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May 2012

The Bistro On Main: Branding From A Foodie Perspective

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took a road trip to Elora Ontario to check out an antiques fair. Pleasantly tired but starving, we were in the mood for a casual dining experience. Decked out in jeans, we didn't feel comfortable walking into a high end dining place nor did we want to shell out big bucks for the experience.

After a disappointing search in Guelph, we opted to head back to Toronto and stop off in Milton. After all, it was a road trip and we could eat in Toronto any day.

As far as dining goes, Milton offers one strip full of pubs and restaurants. Great variety - but the options were either too casual (ie. greasy foods) or too formal. Just when we were about to give up, we came across a lovely hip venue called The Bistro On Main.

Although there were what seemed like Christmas decorations in the window, we decided to give the place a chance. The menu looked perfect. Gourmet salads and sandwiches at very reasonable prices. The place is bistro-size (aka smallish) but that suited our needs just fine

Service was excellent, and the food was amazing. I expected "OK" food, but the experience told us that this place really cares about its customers. Great quality, at extremely reasonable prices. We could tell the chef really put a lot of effort into creating the best "sandwich" experience. I had grilled crabmeat and cheese which was incredible. The fresh wheat bread was a nice touch too. The more than generous portions meant we could take home enough food to cover our lunch the next day.

Now I'm not writing this solely to plug this place (but I'm giving it a huge thumbs up). My point is that there are lots of ways to make your brand stand out. Give me a good experience, and I will return. Not only will I return, but I will talk about it too. And those people will tell other people.

In the ultra competitive food business, there are way too many options for consumers. We gave this place a chance, and were extremely impressed. What counted most was the effort and care the owner (Jonathan Yau) put into every dish. The quality, the amount, the look, the seasoning, the service..it all blended together into a delightful symphony of the stomach. And it didn't cost us a fortune for the experience.

Branding is about finding a way to make your business or name stand out. It's about your story, and the story you and your customers tell to other people. Set the precedent and give your customers a fabulous experience, and you will stand out and succeed.

And the next time you're in Milton, do stop in and say hi to Jonathan. And say Karen from Toronto sent you.

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