No one owns their social media accounts, social media not only controls who sees our posts and when they see them, they also have a right to inactivate or delete your account at any time for any reason.
Email, by contrast, is an asset you own. Although it is hugely frowned upon selling or renting your list, it still adds significant value to your business. You can take your list with you and use it on your choice of platforms to send out messages. Would you rather have a business with 10K social media followers or 10K engaged email contacts?
Email gives you the power to learn more about your online community.
Campaign reporting features can tell you who is opening your emails, what links they are clicking on, and more.
Being able to send a new message based on the customer's interaction with a previous message (opens and click) helps you refine your strategy.
When you hit send on your email campaign, usually within minutes, that message is delivered to that contact's inbox. You are grabbing their attention in that moment.
Most social media platforms limit how many people see your post, and it is not delivered as soon as it is posted.
Email lives in that contact's inbox until they make a conscious effort to open it, ignore it, or delete it. Regardless, your message was seen, even if it was only the from name and the subject line.
Why you need to build an email list and use it.
While social media is like using a megaphone in a crowded field, email can be personalized using the contact information to merge with each connection, making it unique to that customer. Not only can you start your email with a personal greeting using their name, but by asking questions and learning about the contacts on your list, you can make sure to send them the right message at the right time.
In the book Business Made Simple, Donald uses the reference of an airplane to describe a business's components.
Most restaurants focus on the operations, the food and the service, the actual product they are selling. But just because you have an amazing product doesn't mean you are a thriving restaurant.
The engine of your restaurant is marketing and sales—this is what accelerates your business into profitability.
To have a successful restaurant, you need to invest in your engines.
But don't take our word for it; read the book. Donald Miller, Business Made Simple
With 91% of people tying your restaurant based on a friend or family recommendation, you need to build a network of superfans.
The big chains do radio and billboards, and even TV advertising cause their marketing budget is more than your revenue. They can afford to have branding in every corner. So how do you compete?
Superfans, build an engaging network that can promote your restaurant to the people you can't afford to advertise to. Reward these superfans for being engaged and referring their friends and family.
Take care of your superfans, and they will take care of you!
Last week was busy.
With Valentine's day on a Sunday and most areas having Monday off, it was the busiest your restaurant has been in months. Tuesday rolls around, and you need a day to recover, and Wednesday, you are getting caught up on all the stuff you forgot and Thursday, your back at it preparing for the weekend, and now it's Friday and your sick. Not from drinking too much but from looking at the books and noticing this weekend will not be as busy as last weekend.
You never posted, never sent out an email, now you scramble. You start to panic a bit and think, what have I been doing all week.
This is why it is essential to have your marketing communications pre-planned. Automated., Evergreen. This way, if you decided to take a minute, the foot still stays on the gas. The sales funnel is always being filled with new contacts, and those contacts are becoming paying guests.
As a restaurant operator, you rely on your staff to ensure that the guest is always cared for. How you treat your team will be directly reflected in how they treat the guest.
This is an excellent quote from Shep Hyken. His book, Amaze Every Customer Every Time, is a must-read. The concept of creating moments of magic is what every restaurant should be striving for with every guest and team member interaction.
Why is it essential to refer to the customer as a guest?
It changes the way you and your staff think about the transaction.
When you have someone over at your home, they aren't customers; they are a guest. You are providing them with hospitality.
This is the same in your restaurant. Everyone who dines in your restaurant is a guest. Yes, they are there to satisfy the basic need of hunger, but they chose your full-service restaurant because they want to be taken care of; they are looking for an experience.
When you think about your restaurant's loyalty program, you are most likely thinking of a transactional-based system.
You get so many points for every dollar spent, and then those points are redeemable for perks and rewards.
But are those guests raving fans that help promote your business?
Loyalty can be looked at differently. What about that person who only dines a few times a year but continuously tells everyone they know about your restaurant. Like every post, they share every email and talk about their previous experience with their friends and family.
