Restaurant Marketing Inaction

Sometimes I get frustrated, really frustrated, and I’ll tell you why.

Restaurateurs contact me all the time, looking for restaurant marketing information and solutions. Most of them know that their restaurant marketing is not working. Many understand that good marketing can be the make it or breaking solution to their lack of customers, and they all really want to find a solution to their problems.

But then, when I offer them solutions that really work, even when I provide them with a specific plan and guidelines to improve their business, they do absolutely nothing about it.

Many restaurant owners and managers prefer to pay sales people to run the traditional advertising hat doesn’t work:

  • Ads in newspapers and magazines
  • Blanket mailing of coupons to the wrong target audience
  • Yellow Pages ads
  • Radio ads
  • Etc.

Instead of taking control of their own marketing and spending a few hours of their time implementing marketing strategies that work. This is what frustrates me.

I personally suffer this when I am consulting with many restaurant owners. I teach them the techniques, they acknowledge them and recognize that they make sense and should work, and then… nothing happens. They are so busy running their daily operations (even if the restaurant is half-empty), and complaining about the economy that they don’t have any time or energy left to take any action and improve their business.

There are so many free marketing tools available to restaurateurs such as:

  • Opening a free account in to promote their restaurant.
  • Create an account in Twitter to send hourly promotions to fill in empty seats.
  • Create a formalized referral system. One of the cheapest and most efficient ways to bring back your quality clients. (More information here:
  • Use special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries to attract customers (and they will come with their friends and/or families)
  • Capture people’s name and email in their websites so that they can follow up and email them special offers, etc.
  • And many more…

You would think that these techniques: free or very inexpensive to implement, and extremely effective, would be the main focus of their restaurant marketing right?

Well, not really…

The sad reality is that restaurateurs still prefer to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in very ineffective marketing, and the only reason why they do this is because they don’t have to get involved. They just pay somebody to take responsibility for their marketing, and keep on running their operations hoping for the best. This also gives them a really good excuse to complain about the economy, the market conditions, etc.

Fortunately, this doesn’t happen to all restaurateurs. Some of you really take charge and think strategically about restaurant marketing. And this is good.

Whether we like it or not, the reality is that without solid and strategic marketing, your restaurant (regardless of how good your food or service is) won’t attract the necessary clients. You should think of marketing as a key element In running your business. It is as important as your food, as important as your service. You can’t just ignore it and hope for the best.

There, I feel much better already.

Thank you for reading,

Jose L Riesco
© Riesco Consulting Inc.

One thought on “Restaurant Marketing Inaction

  1. Cristian

    Well said. It is important for Restaurants to start looking beyond traditional means for advertising and promoting their establishments in a time of recession.

    Free services like and enable innovative ways to reach out to people and increase buzz and PR opportunities. Twitter through instant viral communication of updates, specials, promotions, events etc. Chef2video through a simple engaging concept: place a webcam in your kitchen and broadcast live online.

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