Marketing Your Restaurant in a Slow Economy

It looks like you can’t turn on the radio or TV these days without hearing about the crisis of the economy and recession in the country.

If you just listen to these (bad) news, it looks like the sky will fall on top of our heads any minute now. Restaurant business is a economy driven business and perhaps eating out is the first thing in the chopping list when people don’t have enough disposable income.

However, the good news is that there is always enough people to fill in your place if you don’t get scared and make the following 4 main mistakes:

  1. Reducing Your Marketing and Sales

⁃ This looks like a no brainer. If the business is slow, you need to beef-up your marketing, not cut it down.
⁃ However most restaurateurs make the mistake of reducing costs by reducing their marketing investments. Please notice that I am not proposing to spend more money in marketing. There are many ways to increase your marketing presence while decreasing your marketing costs.
⁃ If you haven’t done so yet, setup a formalized referral system. This is the best and cheapest way to get and maintain quality clients.
⁃ You can find more information about referral systems in my free audio interview. Download here:

2. Cutting Corners in Quality to Save Money

⁃ You may feel tempted to cut down in the quality of your ingredients to save some money but, believe me, your clients will notice that the quality of your dishes is going down and then they will take their money to some of your competitors.
⁃ Because it is a slow economy, this also means that your clients will be more selective in their restaurant picks. Don’t lower your quality to save a few bucks. Your clients will resent it and so will you when they don’t show up anymore in your place.

3. Reducing Your Work Force

⁃ It is OK to adapt your work force to the needs of your restaurant, but don’t make the mistake to have so few people in your staff that your service will suffer. Great food and service are the cornerstones of any restaurant and you can’t afford to cut any of them.

4. Caring More About Saving Money Than Taking Care of Your Clients

⁃ Never forget what your restaurant is all about. It is all about your clients. Without clients, there is no business. Without business, there is no restaurant. Don’t ever forget that.

Your clients are the lifeblood of your restaurant and in tough times is specially important that you make them feel like royalty. If they are going to spend their hard earned money in your place, you better give them a great reason to do so. After a great dinning experience, they will be more likely to go back to your place than to give their money to your competitors.

This is it, if you can avoid these mistakes, you will be better off than many of your competitors. Don’t forget that there are enough clients to fill your restaurant. Only the restaurateurs that forget the basics and try to save money in the wrong places, will suffer the down turn of this always variable economy.

Happy Sailing,

Jose L Riesco

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