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

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

How Restaurants Should Respond to Customers Asking for Money for Charities

One question that often remains unanswered is what to do with all these people coming to your restaurant and asking for donations (gift certificates).

It seems like lots of people all the sudden think that it is a great idea to go to their favorite restaurant and ask the owners for gift certificates to donate to their children’s schools, their churches or their preferred charities.

Of course, they don’t realize that hundreds of customers and organizations have the same idea and ask for the same gifts. And perhaps they think that this sinking economy is not impacting your business.

And what can you do, poor restaurateur, but suffer the unpleasant experience of having to say NO to these, often pleasant and good people?

Don’t despair. I have a couple of ideas for you to use next time that you get the happy solicitor asking you for a donation:

  1. If the solicitors are organizations with many people: school, hospital, church, charity, etc. Offer to give them many small gift certificates that don’t cover your average price per customer. For example, if your average ticket is $25 per person, offer gift certificates for a value of $10. Also make sure that you clearly print on them that they can’t be combined. You want to take advantage of this opportunity to give away coupons masked as gift certificates for a value less than your average check so that the customers coming will spend more money in your place.
  2. If the solicitors are individual customers. Offer to sell them the gift certificates at a discount. You can apply the same principle than before. You can sell them several $10 gift certificates for a value of $5 each. They can buy as many as they want but they have to give them or raffle them to many people (and not bundling them together) so that many people get to come and try your place. Tell them that you are contributing your share by giving them the discounts, but they also have to contribute theirs by paying for the difference. After all it’s their idea and it should be their donation, not yours.

If you apply both techniques you will:

  • Be happier because you won’t have to say NO to a good cause
  • Leverage your marketing by distributing gift certificates that will bring additional customers (who could be potential clients) to your place at a minimum cost

It is a win-win proposition.

Happy Sailing,
Jose L Riesco
Get a FREE 36 pages Restaurant Marketing Strategies Book Summary here: www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

How Restaurants Should Respond to Customers Asking for Money for Charities

One question that often remains unanswered is what to do with all these people coming to your restaurant and asking for donations (gift certificates).

It seems like lots of people all the sudden think that it is a great idea to go to their favorite restaurant and ask the owners for gift certificates to donate to their children’s schools, their churches or their preferred charities.

Of course, they don’t realize that hundreds of customers and organizations have the same idea and ask for the same gifts. And perhaps they think that this sinking economy is not impacting your business.

And what can you do, poor restaurateur, but suffer the unpleasant experience of having to say NO to these, often pleasant and good people?

Don’t despair. I have a couple of ideas for you to use next time that you get the happy solicitor asking you for a donation:

  1. If the solicitors are organizations with many people: school, hospital, church, charity, etc. Offer to give them many small gift certificates that don’t cover your average price per customer. For example, if your average ticket is $25 per person, offer gift certificates for a value of $10. Also make sure that you clearly print on them that they can’t be combined. You want to take advantage of this opportunity to give away coupons masked as gift certificates for a value less than your average check so that the customers coming will spend more money in your place.
  2. If the solicitors are individual customers. Offer to sell them the gift certificates at a discount. You can apply the same principle than before. You can sell them several $10 gift certificates for a value of $5 each. They can buy as many as they want but they have to give them or raffle them to many people (and not bundling them together) so that many people get to come and try your place. Tell them that you are contributing your share by giving them the discounts, but they also have to contribute theirs by paying for the difference. After all it’s their idea and it should be their donation, not yours.

If you apply both techniques you will:

  • Be happier because you won’t have to say NO to a good cause
  • Leverage your marketing by distributing gift certificates that will bring additional customers (who could be potential clients) to your place at a minimum cost

It is a win-win proposition.

Happy Sailing,
Jose L Riesco
Get a FREE 36 pages Restaurant Marketing Strategies Book Summary here: www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Using Online Social Networking to Attract New Customers to Your Restaurant

Brenda Segna writes in her blog http://segnamarketing.blogspot.com/2008/11/myspace-for-seo-and-web-marketing.html about using MySpace to attract young customers to a Pizza place.

Some restaurant owners (check out these ones: http://www.myspace.com/tarantinopizza and http://www.myspace.com/mamacitascafe as an example) created a MySpace site to promote their businesses.

MySpace is a social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos for teenagers and adults. It is a very music oriented social networking site so teens and young adults constitute the majority of its 120 million members (yes, you read this right One Hundred Million Members!).

