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

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

Great Service

What constitutes great service when you go to a restaurant?

This is one of these things that are difficult to describe, but you know it when you see it, or better yet, when you experience it.

Some times we go to a restaurant where the service is so obviously poor that there is no question about it: long delays, rude or inattentive waiters, mistakes with the food or drinks orders that don’t get compensated, apologized, etc.

We know that it has been poor service and we can totally account and

However, other times, although everything seems OK, we have the impression that something is missing. Yes, the waiters were on time and yes, they delivered the food and drinks that we ordered in a reasonable time and yet, however, something is missing: I will call it the WOW factor.

You see? We humans are very tuned, although many times, in a subconscious level, to the feelings and moods of other people. If a waiter is unhappy, or just has a bad day, you will notice. That mood, that unhappiness will be transmitted to the people who their customers.

The reverse is also true. A happy, sincerely smiling waiter, transmits their happiness to their clients, chatting with them and making them feel good. It doesn’t matter that much if they make a mistake or forget some food item because their tables will feel connected with them and understand and forgive their mistakes.

This seems unfair, after all, every person has the right to be moody or unhappy. So how does the waiters mood or disposition relate to the restaurant owners or managers? What can you do if they have unhappy faces or unhappy lives?

Well, to start with, many of the unhappiness of your employees could probably be related to your work environment.

You should ask yourself. Are your employees happy to work for your restaurant? Happy to work for you? If you try to squeeze as much as you can from them, they will resent you and transmit this resentment to their tables, to your clients!

I mention in my online seminar that the quality of your restaurant is as good as the quality of your weakest link. If your employees are not happy working for you, your clients will suffer the consequences.

I am not saying that you need to bend backwards to please your employees. After all, they are also human and therefore always want the best for themselves, even if they are not being fair with their fellow coworkers.

What I am saying is that you should provide your employees with the best work environment that you can (of course while still running a profitable business). Trying to take advantage of your employees by having unreasonable working hours, treating them with disrespect, paying them late, etc. will make them unhappy and will make you lose a lot of money in the long term with your clients.

Happy employees make happy clients. Period.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
jose@riescoconsulting.com
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

Exceeding Expectations

How many times do you get one of these surveys, specially after buying a new car (see my previous blog titled
where they expect you to fill them always with the top score? (Meaning that they’ve exceeded all your expectations).
If we followed the car dealers’ standards, “Exceeding Expectations” would mean OK service…
Or did they delivered the car to your door at work or at home? Did they give you an incredible discount or did something so out of the ordinary that you were in shock and awe (and not in a negative way!) because it greatly surprised you?
These would be cases of exceeding expectations. Giving you a free pot coffee while you wait for the salesman or just going for a test car ride are not. All the dealers do this, so we expect this from them.
They never impressed me much so I guess that I should rate them with 3 stars (average) although they always demand 5 (exceeded expectations) for some unfounded reason.
Perhaps their expectations are lower than normal after you spend more than $25,000 on their product?
But I digress.
Going back to the restaurant business, how many times do think your clients believe that you’ve exceeded their expectations? Sometimes, seldom, never?
How many times did you go to another restaurant where they’ve exceeded your expectations?
It didn’t happen too many times to me.
Perhaps because this industry is very predictable and it’s difficult to be original, or perhaps because we are too conservative to try anything new, dinning at most restaurants is a totally prdictive experience.
Sure you expect good food and good service at reasonable prices. Every restaurant should give you at least that, but what about surprising your clients with some unpredicted extras? They don’t need to be expensive, it is more a matter of thinking than of spending money.
For example, you could tell your chef to prepare some small appetizers that you could give, on the house, to your clients when they order their drinks. Or you can ask your waiters to replace napkins when somebody leaves the table to go to the bathroom or to make a phone call, etc. You could, for example, one night buy flowers and give one rose (or some other flower) to each woman in the restaurant, give a little sack to each guest (or table) with some spices that you’ve used in the dishes… The sky is the limit!
These are very cheap things for you to do that will pleasantly surprise your clients. These little things will exceed their expectations because they don’t get it anywhere else and therefore they are not expecting it.
But don’t do always the same things or they will become routine. Come up with new ideas, always new, always fresh and unexpected. Setup an idea context among your employees and give a price to the ones that give you the best ideas.
Not only your clients will love your place, but you will also make your restaurant unique and invite your clients to repeat their visits looking forward to be “surprised” and enjoy their dinning experience.
Thanks for reading and happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco
jose@riescoconsulting.com
Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

