I walked past what was the Verve bar on Church Street and noticed that there’s now a “Chimichanga – We’re hiring” sign in the window, so I’m guessing it’s only a matter of weeks before Peterborough’s newest Mexican restaurant is open. I reported on Chimichanga coming to Peterborough back in October so have been keeping an eye out for any new developments.
So Chimichanga is a chain restaurant and I can understand why many people loathe chains with a passion, but I think this is probably a good thing for Peterborough and if you’ll bear with me I’ll give you 5 reasons why…
- I think chain restaurants, like Chimichanga and Prezzo help to raise the profile of other restaurants also in the area by encouraging people to eat out. It’s almost a Lemming-like effect, where people see others dining there and feel they’re missing out if they don’t visit themselves. A well known brand gives reassurance to the diner that they’re not going to get any unwanted surprises.
- Chain restaurants provide an “easy way in” to a potentially new cuisine. Diners worried about eating at somewhere like CoCo where they’re not sure what the food will be like, will have the same reservations about Chimichanga but might feel it’s more accessible. Once they’ve become accustomed to eating Mexican food maybe the diners will feel more adventurous and try CoCo, Latinis, Flamas, etc.
- High profile brands help to encourage other brands into the area. Whether it’s sister companies (as is the case of Prezzo with Chimichanga), rival companies serving the same cuisine or another company with a well known brand (think Nandos, TGI Friday, Wagamamas), the risk is lessened by having an existing chain in place. This can be seen by the number of coffee outlets in Peterborough!
- Marketing by chain restaurants often surpasses the independent restaurant. Think discount vouchers: no-one pays full price for Pizza Express or Ask when there are “Second Meal for £1” deals being thrown around like they’re going out of fashion. It all helps to raise awareness.
Websites run by the chain restaurants are typically better designed, developed and promoted than an independent which is a shame because independents can take more risks with their web strategy and can get better local results. (For web development in Peterborough, get in touch with me at gattonero.co.uk!)
- Consistency across chain restaurants is usually pretty high on the agenda, especially when it comes to the food. Ok so the interior is all probably supplied from a warehouse full of sombrero’s, empty bottles of Mezcal and fake cactii (no offence to Zeki Interiors – I’m sure Peterborough will look great!) but that’s what makes the brand a brand. Anyone that has visited a Chimichanga in Cardiff will know what to expect from the restaurant in Peterborough.
Have you eaten at a Chimichanga? Are you looking forward to visiting the Peterborough restaurant when it’s open? Or do you prefer to sit at home with an Old El Paso dinner kit and a kilo of grated cheddar? Whack a comment into the box below as I’d like to see what others think.