How can you track that. How about a referral program? Affiliate marketing is an essential part of the marketing strategy of many companies, for example, Amazon. Amazon has independent sales people promoting their products, and they get paid for every sale.
Build your affiliate network.
Identify your superfans.
Offer them a reward if they refer guests.
Reward them once that guest has dined at your restaurant.
You bring in raw ingredients to your restaurant,
You prepare than and portion them to have them ready for service.
A guest orders a menu item, and it is put together with items you prepared.
It gets delivered to the guest for them to enjoy.
That's an operational process.
What is your marketing process to attract new interest in your restaurant? Turn that interest into a first-time guest, and then a first time guest into a superfan?
Collect permission to market by having an email collection system. Send out personalized, engaged and consistent messages. Build a following of people who have dined in your restaurant.
Wouldn't you want to have your marketing reflect this important relationship-building online to mirror the experience you provide in your restaurant?
But don't take our word for it; read the book. Permission Marketing by Seth Godin
Although it may be too late to put in a marketing strategy for this valentine's day, these are the times to capture many new visitors' information and get them to come back again.
Marketing is the process of identifying guest needs and determining how best to meet those needs.
Marketing is one of the three pillars of your restaurant.
Marketing - Operations - Accounting
Advertising is a function within the marketing process that promotes your restaurant through paid and organic channels.
The first time someone tries your restaurant, the expectations are high. They are taking a chance on spending their hard-earned dollars on a new experience. Instead of sticking to what they know, they are taking a risk giving your restaurant a try.
Making sure that this first experience is amazing is so essential.
So how do you do this?
Start a new guest program.
Have the host ask the question of every guest when they arrive.
Have you dined with us before?
If they say this is their first time, you need to make sure that this visit is extra special so that the guest feels a connection with your brand.
Manager/Owner introduces themself and brings over your best appetizer for them to try while looking through the menu.
Whether they have dessert or not, give them one of your best desserts for them to take home. In the takeout box or bag, have a handwritten note from the Manager/Owner thanking them for their visit with an incentive to come back again.
The world is all about producing content; We produce this blog every day. Did you ask for it? No, we produce it to get our thoughts and ideas out into the world in hopes that someone is listing. But our business is about helping you with your business, so providing information and content is important.
In your restaurant, you don't make money from content. Telling people a story about grandma's recipe may tug on someone's heartstrings, but what it comes down to is that people go to a restaurant to eat and have an experience.
So don't spend time and money crafting content by writing newsletters and blogs; create simple marketing messages that are consistent and allow you to track and measure your marketing efforts vs sales produced.
Save your content creation to serving the guest and connecting with them when they are in the restaurant.
Marketing is an investment, just like a savings account. You need to see a positive return with the results compounding on a weekly basis. Things will start slowly, but as you add new guests and existing guests keep coming back, you will build a network of superfans.
If you start with a list of 250 engaged guests and consistently increase that by 5% a week, after a year you will have a list of over 3000 guests who have been in your restaurant.
The key is it takes patience, determination and consistency to get the most out of building your marketing strategy.
No matter your marketing strategy or how big your budget is, all the marketing will not overcome selling an average experience.
Expectations are higher than ever, and the bigger your check average is, the less margin you have for error.
People will easily forgive a mixup on a $5 value meal but forget something on a $50 dinner, and you may never see that guest again.
As an operator, you need to focus on serving the guest and ensuring their experience was nothing less than exceptional.
Your restaurant needs to shift its focus from providing something to eat to providing an experience based on great food, service and atmosphere.
Only then can your marketing help accelerate your restaurant's growth.
But don't take our word for it; read the book.
Amaze Every Customer Every Time by Shep Hyken
You first need to track your results.
Followers? Post likes? Comments? Email opens?
Link clicks? Direct messages? Email replies? Contest entries?
Actually, non of the above.
Sales are all that matters.
You need to measure engagement with your marketing by how it transforms into sales.
It's no secret.
Other restaurants in your area provide great food.
Your guest is not exclusive to you and eats at these other restaurants.
So how do you make yourself memorable?