Great Service

What constitutes great service when you go to a restaurant?
This is one of these things that are difficult to describe, but you know it when you see it, or better yet, when you experience it.
Some times we go to a restaurant where the service is so obviously poor that there is no question about it: long delays, rude or inattentive waiters, mistakes with the food or drinks orders that don’t get compensated, apologized, etc.
However, other times, although everything seems OK, we have the impression that something is missing. Yes, the waiters were on time and yes, they delivered the food and drinks that we ordered in a reasonable time and yet, however, something is missing: I will call it the WOW factor.
You see? We humans are very tuned, although many times, in a subconscious level, to the feelings and moods of other people. If a waiter is unhappy, or just has a bad day, you will notice. That mood, that unhappiness will be transmitted to the people who their customers.
The reverse is also true. A happy, sincerely smiling waiter, transmits their happiness to their clients, chatting with them and making them feel good. It doesn’t matter that much if they make a mistake or forget some food item because their tables will feel connected with them and understand and forgive their mistakes.
This seems unfair, after all, every person has the right to be moody or unhappy. So how does the waiters mood or disposition relate to the restaurant owners or managers? What can you do if they have unhappy faces or unhappy lives?
Well, to start with, many of the unhappiness of your employees could probably be related to your work environment.
You should ask yourself. Are your employees happy to work for your restaurant? Happy to work for you? If you try to squeeze as much as you can from them, they will resent you and transmit this resentment to their tables, to your clients!
I mention in my online seminar that the quality of your restaurant is as good as the quality of your weakest link. If your employees are not happy working for you, your clients will suffer the consequences.
I am not saying that you need to bend backwards to please your employees. After all, they are also human and therefore always want the best for themselves, even if they are not being fair with their fellow coworkers.
What I am saying is that you should provide your employees with the best work environment that you can (of course while still running a profitable business). Trying to take advantage of your employees by having unreasonable working hours, treating them with disrespect, paying them late, etc. will make them unhappy and will make you lose a lot of money in the long term with your clients.
Happy employees make happy clients. Period.
Thanks for reading and happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco
jose@riescoconsulting.com
Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

Exceeding Expectations

How many times do you get one of these surveys, specially after buying a new car (see my previous blog titled Surveys and Car Dealers where they expect you to fill them always with the top score? (Meaning that they’ve exceeded all your expectations).

If we followed the car dealers’ standards, “Exceeding Expectations” would mean OK service…

Or did they delivered the car to your door at work or at home? Did they give you an incredible discount or did something so out of the ordinary that you were in shock and awe (and not in a negative way!) because it greatly surprised you?

These would be cases of exceeding expectations. Giving you a free pot coffee while you wait for the salesman or just going for a test car ride are not. All the dealers do this, so we expect this from them.

They never impressed me much so I guess that I should rate them with 3 stars (average) although they always demand 5 (exceeded expectations) for some unfounded reason.

Perhaps their expectations are lower than normal after you spend more than $25,000 on their product?

But I digress.

Going back to the restaurant business, how many times do think your clients believe that you’ve exceeded their expectations? Sometimes, seldom, never?

How many times did you go to another restaurant where they’ve exceeded your expectations?

It didn’t happen too many times to me.

Perhaps because this industry is very predictable and it’s difficult to be original, or perhaps because we are too conservative to try anything new, dinning at most restaurants is a totally prdictive experience.

Sure you expect good food and good service at reasonable prices. Every restaurant should give you at least that, but what about surprising your clients with some unpredicted extras? They don’t need to be expensive, it is more a matter of thinking than of spending money.

For example, you could tell your chef to prepare some small appetizers that you could give, on the house, to your clients when they order their drinks. Or you can ask your waiters to replace napkins when somebody leaves the table to go to the bathroom or to make a phone call, etc. You could, for example, one night buy flowers and give one rose (or some other flower) to each woman in the restaurant, give a little sack to each guest (or table) with some spices that you’ve used in the dishes… The sky is the limit!

These are very cheap things for you to do that will pleasantly surprise your clients. These little things will exceed their expectations because they don’t get it anywhere else and therefore they are not expecting it.

But don’t do always the same things or they will become routine. Come up with new ideas, always new, always fresh and unexpected. Setup an idea context among your employees and give a price to the ones that give you the best ideas.

Not only your clients will love your place, but you will also make your restaurant unique and invite your clients to repeat their visits looking forward to be “surprised” and enjoy their dinning experience.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
jose@riescoconsulting.com

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You can find more information about restaurant marketing strategies in my website Restaurant Marketing Strategies

Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

Bad Restaurant Service

This weekend I went with my family and some friends to a trip to Long Beach, WA. On the way, we stopped in a Mexican restaurant to get some lunch.

The place was empty (only the 8 of us and another couple) and we were promptly seated in a long table.

Soon enough, our young (in his late teens or early twenties) waiter came with the nachos, no salsa. When after a while we asked him for some salsa, he smiled and brought it a few minutes later. No big deal.

Then we order our foods. Two members of our party didn’t get their tortillas for their fajitas. We waited and waited but the waiter never came back to check on us. Another woman in our group ordered a Coke that never made it to the table. We needed to get up and look for the waiter who was talking to another guy by the kitchen. Finally a busboy brought us the tortillas when they were almost at the end of the meal.

