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Marketing a Restaurant

So you own or are thinking about owning a restaurant and are confused about what the heck to do in terms of marketing and advertising.  Do you go the traditional route and stick to local papers and magazines?  Do you spend a ton of money on a big T.V. ad?  Or do you venture into the miasma that is social media marketing?  Not to fear, I’m here to help.

The first thing you need to know is that marketing and advertising for restaurants is not easy but can be relatively simple once you understand the three basic goals:

1. Increase your return customer rate

2. Increase your check per table

3. Get new bodies in the door

Many restaurants fail within their first year because they don’t understand how to effectively communicate and execute these three simple goals.

Goal #1: Increase your return customer rate

This is probably the easiest and least expensive of all three.  You are already have a consumer who has stepped over the threshold and become a paying customer, congratulations!  But what makes a customer come back?  The answer is of course customer service and the consumer experience.  There are several things that can help increase customer service.  The first is of course training.

As a restaurant owner, you must train your staff to uphold the old adage, “service with a smile”.  This has a lot to do with the energy and attitude that you as the restaurateur have created in your space.  A happy staff translates to a happy customer which creates that intangible something special that makes for return customers.

Another valuable tool is to have an effective CRM system in place that retains pertinent information about the customer that your staff can use to personalize the dining experience.  How good does it feel when you walk into a restaurant and you are greeted by name?  Humans are inherently ego driven and like nothing more than hearing their own name in a positive context, so use it, birthdays, and personalized information that will allow the customer to feel a real connection with your restaurant.  That makes for a lifelong customer.

Goal #2: Increasing your check per table

Studies have shown that the longer a consumer stays in a restaurant or retail space their likelihood of purchasing increases exponentially.  What does this mean for the dining experience?  The longer you can keep a customer happy and in their seats, the more likely they are to add another bottle of wine or another round of cocktails, desert and coffee, all increasing your bottom line.

Goal #3:  New bodies in the door

This is the most challenging of the three goals.  With all the dining choices out there, how do you differentiate yourself in the market and get new customers?  If cost is an issue, and let’s face it, when is it not, there are new marketing mediums you can use to get your brand out there, and more eyeballs equals more customers.  Social media marketing is a cost effective and, if you are doing it right, time effective way of elevating and exposing your brand.  A word of warning thought.  The Social Media marketplace is becoming heavily saturated with “experts” claiming huge ROIs.  Make sure you are working with someone who not only has a clear understanding of different avenues not just twitter and facebook, but emerging technologies and most importantly has knowledge of your industry.  You wouldn’t hire an advertising agency whose niche is the automotive industry; similarly make sure you are working with a knowledgeable social media team who know your consumer and your market.

These are just a few tips to help you reach and retain your target customer whether you a mom and pop shop or a multi-chain restaurant.  For more tips stay tuned.

Brought to you by LaurelK.com

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