It's all about the experience.
Make it personal and engaging.
Excellent service and average food,
will always be better than
excellent food and just average service.
Keep your restaurant top of mind.
Marketing is more than just having someone experience your restaurant for the first time.
It needs to be ongoing.
Don't just assume that people will be back.
Your marketing plan needs to have two areas of focus.
Attracting new guests
Having existing guests return more often
Increasing the average spend of each guest
a thing that motivates or encourages one to do something
the action or business of promoting and selling products or services
messages distributed by electronic means directly from one person to one or more recipients
Your restaurant is like a three-legged stool.
Missing a leg would make the stool useless.
Marketing - Operations - Accounting
Are the three legs of your restaurant business.
Each one needs to be strong.
Marketing - brings in the guest
Operations - takes care of the guest
Accounting - makes sure you are making money from the guest
Make sure all three legs are stable in your restaurant.
It's time to stop confusing social media metrics with true connections. It's time to stop wasting money on stolen attention that won't pay off in the long run.
But don't just take our word for it; read the book.
Seth Godin, This is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn To See
Think to yourself, what business would you take 5 min to read an email from?
There isn't one!
The days of the restaurant newsletter are gone. People are overwhelmed with messages from so many places and channels.
How do you make your email stand out? Short and sweet. If you were to put in as much effort crafting 3 to 5 memorable sentences as you do 3 -5 paragraphs of text, you would see an increase in engagement.
Don't believe it?
Send half your list a long-form email with a link to a contest at the bottom.
Send the other half 3 -5 sentences that have some humour and reflect your brand's tone with the same link.
Guaranteed the short email has more engagement.
Got 60 seconds? Check out the video.
Everyone loves their birthday, well, almost everyone.
If you are still hesitant about starting an incentive based email program, the birthday club is the best place to start. Birthdays and going out for a meal go hand in hand.
You need to be using an email program that lets you send out date-based emails. We recommend MailChimp as it is inexpensive and can accomplish the task.
When you capture the contact's name and email address, ask for their birthday: month and day.
What should you give them as a birthday present? Well, what is it worth to be able to market directly to someone's inbox for an entire year? This should be over and above anything you already do for birthdays at your restaurant.
Set up an automation to send them emails.
Give them at least 2 weeks to use the incentive.
Send it before their birthday.
Send them an email on their birthday.
Send them a follow-up email after the incentive has been used.
Well, it can be.
Sometimes you need to talk to someone, someone with experience, who can help you see things differently. Someone to help you simplify your message.
There are lots of great people out there that genuinely want to help. Chip is one of them. At the very least, check out his podcast. Search for Restaurant Strategy on your podcast player.
No matter what, before you start investing money in marketing, make sure you have a strategy behind it and don't just do marketing to do marketing.
Most people receive their email on their mobile device. Some of these devices would mark the email as open even if the contact didn't look at it.
Also, just because someone opened an email doesn't mean they read it.
Engagement with your email list needs to be measured by using click-through rates.
Keep the information short within the email and include a learn more button.
Now the people who click the link are interested in what you're sending.
Concentrate on sending engaging emails more than just building the number of contacts.
It all starts with generating interest in your restaurant and turning websurfers into contacts.
Convert interest into sales
Through engaging and personalized messages, contacts become paying guests.
Turn sales into SUPERFANS
Being able to follow up on a guests experience and continuing to develop a relationship builds a network of SUPERFANS.
Opening a restaurant is a dream for many people. Then there are those people who have the guts to make that dream a reality. You believe you can make a better plate of food and give better service, or you have those secret recipes that all your friends love, so the rest of the world is surly to love them too.
But as you open the doors, you realize it's not as easy as having friends over for dinner. You have people to manage, equipment to maintain and bills to pay.
So how do you stay on top of it? You need to create a system. You develop opening checklists, recipes, cleaning procedures and accounting measures, but the one "system" that never gets taken care of is the marketing system.
See, marketing, just like that fantastic plate of food, works best when it's consistent.
