Promoting Your Restaurant in Twitter

Andy Lynes in his latest blog in Big-hospitality: www.bighospitality.co.uk talks about the success of some restaurants using Twitter to promote their businesses.

You can read his blog here: http://www.bighospitality.co.uk/item/3072/23/5/3

Twitter, with more than 6 million unique visitors (UV) a month is the fastest growing Social Network Site. In the attached table you can see how it grew from number 22 to number 3 in a year (and this data is 3 moths old!):
Twitter stats

Although Twitter can’t compete (yet) with Face-book or MySpace in the sheer number of users, it has an advantage that the other two social media sites don’t have: immediacy

When you send a Tweet (a Tweet is a short Twitter message, up to 140 characters), your followers immediately receive it. This gives you a great opportunity to broadcast pertinent information to them.

For example, are you having a slow lunch day?

You can tweet your followers a message announcing that if they go to your restaurant within the next hour, and tell your servers that they saw this offer in Twitter, you will give them a free dessert, (or a 10% discount, or whatever attractive offer you want to make to attract people).

In this way, not only you can capture new customers in slow days/hours but you can also track Twitter’s results. You will know how many of your new customers are coming because of Twitter, (they will tell you!).

And the best of all, it’s that you will do all of this in a very inexpensive (Twitter is free to use so you’ll only absorb the cost of the discount) and interactive way. It surely beats mailing coupons (with the high cost of printing and mailing) and gives you the freedom to totally adapt it to your hourly needs.

But Twitter is not just a US phenomena. Its popularity Worldwide is spreading very fast. In this chart you can see the breakdown of the top 10 countries. So if you restaurant is in any of these countries

you better start Twittering to them.
Twitter penetration
Some other useful information is to know who is using Twitter. This site: http://www.istrategylabs.com/twitter-2009-demographics-and-statistics/ shows very interesting Twitter statistics broke down by sex, age, ethnicity, kids/no kids households, and average income and education. Very interesting information if you use Twitter (or are planning to use it) to target your audience.

So my question to you is: Are you using Twitter to reach your clients (or followers) to promote your restaurant?

If not, you are missing a great a free tool. It totally makes sense that you use this tool to reach to your customers; after all, they are already using Twitter!

Since I know that technology can be sometimes intimidating, and there are so many ways to use Twitter (including many to waste an incredible amount of time with this tool), I am creating a report called: “How to Use Twitter to Promote Your Restaurant”. In this report I explain step by step how to setup a Twitter account, how to use free tools to create a targeted list of followers, how to communicate with them and how to maximize the power of Twitter to promote your restaurant. I included lots of screen captures to help you with the whole process. I think you’ll love it, and the best of all, it will be very inexpensive.

I will announce here when it’s ready.

Have a great day,
Jose L Riesco (www.twitter.com/jlriesco )

Converting Prospect Into Loyal Restaurant Clients

Every time a new person walks in the door, your front of the house personnel (hostess or servers) should have been trained by you to approach them and ask them if this is their first time in your restaurant.

“Is this your first time in our restaurant?  Well let me tell you about us…”

Ask your staff to pitch about the restaurant, about you, how did you started, where did you get the recipes, anything that it’s personal and differentiates your restaurant from your competitors (and by the way, this is the perfect place to pitch your Unique Selling Proposition to your potential and future clients.)

The purpose of this buyer education is to create brand loyalty. Once your clients build a relationship with your restaurant, they are more likely to visit your place than your competitor’s. 

By knowing more about you and your business, you personalize their relationship and their loyalty with your restaurant.

This is why it’s also a good idea to have an online (or printed) quarterly or bimonthly newsletter so that you can give your clients interesting information about your place, your staff and your cuisine.

How Newspapers Going Out of Business Impact Your Restaurant Marketing

The Seattle Post Intelligence, one of the two still remaining daily newspapers in the Seattle area, just published the following (bad) news:

“After 146 years of delivering news, the Seattle P-I faces becoming what it has chronicled: history. The Hearst Corp., said Friday that it has put the paper up for sale, and it will stop publishing unless someone buys it in 60 days.”
 
