The World Food Travel Association was established in Portland in 2003, and for the first time, it will hold its biannual FoodTrekking World Convention here in the City of Roses, from April 2 to 4. “From our perspective, we’re about providing education and resources to those in food hospitality industry,” says executive director Erik Wolf.
The conference, like the association, which has a presence in 139 countries, is dedicated to helping restaurants and food-related businesses grow by connecting with culinary travelers. Wolf says Portland restaurateurs are in a unique position to increase revenues, thanks to the city’s identity as a food destination.
See what this means in action with Wolf’s three tips below. Business professionals interested in the conference can learn more on its website (the coupon code “spoon” provides a $300 discount).
3 Ways Restaurateurs Can Connect With Portland Food Tourism, According to Executive Director Erik Wolf
- “We need to be proactive ambassadors to stop people from making poor decisions. A lot of people come to Portland and think they need to eat at the top ten restaurants on Yelp. And what about popular stops like Voodoo Doughnuts, Blue Star Doughnuts, and Salt & Straw? Sure, they’re good, but personally, I think we have better doughnuts and ice cream in Portland. For example, I like Fifty Licks, and if I want people to know, I need to reach out. Restaurants and other foodservice businesses need to make an effort to engage with eaters through the networks where they congregate online, such as in specific Facebook groups, on Instagram, or through apps like Chef’s Feed.”
- “Give your customers the ideas, tools, and tips they need to tell their friends, families, and colleagues to try your food. In other words, reach out to the locals. One way to do this is through menu messaging, which helps to plant a seed, an idea for when their friends ask for tips and advice. Tell the story on the menu, whether the chef’s philosophy or the history of your business. I would love to see more frequent use of messaging like, ‘Tell your friends who are visiting that they can experience a genuine taste of Portland on their next trip.’ I think a lot of people just need that seed of an idea and they’ll happily share their favorites with their friends. We’re all so busy, we often forget the obvious.”
- “Consider aligning with a food or drink tour operator. Food tours like Forktown Food Tours here in Portland have surged in popularity, and while tours can’t visit every restaurant of food cart in the city, they are always looking for new ideas to keep their tours fresh and interesting.”