The best way to be consistent in your marketing is by creating a plan, systemizing the plan and breaking it down to small steps that can be consistently completed.
The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber, is a great read and inspiration on creating systems so that you can focus on the important things, taking care of the guest.
But don't just take our word for it; read the book.
Michael E. Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
Many restaurants take marketing dollars and consider it just an expense.
They spend money and time on "doing" marketing because everyone tells them they need to.
There is no strategy, no measurement of a return on your investment.
This is how marketing gets a bad name. There is no connection with how marketing relates to sales.
At the very least, you need to measure how many NEW GUESTS are dining-in or taking-out with your restaurant due to your marketing.
You need to know the cost of guest acquisition, home much money you need to spend to get one new guest.
Then you work from that base to increase your ROI by
Long has there been an argument with which is more important, the cost of a menu item relative to its sale price or the dollar value that's leftover after the item cost.
Well, they are both important but both very different.
You need to watch your costs, and you need to make sure that your menu is producing enough money from sales to cover all of the other variable expenses.
If you sell a prime rib sandwich for $20 @ 25% cost, you have $15 leftover.
However, if you sell a prime rib dinner for $30 @ 35% cost, you have $19.5 leftover.
Just because the prime rib dinner has a higher food cost still makes it a profitable menu item.
So how much should you invest in your marketing?
Well, it's not the cost of the marketing; it's the contribution.
Spending $100 on marketing that brings in 5 new guests is a lower cost than $1000 on marketing that brings in 100 new guests, but your marketing dollar contribution has doubled.
A marketing system is an investment into your restaurant's future, do it well, and it will pay dividends for years to come.
Whether you have 500 contacts or 5000 contacts on your email list, it is irrelevant.
The focus isn't on building the list; it is about creating engagement.
What's the best way to see if you have an engaged list?
Send them an email with a link for more information.
Contacts that are engaged will click the link.
Don't think that having an above-average open rate means your emails are working.
You need to measure your engagement by click through rates.
The short answer is yes.
You should be posting to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Google My Business daily.
Repeating pictures and content is better than not posting as these platforms reward businesses who consistently add content.
Will posting to these platforms bring in sales?
The short answer is yes.
Any time you are showcasing your brand in the digital world, it has a chance to be seen by a potential guest that will dine with you.
However, social media should not be your only marketing strategy; it needs to be a part of a more effective plan.
Right message! To the
Right people! At the
In the book Superfans by Pat Flynn, he writes,
Followers may "like" an Instagram post. Customers may buy a product. But "Superfans" will be your biggest supporters. They will promote you and your products because they know you have made a difference in their lives. They will tell their friends. They will send you encouraging emails. They will connect with you and your other fans.
A tribe of superfans will help get your restaurant on the minds of people that no amount of advertising will ever reach.
But don't just take our word for it; read the book.
Pat Flynn, Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, and Build a Successful Business
How well would it work to walk up to a stranger and ask them to marry you?
You will get rejected 99.9% of the time; however, if you introduce yourself, start a conversation and then ask them for a phone number, it may lead to something more.
Maybe they give you a fake number, perhaps they never answer when you call, or maybe you connect and build a fantastic relationship. See, getting the phone number is a small commitment, and it's easier to say yes to a small commitment and build on that than it is to commit to a marriage proposal from a stranger.
When your marketing strategy is all about creating a direct call to action to visit the restaurant, you are doing the same thing. You need to add a softer sell with a smaller commitment, like getting an email address before asking for a purchase.
Now that you have a direct way of communicating with a potential new guest, you can build trust and commitment through engaging personalized connections.
Weekdays suck; what can we do to make them busier?
I need to increase my lunch sales?
These are common questions, and there is no magical answer. There are many factors in the peaks and valleys of your restaurant.
The more important thing to ask yourself first is, are your peak times full? If you can answer yes, we are on a waitlist all the time, or we continually turn away reservations, then start thinking about those non-peak days and hours.
However, if the answer is no, think about what you can do to maximize the peak hours.