This is not the first and won’t be the last newspaper to bite the dust. And what does this have to do with your restaurant you may ask?
 
Plenty, please bear with me and keep on reading.
 
This is the sign that more and more people are looking for their news online (actually the Seattle PI is thinking about having a Web only presence) and buying less and less newspapers and printed magazines.
 
PC Magazine was another casualty of the Web. They’ve stopped printing their magazine (to which I was a subscriber) in January 1st this year and they have an only Web presence now.
 
The reason why the printed media is becoming extinct is because their main source of revenue: advertising is dying.
 
Most newspapers and magazines can’t cover costs by selling them to their readers or subscribers. The revenue making piece is (or was) their advertising. Since more and more advertisers are taking their business online, the traditional media is getting less and less revenues from their printed versions.
 
Consider the damage that online classified ads such as Craiglist (free for everyone to post and read most of the ads) has done to newspapers where people used to pay quite a lot to run an ad. All the sudden people are not paying anymore for posting printed ads since they can reach an even larger audience and change the ads on the fly (or retract them once they sell the items). And the best part is that they can do all of this for free!
 
Now, going back to your restaurant. This should hint you several important trends for your businenss:
 
If you ares till spending money in printed ads (in newspapers, magazines and yellow pages, for example), you are probably wasting your money and reaching less and less of your potential customers.

  • You must have an online marketing plan with as many as the following offerings as possible:
  • A streamlined and excellent website
  • An email list of your clients where you send them updated information about your restaurant
  • Presence in Social Networks such as FaceBook or MySpace
  • A Twitter account where you send updates, discounts and interesting news to your followers
  • Online booking system
  • etc.

Your customers are online. They go online to look for news, for reviews and for recommendations about restaurant. You better be online as well to check what they are reading and commenting about your place.

There are things that you can do to improve your reviews and ratings but above all, you must always keep your clients happy and provide them with excellent food and service. Compensate them for any mistakes or issues and don’t even give them a reason to write a bad review about your place.

An online bad review will mean a loss of potential customers who will read the reviews and decide to take their business elsewhere.

Reviews are also a great direct feedback. Try to respond to it and take action so that you won’t repeat the same mistakes again in the future.

So there you have it.

Always be alert about the continously changing marketplace and try to be one step ahead of your competitors. You need to adverstise and market where your customers are.

Statistics tell us that most of them are online now so you should be there as well.
 
Happy sailing,
Jose L. Riesco

Restaurant Marketing Top 20 Questions and Answers Free Videos

Hello everyone,

Today, after a long and hard work, I finally managed to finalized and upload to my website 20 videos (actually there are 3 extra ones but these don’t count) with questions and answers about restaurant marketing.

You see? For several months now I’ve compiled questions and concerns that restaurateurs, just like yourself, asked me when they subscribed to my free Restaurant Marketing Strategies Newsletter and Book Summary.

Then, I’ve categorized the questions and selected the top 10 questions that restaurateurs asked me. To answer the questions, I’ve created 10 short videos (2 to 5 minutes each).

But I still wanted to do more to help you with your marketing, so I decided to create another 10 videos with the top questions that restaurateurs should ask me about Restaurant Marketing and my answers to these. These 10 additional Questions and Answers follow the chapters of my Restaurant Marketing Strategies Book.

So the total number of videos is 20 and the best of all is that they are all free for you to get.

That’s right; you just need to go to my website www.myrestaurantmarketing.com and enter your name and email and you will get right away the first video as well as my Restaurant Marketing Strategies Book Summary.

You will also get subscribed to my Restaurant Marketing Strategies monthly newsletter.

I hope that you find the videos useful. Again, they are all free for you.

