ROLLING: Culinary travelers take on Europe.
If you want to drive extra revenue for your restaurant, you've got a juicy new target to go after: culinary travelers.
We didn't know just how big this group was until the Travel Industry Association of American did research to define it. Their findings: 12.6 million leisure travelers say they travel specifically to participate in culinary or wine-related activities. Even better, this emerging demographic has a lot of money to spend, and they're looking to spend it at businesses like yours.
We leave it to you to decide how your restaurant will lure these free-spenders in. But keep in mind there's more than one way to play the culinary tourism boom.
In particular, we like the approach of the chefs who've signed on to lead culinary themed bike tours in Europe. A free vacation, plenty of fresh air and exercise plus perks galore make it an ideal gig from the leader's point of view.
Heading tour provider Ciclismo Classico's 2007 bicycle-based culinary trips in Europe and their destinations are:
- Chef Dante de Magistris, Amalfi Stroll & Roll. His new restaurant, Dante, opens this spring in the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Boston.
- Chef Pino Maffeo, Sun Tyrol Roll. Maffeo, a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 2006, heads the kitchen at Boston's Restaurant L.
- Chefs Andy Husbands and Ed Doyle, Provence. Husbands is chef/owner of Boston's Tremont 647 and a barbecue circuit competitor extraordinaire; Doyle was last executive chef at Aura in Boston.
- Chef Danilo Zecchin, Southern Piedmont. Zecchin is the executive chef for Cia Bella Gelato. This one was voted "2007 Trip of the Year" by Outside magazine.
- Sommelier Christopher Russell, Tuscany and the Island of Elba. He's run the beverage programs at Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe.
Note that these trips combine two of the travel industry's hottest segments: adventure travel and culinary travel. Why not lead one, or create a tour of your own? Only intermediate-level biking proficiency is required.