The Restaurant List Co.

I’ve just read a short article in the Orlando Business Journal (Yes, this is the beauty of the Internet, you can read about local news globally!) about two entrepreneurs that came up with an idea to create customized lists for hotels that cite restaurants by category with brief descriptions, addresses, phone numbers and maps, all updated on a monthly basis.

The Restaurant List Co. started in Nashville, Tennessee about a year ago and wants to include more than 100,000 restaurants and 12,000 hotels.

Their business model is to offer the list to hotels for free and make money in the back end from the restaurants that pay between $10 to $300 per month to be included.

So you think this a good idea? Should you advertise in this list if you city happens to be already included in their database?

My short answer is No, I don’t think so. I will explain why I think that this is a waste of money (your money) and why this is an almost obsolete idea in these Internet times:

  • The list will be distributed in hotels. This means that it will capture ONLY people who are traveling and therefore may go to your restaurant once in a blue moon. And this is assuming that they go to your place; remember, there will be hundreds of restaurant listed there! Now, if you are familiar with my restaurant marketing strategies, you know that I recommend cultivating your best existing clients and promoting for them to come more often and bring their friends and family versus expending lots of money trying to attract new customers. This initiative focuses exclusively in this expensive strategy.
  • People who frequent hotels, (at least that your restaurant is located in a turistic area) are usually business travelers. These are technical savvy people who will use the Internet to find good places to eat. With the proliferation of free user-rated sites such as,, and other more prestigious sites such as,, etc. who needs a printed list to chose a restaurant?
  • Since this list is on a per-pay model, any restaurant will be included, mixing high quality expensive restaurants with fast food places and making the clients confused about their choices.
  • Finally, if you really want to attract people who stay in hotels near your place, the best way to do it is to “bribe” the concierges. Offer them a complimentary meal once in a while and they will refer lots of people to your place for much less money than the monthly fee that you’ll have to pay to be included in this list

So there, this is my opinion of the whole idea. If you think that this would work for you, then at least try to track how many people will come to your place because of the list. Make the ad in the list so that the clients coming give you a code or something on exchange for some freebie. This is the only way to track the success of this marketing investment.

Remember, never invest in marketing if you can’t track its results! If you do nothing else and follow this golden rule, you will be way ahead of your competitors and invest wisely your marketing dollars.

Happy Sailing,

Jose L Riesco

Copyright Jose L Riesco

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