Happy Sailing,

Jose L Riesco

Having Other People Writing Content for Your Restaurant’s Blog, Website or Newsletter

So you have a website and, since you have done your homework, you have also a subscription form where you capture your visitor’s names and email on exchange from some freebies or discounts to try your restaurant (because you do this don’t you?).

So now what can you do with all these names and emails?

Well, of course, you are going to send them newsletters, or emails or refer them to your blogs to keep your restaurant fresh in their minds.

But, who has the time to write all the content for the newsletter or blog?

You can write some of it, specially if you talk about your new staff, your offers, events or any other special celebration that happens at your place since this is your turf as the restaurant owner or manager.

So what can you do if you don’t have any event or special celebration or any other interesting news to share with your clients?

Easy: you can borrow content.

Yes, that’s right; there are hundreds if not thousands of bloggers out there who write regularly (unfortunately I am not one of them, I should dedicate some more time to write my blogs) and will be more than happy to share their content with you, on exchange for a link in your website or acknowledgment of their contribution

Whatever topic you can think of, there are somebody in the blogosphere writing about it.

So think about topics that you can include in your regular emails or newsletters, or if you have a blog yourself, in your blog.

For example do you have an ethnic restaurant? Then you can write about your country, or your specific region or about some interesting information about the foods and drinks that you sell in your restaurant.

What about if you have an all American restaurant or a fast food place? You can still write interesting facts about your area, recipes related with the food that you serve, etc.

So where can you find bloggers willing to share their stories with you?

Fortunately there are many resources available in the Web that can help you find the perfect blog for your content.

You may want to check out http://www.blogcatalog.com/ it is one of the largest blog directories on the Internet.

If you want to use the king of search engines, Google also has a blog specific search engine. You can find it at: http://blogsearch.google.com/

Another popular way to search the blogosphere is Technorati. In their directory at: http://technorati.com/blogs/directory/ you can find a Food and Wine category that can help you out.

These are just a few examples, there are many more. Just do a search, browse the blogs and, when you find one that talks about topics that you think would be interesting for your clients, contact the blogger and offer to publish their blog in your site/newsletter/email/website on exchange for full credit and a link to their own blog. Most of them would be very happy to do so.

So here you have it. Keep in touch with your clients and get free content to share with them.

This is a win/win proposition.

Happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Follow me in Twitter: http://twitter.com/jlriesco

Your Restaurant Marketing Needs to Be Creative in This Economy

In an economy where many people are trying to reduce spending, going out to eat is probably one of the first expenses to cut. Many restaurants are feeling the slowdown and seeing their revenues plummet these days.

So what can restaurateurs do to bring customers back?

First, let me tell you what you shouldn’t do: You shouldn’t reduce your marketing efforts to save money. Notice that I’ve said marking efforts, not marketing expenses.

Most restaurateurs are spending a lot in marketing without getting a good return of their investments. They are basically wasting their money.

So first thing that you need to do is sit down and look at all your marketing expenses. Make a list and eliminate the ones that you can’t measure and test. If the results are not tangible, you shouldn’t spend your money on them.

Next, categorize the rest starting with the ones that work the best and make sure that you keep on investing in these ones. Cutting down effective marketing campaigns is a big mistake in times of crisis, when customers need to hear from you more than ever.

Finally, try to come up with creative new marketing ideas that can bring you results and don’t need big investments.

Think for example how can you motivate your current customers so that they come back to your place. What incentives can you give them to bring them over again and again? Most people think coupons but there are many other mechanisms to keep people coming to your place. Here you have a few ideas:

  • Create a wine club and offer discounts in selected wines to your best clients.
  • Offer to reserve their favorite table if they book the place right after they finish their meals and before they leave your restaurant. Many people really love to have dinner in a specific table.
  • Make easy for them to make reservations via your website, OpenTable, Twitter, etc.
  • Offer them a special dish and tell them that it is not available to the regular customers, only to select clients (just like them). You can have a special dish made just for your best clients. People love to feel special.
  • If they don’t drink a whole bottle of wine, offer to give them a good wine by the glass that you normally don’t serve. You can use the same bottle for your frequent clients. Pick a good quality wine and don’t overcharge them for it. You can even charge them to just make a little profit. The idea is to attract them back so that they have a motivation to come to your place.