As you can imagine, if you have a restaurant targeted to the younger crowd (pizzerias a prototypical example), your message can find them easier if you advertise in the places where they “hang out”. In this case is a virtual hang-out but as valid as the physical world one for marketing purposes.

Creating a MySpace page is free and relatively easy (although the two examples that I gave you have been designed by professionals) so you may want to consider it. There is also the ability to add background music, blogs, etc.

Check out www.myspace.com and give it a try. You never know if it will bring you lots of new customers.

Happy Networking,

Jose L Riesco
© Riesco Consulting Inc.
Restaurant Marketing Strategies

Bracing for a recession

These are tough times for everybody but perhaps restaurateurs are feeling the impact more than most other business since people are cutting down the eating out budget.

I read somewhere that the restaurants suffering the most are the middle priced ones. People who used to pay $20 to $30 for a meal are going now to fast food places to eat cheaper. Fancy restaurant clientele are not being affected that much by the crisis so they can still afford to go out to their favorite upscale restaurant and pay the fare.

So what can you do, if you have a small mid-priced restaurant to survive these down times?

Here are some suggestions for you:

  1. Look at your marketing budget and cut any expenses that you can’t measure. This doesn’t mean to cut down in marketing. Cutting down in marketing in slow times is a terrible idea, although for many restaurateurs is the first thing to do to save money. What you have to do is to make sure that your marketing dollars are working hard. If you don’t know if a marketing campaign is working for you, then assume that it is not. For example, don’t spend money advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio or Yellow Pages if you can’t count how many customers these ads bring to your place. You need to make sure that you are making more revenue from the ads than you are spending in the advertising. This looks like an obvious thing but I can guarantee you that many restaurateurs never question or analyze their advertising expenses.
  2. Reduce your portions if you give lots of food in your dishes. Not only you’ll be doing a favor to your customers (they really don’t need to overeat these huge portions) but you will save in food costs. Reduce quantity and improve quality. Everybody will benefit.
  3. Look at your menu and see if you have dishes that give you very small profits (either because of the high cost of their ingredients or because they are very labor intensive and difficult to prepare). If so, replace them by dishes easier to make or that require less or more inexpensive ingredients. Again, you will save in food costs increasing this way your profit per sale.
  4. Keep an eye on your labor expenses. If you see that some days of the week are slower, reduce your employees these days. If you reduce your labor expenses, you will cope better with slow times since you won’t spend in food if they don’t eat.
  5. Spend extra time and energy pleasing your clients. They are your most important asset, more than your food or your chef or anybody else. If you don’t have clients, nothing else matters. Period. Make them very welcome to your place, bend backwards to please them and try to always exceed their expectations. This is the best way to assure that they will come back.
  6. If you haven’t done so, start a formalized referral system to bring back your best clients. Please read my previous blog to get more information about this point.
  7. Replace costly snail mail by communications via your website and email. This cost you nothing and will allow you to keep in touch with your clients more often.

These are just some ideas for you to implement. In these time of crisis, ingenuity and excellence go a long way to make sure that you’ll be there when the economy recovers and hungry customers are looking for the best places to eat. Your restaurant should be always on top of their minds and their harts.

Good luck!

Jose L Riesco
www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Using Online Social Networking to Attract New Customers to Your Restaurant

Brenda Segna writes in her blog http://segnamarketing.blogspot.com/2008/11/myspace-for-seo-and-web-marketing.html about using MySpace to attract young customers to a Pizza place.

Some restaurant owners (check out these ones: http://www.myspace.com/tarantinopizza and http://www.myspace.com/mamacitascafe as an example) created a MySpace site to promote their businesses.

MySpace is a social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos for teenagers and adults. It is a very music oriented social networking site so teens and young adults constitute the majority of its 120 million members (yes, you read this right One Hundred Million Members!).

As you can imagine, if you have a restaurant targeted to the younger crowd (pizzerias a prototypical example), your message can find them easier if you advertise in the places where they “hang out”. In this case is a virtual hang-out but as valid as the physical world one for marketing purposes.

Creating a MySpace page is free and relatively easy (although the two examples that I gave you have been designed by professionals) so you may want to consider it. There is also the ability to add background music, blogs, etc.

Check out www.myspace.com and give it a try. You never know if it will bring you lots of new customers.

