5 Tips for Marketing Your Restaurant

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Imagine that you are getting married. Both you and the groom look awesome; the extensive menu tasting has paid off in what will be a wonderful meal; the venue is outstanding. But wait a minute. You’ve forgotten to invite any guests! Pretty stupid right?

But how many restaurants do just that? They open their doors but with no guest list; no invitations; no marketing plan, no PR or social media. And that results in no covers.

There are many ways to build your revenue but they rely on certain building blocks being in place. Here are five of the most important marketing ones but my Course: The Restaurant Business, The Ultimate One Day Course covers a whole lot more.

1. Do You Have A Strong Concept?

A restaurant recently opened near where I live. An extensive & expensive fit out which I guessed must have cost £400,000. Peering through the window I watched high end induction hobs & beautiful pizza ovens being installed in the open kitchen; and the fitting of a state of the art ventilation system which must have cost well over £50,000. Don’t forget that complaints from neighbours about smell who live in apartments above restaurants can seriously endanger the health of your business. And don’t get me onto noise! The food? Spanish tapas; pizza; Turkish meze; and some sushi. I asked the owner what the concept was? A strong belief that great food will win out in the end he said. The restaurant closed within three months. I cannot stress the importance of a defined concept. But not Italian food eaten with chopsticks!

2. What’s Your Sustainable Point of Difference?

It never ceases to amaze me just how many restaurants serve the same food as their next door neighbour. If you want to generate publicity you need a unique selling proposition (USP). That might be your food; it might be what New York’s greatest restaurateur Danny Meyer calls ‘enlightened hospitality’. The amazingly successful Corbin & King take this even further with each of their restaurants having a unifying story behind them! What is yours?

3. How Much Time Do You Spend On Social Media?

SoMe is critical to success. However the difficulty is using it as a rifle rather than a shotgun. Two key principles of social media are about reach and engagement. Much of what we communicate is wasted. It’s finding a way through the SoMe jungle to be effective. And don’t underestimate the time required to do this properly. The advice is to spend half a day a week on SoMe at least. Finally this is something it really is difficult to outsource just like SEO. SoMe is an important element of the Course.

4. Temporary Added Value (TAV)

I read hundreds of business plans. A large number believe that the way to succeed is to be cheaper than the competitors. That is their point of difference. When I was young I had drummed into me TAV. Cutting price is a zero sum game. Promotions that build loyalty and encourage repeat purchase (think of coffee shops) are excellent. Pre & post theatre menus, free corkage to encourage covers at less busy times and even themed evenings can attract valuable business. Tow further tips. In your promotions be generous rather than mean as this will encourage customers to come back and hopefully bring their friends. Secondly in terms of building loyalty it takes at least three visits before guests will even consider you as one of their favourite places. The lifetime value of a customer is what you are aiming for.

5. Customer Journey & Touch Points

I’m not a great fan of jargon. However I’ve been really impressed by the concept of the customer journey and where & how customers interact with your hospitality business. These are known as touch points and they occur much earlier than coming into your restaurant, eating and leaving. By thinking holistically about their journey we can ensure that the messages we are giving customers reinforce our brand, our values, our concept. We talk about this more on our Course as well as the all important service journey too!

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