These are just a few ideas. As you can see, they don’t cost much to implement and can motivate your best clients to come back to your place.

Do you have more ideas? Share them in the comments field.

Happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

How Customers Are Looking for Restaurants

If you think that your potential customers will find your restaurant in the Yellow Pages, think again.

First watch this video, and then keep on reading…

Did you get it? People, (and not only young people, this also includes your potential customers) go online to look for places to eat. No more browsing in the paper ads or opening the thick yellow book. No Sire.

The Web not only provides them with information regarding the offers around them, but also gives them a map with the location, photos of the place, directions to get there and the most important, opinions from other people about the restaurants.

You can spend fortunes in marketing printing ads in newspapers and magazines, buying half pages (or whole pages) in the Yellow Pages, advertising on the radio, etc. but nobody really cares. Your customers are not looking there, they are looking online. They use the Web to search for the best places to eat.

So what can you do to attract them to your restaurant? Simple; have a great website with lots of useful information (I wrote an article about web presence in one of my monthly newsletters. It is called Restaurant Online Marketing. You can also find other interesting archived newsletters in my website, here: Archived Newsletters

But more important, have great reviews from anybody who goes to eat at your place.

And how do you do that? The answer is simple in words and difficult in execution: Make everybody who goes to eat at your place very happy. Exceed their expectations. Deal with any potential issue generously and never, never argue with a client, even if they are wrong. You will regret it later on because they will let the whole world how bad your place is.

And guess what all these people who are looking for restaurants online will read? Exactly, how bad your place is.

Don’t make that mistake. Think about any complementary food that you need to give away as a marketing expense. Just make everybody happy and don’t give them any room for complains. This is the only way to have great online reviews, this is your advertising and all your marketing should revolve around this idea.

Restaurant Marketing: Do you know your customers?

Do you know your customers? No really; do you?

Often restaurateurs market to the wrong people instead of trying to target their message to their core customer base.

Again, who are your customers? Think about it, this is important for your marketing.

If you have a fast food place, your customers could be almost anybody (even Warren Buffet eats once in a while at McDonald’s) but they all have some common expectations such as:

  • They want a quick meal
  • They want a cheap meal
  • They want it delivered fast

If you, on the other hand, have a family friendly restaurant your audience is looking for something different:

  • Kids menus
  • Good food for adults also
  • Perhaps some alcoholic beverages for the parents
  • Moderately fast service
  • etc.

What about if you have a medium to upper scale restaurant? Then your customers will be looking for:

  • Good food
  • Quite environment so that they can talk and converse
  • Perhaps romantic or elegant ambience
  • Soft background music
  • Good drinking list: wines, beers, spirits, etc.
  • Slow service so that they have time to enjoy their meals and conversations,
  • etc.

So you see? If you have a family restaurant, it is probably a waste of money marketing to singles or professionals looking for a quite atmosphere to conduct their business… And viceversa. Families don’t care about fancy restaurants where they will be uncomfortable with their kids and will make the rest of the customers uncomfortable as well.

If you know your audience, you can totally target your marketing efforts to them: your advertising, your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), your offers and discounts, your communication… they should all talk directly to your customers. They should be totally targeted to your core audience. Don’t waste your money, your time and your customer’s time trying to offer them something that they are not interested in.

You will both benefit.

Happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco

Get my 40 pages free Restaurant Marketing Book Summary here:
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Subscribe to my blog:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/RestaurantMarketingStrategies

Why Restaurant Marketing is So Important for Your Business

Many restaurateurs spend most of their time running the daily operations: inventory control and ordering, making sure that the place is clean, that the employees turns are in order, that the broken dishwasher gets fixed, etc.

There are a million tasks that form part of the daily routine of running a restaurant business. All are important and all of them need to be taken care of.