Happy Networking,

Jose L Riesco
Get a FREE 36 pages Restaurant Marketing Strategies Book Summary here: www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Join Ventures

I was reading today the Wall Street Journal online when I read the news that in a new promotion with TiVo Inc., Domino’s Pizza Inc. will begin taking orders using only a TV set from customers who have broadband TiVo service. For the ones of you who don’t know what TiVo is, you can find more information here: (http://www.tivo.com/whatistivo/tivois/index.html)

This is how it works: When a customer forwards through a commercial for Domino’s, TiVo will flash a pop-up advertisement that asks the customer if she would like to order a pizza, then direct her to a Domino’s ordering screen.

I think that the idea is brilliant. Think about it. Who is the ideal candidate to order pizza? Probably somebody who is hungry and watching TV. Domino’s can target their ads to a hungry multitude eager to get their products and able to buy on the spot!

Both companies will benefit from this deal. TiVo will increase its revenue by allowing their technology to display a Domino’s link to their ordering screen. Domino’s will capture thousands of new customers that otherwise will remain inactive or order some food from some competitors.

This is the power of Join Venture. All parties benefit.

Now think about your restaurant: Is there any company that you could make a deal with to promote your business?

Do you have a local business or company whose employees go to your restaurant for lunch on a regular basis? If so perhaps you can make an agreement with the owners or managers and provide them with customized lunches (pre-packaged and easy to eat) that their employees can order (online or on the phone) and your restaurant will deliver to their premises. Explain to the managers that, in this way, their employees don’t need to spend time and go out for eating. They may save time and the employees may appreciate the convenience.

You can also think about other creative solutions such as doing business with:

  • Local jewelry stores: you can sell them gift certificates for a discounted price so that they can pass them along to their customers
  • Car dealers, beauty saloons, hair saloons, spas… : same concept
  • Other restaurants: yes, you can cross-promote other restaurants with a totally different kind of food. People like variety and will try different foods. For example, if you own an Italian restaurant, you can cross-promote a sushi place or an indian restaurant… And they can do the same with you. It is a win/win proposition. I hope that you get the idea.
  • etc.

The possibilities are unlimited. Just think about a partner that can bring customers to your restaurant and try to make an attractive offer that benefit both of you.

Join Ventures

I was reading today the Wall Street Journal online when I read the news that in a new promotion with TiVo Inc., Domino’s Pizza Inc. will begin taking orders using only a TV set from customers who have broadband TiVo service. For the ones of you who don’t know what TiVo is, you can find more information here: (http://www.tivo.com/whatistivo/tivois/index.html)

This is how it works: When a customer forwards through a commercial for Domino’s, TiVo will flash a pop-up advertisement that asks the customer if she would like to order a pizza, then direct her to a Domino’s ordering screen.

I think that the idea is brilliant. Think about it. Who is the ideal candidate to order pizza? Probably somebody who is hungry and watching TV. Domino’s can target their ads to a hungry multitude eager to get their products and able to buy on the spot!

Both companies will benefit from this deal. TiVo will increase its revenue by allowing their technology to display a Domino’s link to their ordering screen. Domino’s will capture thousands of new customers that otherwise will remain inactive or order some food from some competitors.

This is the power of Join Venture. All parties benefit.

Now think about your restaurant: Is there any company that you could make a deal with to promote your business?

Do you have a local business or company whose employees go to your restaurant for lunch on a regular basis? If so perhaps you can make an agreement with the owners or managers and provide them with customized lunches (pre-packaged and easy to eat) that their employees can order (online or on the phone) and your restaurant will deliver to their premises. Explain to the managers that, in this way, their employees don’t need to spend time and go out for eating. They may save time and the employees may appreciate the convenience.

You can also think about other creative solutions such as doing business with:

  • Local jewelry stores: you can sell them gift certificates for a discounted price so that they can pass them along to their customers
  • Car dealers, beauty saloons, hair saloons, spas… : same concept
  • Other restaurants: yes, you can cross-promote other restaurants with a totally different kind of food. People like variety and will try different foods. For example, if you own an Italian restaurant, you can cross-promote a sushi place or an indian restaurant… And they can do the same with you. It is a win/win proposition. I hope that you get the idea.
  • etc.

The possibilities are unlimited. Just think about a partner that can bring customers to your restaurant and try to make an attractive offer that benefit both of you.