In the middle of the meal, a terrible noise startled us all. Somebody dropped a whole tray filled with glasses. It made a terrible ruckus and got all the attention from our waiter (although he wasn’t the responsible for the accident). We never saw him again until we had to go again and ask for the check.

They charged us for the coke that we never got but we were ready to leave and didn’t want to make a fuss about $1.65 so we paid and left.

Now, we were in our way to Long Beach and it is doubtful that we will stop in that place for a meal any time soon, but even if I was leaving in that town, I don’t think that I would frequent that place. The food, by the way, was pretty good.

I always said that food in a restaurant is important but service is almost as important. If one of the two fails, the dining experience also fails.

I see often restaurateurs hiring very expensive chefs that get lavishly paid, and compensate their expenses by hiring inexperience (and cheap) servers, often teenagers, who are neither interested in the business nor knowledgeable of what a good dining experience entails.

Don’t make this mistake. Good food with poor service is as bad as bad food with great service. Both need to be in balance if you want your place to succeed. Select the best servers that you can get, train them continuously (teach them the foods, the wines, what makes your place unique and special) and don’t try to squeeze as much money as you can from them. Not only they won’t be motivated to offer an excellent service but they may even resent you and pass that resentment along to your clients.

Remember, the weakest link in your business will setup the standard.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
jose@riescoconsulting.com
>tech-fav-1

You can find more information about restaurant marketing strategies in my website http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

What’s Special About Your Restaurant?

This is a very important question that you need to answer honestly if you want your place to succeed.
Let’s play pretend for a moment. Let’s pretend that you are one of your clients.
What attracts them to your place?
Is it your great food? or perhaps Your convenient location? Are you the cheapest place around? (I hope not or you will have to make your profit in pure volume.) Do you have a signature dish that attracts people? or Live music? or Does your place have great atmosphere and beautiful decoration? Do you have a view? Easy and convenient parking?
Whatever makes your place unique and different is what it’s called in marketing a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and this is the key factor that differentiates your place from any other place.
All restaurants have (or should have) a USP so if yours doesn’t jump at you right away, just sit down when you have a few free minutes (I know, I know, it’s difficult to find free time for a restaurateur but you own to yourself and your business to do this exercise) and write down a list of things that make your place special.
If you are not able to come up with any, ask your staff or any of your regular clients, they may tell you something that you didn’t even thought of.
If nobody can tell you anything special for your place, then you are in trouble my friend, because if you or your people don’t find anything special, nobody else will do. In this case you need to “create” something special. Make a new dish, a new signature cocktail (if you serve alcohol), bring and hang art (from an art school or local artists) in your walls…
Once you finally have your USP, use it in your advertising, make sure that all your employees know about it. Tell your clients. This will resonate with them and will make your place to stand from 90% of other places that have nothing special to offer.
If you are really serious about improving your business, I strongly recommend you to check my
. It is free for you to evaluate and I can garantee you, it will improve your business dramatically.
Thanks for reading and happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco

Copyright Riesco Consulting Inc.

What’s Special About Your Restaurant?

<strong>What’s Special About Your Restaurant?</strong>

This is a very important question that you need to answer honestly if you want your place to succeed.

Let’s play pretend for a moment. Let’s pretend that you are one of your clients.

What attracts them to your place?

Is it your great food? or perhaps Your convenient location? Are you the cheapest place around? (I hope not or you will have to make your profit in pure volume.) Do you have a signature dish that attracts people? or Live music? or Does your place have great atmosphere and beautiful decoration? Do you have a view? Easy and convenient parking?

Whatever makes your place unique and different is what it’s called in marketing a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and this is the key factor that differentiates your place from any other place.

All restaurants have (or should have) a USP so if yours doesn’t jump at you right away, just sit down when you have a few free minutes (I know, I know, it’s difficult to find free time for a restaurateur but you own to yourself and your business to do this exercise) and write down a list of things that make your place special.

If you are not able to come up with any, ask your staff or any of your regular clients, they may tell you something that you didn’t even thought of.

If nobody can tell you anything special for your place, then you are in trouble my friend, because if you or your people don’t find anything special, nobody else will do. In this case you need to “create” something special. Make a new dish, a new signature cocktail (if you serve alcohol), bring and hang art (from an art school or local artists) in your walls…

Once you finally have your USP, use it in your advertising, make sure that all your employees know about it. Tell your clients. This will resonate with them and will make your place to stand from 90% of other places that have nothing special to offer.

As usual, don’t forget to visit my Web site <a href=”http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com”>Restaurant Marketing Strategies </a> and subscribe to my free newsletter. If you are really serious about improving your business, I strongly recommend you to check my Restaurant Marketing Strategies Seminar. It is free for you to evaluate and I can garantee you, it will improve your business dramatically.

Thanks for reading and happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
jose@riescoconsulting.com
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