However, there is usually one task that most of the restaurateurs are happy to delegate: their restaurant marketing.

Most restaurateurs are not very business savvy people. They open their restaurants because they love to cook and to mingle with their customers. They naïvely think that offering good food at reasonable prices is enough to attract customers to fill their tables…

The reality check is often brutal and leaves restaurant owners scratching their heads in disbelief, wondering why their place is mostly empty while other nearby restaurants seem to be always full.

The problem is that the world is full of good restaurants. Competition in the restaurant business is brutal and, if you own a restaurant you should know that is not enough to offer good food. You also must compete with many other restaurants that are often wiser than you investing their marketing dollars.

So, if marketing is so important, why is that restaurateurs are more than happy to give their marketing budget away to sales reps?

You know whom I mean. These are the sales people who flock to restaurants always offering a good deal, although “You must act now because the next issue is going to print and you are going to miss it!”

You know what? Miss it! It is probably a waste of money anyway.

I’ve just started coaching a restaurant. When I sat with the owner and we did an inventory of all his marketing expenses, his eyes almost popped out of the sockets.

He is spending more than $3,000 USD a month in mostly useless marketing. And the best part is that, until now, he never did an analysis of the return of investment that his marketing expenses are bringing him.

You don’t need to be a marketing genius to expend your marketing budget wisely, just follow one simple rule. Just one. If you follow this rule and do nothing else, I guarantee you that your marketing will improve dramatically.

Ok are you ready?

The rule is: Never invest in any marketing that you can’t track and measure the results.

That’s it: Very simple, very straightforward and very logical.

If a sales rep comes to your place and ask you to place an ad in his newspaper, or directory or whatever he is selling you, just ask them: How can you guarantee me that if I spend $1,000 with you, you will give me at least $1,500 in business?

If all they offer you is their word that their ads work, just ask him to guarantee it in writing. If their marketing is really effective, they shouldn’t be afraid to back it up with a solid guarantee. However, I can assure you, they won’t do it. And you know why? Because they can’t.

Most of the traditional restaurant marketing only benefits the advertising companies that produce it.

If they can guarantee you the results, go for it, you have nothing to lose and much to win. If not, think about other ways where you can track and measure your results.

It sounds simple but it requires that you have a marketing plan and stick to it.

Good luck!

Jose L Riesco
Free 40 Pages Restaurant Marketing Strategies Book Summary:
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Interactive Restaurant Marketing

I’ve just finished watching a 15 minutes video presented by Noah N. Glass, Founder and CEO of GoMobo about Interactive Restaurant Marketing.

The key takeaway is that 2/3 of the top restaurant marketers in attendance are spending less than 10% of their advertising budget online in a time when customers consume 41% of their media online.

Closing this gap is the key to thriving in a challenging economic climate by increasing marketing targeting and tracking. You wan to advertise and market where your clients are.

This marketing won’t work as effectively for everybody:

It works specially well for restaurants that sell food to go or to pickup.

So what about if you have a sit-down restaurant? You can still benefit from many of the online marketing techniques such as sending electronic gift certificates to celebrate your best client’s birthdays (or anniversaries) or announce special promotions or events.

Your website should be the forefront of your marketing efforts. You need to capture your customers information (email, phone number) and then act upon it to reach your customers and invite them to take action:

If you have delivery service or food to-go, you can just add an online ordering form to your site so that you make easy for your clients to order food directly from your restaurant.
If you don’t have delivery or food to-go you still can use your site to email your best clients gift certificates or award programs as well as targeted deals, restaurant news, etc. (Of course you can do this as well for the food to go or delivery service).

In any case, a totally worthwhile 15 minutes of your time. You can watch the video here: Watch GoMobo’s 15-Minute Video on Interactive Restaurant Marketing

Enjoy the Holidays!

Jose L Riesco
Get the FREE 36 pages Restaurant Marketing Strategies Book Summary
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com