought the Cup there to celebrate after the Red Wings 2008 victory!
I'm far from a business guru. In fact I might be the opposite. However, one thing I recognize time after time is what makes a business successful in a unique situation. This is both observational AND something that has been brought to my attention by business coaches I've worked with. When you analyze the shit out of these unique situations you start to notice consistent traits between great businesses.
Here are a few of them.
1. Build a Community
If you're wondering what's up with that intro picture - yes that's 21 year old me wearing a Detroit Eatery t-shirt at Yankee Stadium for the BIG 4 concert circa October 2011.
Now if you're wondering what the relevance is other than me wearing a Detroit eatery shirt, it's that this is the exact photo that's up on the wall in Detroit Eatery. It's hung right in-between a signed and framed picture of Bobby Orr's iconic goal and another framed picture of Detroit Red Wings jerseys in chronological order. The thing is, mine isn't the only one. The restaurant is filled with pictures of customers wearing Detroit eatery shirts all over the world. From Greece to the Great Wall of China.
I think if there was one word to describe the Detroit eatery it would be "community". This place feels like home and is a local hub for so many people of so many demographics. You're bound to run into someone you know.
It's a place where you go to watch the game and support your team while having a few bevys. It's a place where you go in the mornings for breakfast (especially their all day hangover breakfasts) or take your family for brunch. It's a place to go for a pre-drink before heading out downtown. And most importantly, it's a place where the owners really care. They'll sit down and have a chat with you no matter who you are. It's a free and inviting atmosphere where descrimination is the last word you could possibly think of. Any given morning you'll find all walks of life getting their day started right, and if Chris Antaras thinks you need a little pick me up he might just slide you a shot of ice cold Jager.
Detroit Eatery sponsor local events like "Greektown Wrestling" and hockey teams in the past. They get their meat from a local meat market and they sell beer from a local brewery. They also always have one of the biggest lineups for a chicken or pork souvlaki during the Taste of Danforth Festival.
2. Have a Great Quality Product/Service (in this case - food)
Detroit Eatery is home to one of the best burger I've ever had. For about $10 it rivals or succeeds most $30+ burgers you'd get at a fancy sit down restaurant. It checks another proven mini lesson off the list: Be the best at one thing.
They make a product that gets people wanting to go back.
This ties into the next section.
3. Know Who YOU Are and Who Your Market Is
Although the food is great, they know they aren't some fancy shmancy dress up place with top shelf alcohol (unless you count Jager on tap as top shelf) and a Michelin star rating. They know who they are and who their market is and it makes them extremely successful. They make great tasting food for a very reasonable price. They're catering to the people looking for that.
It's a place with great food, great vibes, they all know your name and ask you "what's going on?". They cater to the community and and give them what they want. Owner Chris Antaras is a relatable, cool, down to earth guy. I've known him since I was a kid and he IS his market!