Here are the facts about marketing peak times vs marketing non-peak times.
Peak times, you have a full staff on so extra guests won't increase labour.
Non-peak times, if you get too busy, you might not be prepared and give a bad experience, or you may be over-prepared in anticipation your marketing is going to work and blow your labour budget.
Peak times create anticipation; if you are booked on a Friday night weeks in advance, you will naturally have spillover to non-peak times.
Peak times mean more diners are going out.
Let's do some math. If there are 10,000 potential diners on a Friday night and your marketing brings in 1% of them, that's 100 people.
Non-peak times, like Monday at 3pm, there may only be 50 potential diners. The same marketing effort and cost brings in 1% of them, that's only 5 diners.
Which has the better ROI?
No matter which way you look at it, work on increasing your peak times, your bank account will thank you!
It's hard to imagine turning away business or leaving money on the table but sometimes trying to be something you do not cost you in the end.
Many restaurants are redefining who they are and becoming something that they are not just to get business.
Yes, you need to do whatever it takes to survive, but where does it stop?
As more districts start to open up and we head into spring, you need to take a look at what you have been doing and if it makes sense to do going forward.
Can you be a busy dine-in restaurant while still offering your Sunday meal boxes?
Does offering delivery make sense when you are always on a waitlist Friday and Saturday night?
There is no clear answer, and maybe you and your restaurant have superpowers;
however, trying to be everything to everyone doesn't work, you will have more success being something to someone!
When do you start marketing for Valentine's day?
Why not right now.
Maybe you don't have your menu finalized, or perhaps you don't even know f your restaurant will be open then, but you can start a conversation today.
Send your email list a poll.
Valentine's day is a great way to show your partner how much you care. Everyone does it differently, and I was wondering how do you celebrate Valentine's day?
1. Go out on the day
2. Go out within the week
3. Do something at home
4. I Don't celebrate
The first goal was to see how many people are engaged, and the other purpose is to plan your next email to send targeted follow-ups to each group.
1. Hurry up reservations are going fast for Valentine's Day
2. Our special Valentine's menu is available all weekend
3. We deliver, perfect to stay at home and cuddle on the couch
4. We will not bother these people
Now we are creating a message that will resonate, and we aren't bothering people who don't celebrate.
A coupon is offering a discount like a 2 for 1 or 25% off.
When you offer an incentive, it's like a sample at the grocery store,
they are trying to get you to purchase an item based on a connection with the product.
Now, if you could run around and offer everyone a sample from your restaurant, you would get more guests. However, the return on that investment is probably not beneficial.
So what's the next best thing. Offer a sample on your website. Give away your best appetizer or dessert. The one that you know will make the guest come back for seconds. The only stipulation is that they get contact information in return.
Now you could win twice.
1. You have contact information, and you can market directly to someone who expressed interest in visiting your restaurant.
2. If they take you up on your sample, that means they visited the restaurant. Chances are they purchase a meal and will come back again.
The benefits of developing an incentive based email program are better than any other marketing strategy.
Your why is the core belief of the restaurant. It's why the restaurant exists.
Great restaurants are built on passions, your why. Identify your why and write it down. Reference it when you are developing your menu, creating service standards, and building a marketing strategy.
This will create consistency in the way you run your business.
But don't just take our word for it; read the book, or at least watch the Ted Talk.
Would you ever give out your email address, thinking the company wasn't going to send you an email?
It is amazing how many restaurants have gone through setting up an email capture system but then never sending out emails.
Every email system can send a personalized welcome email once people subscribe.
Need help setting up yours?
You send out an email about promotion, and someone has a question, so they reply to your email message and get an autoresponder that says this mailbox is not monitored?
Would you disable your social media inboxes? How about disconnecting your phone?
Then why would you send your email marketing from a no-reply email address?
This defeats the whole purpose of an email marketing system.
This is called a roadblock to a sale. Yes, some people may try a different channel, but some people won't; why risk losing a potential guest?
You want people to respond to your emails; that's called engagement.
The more people engage with your digital marketing the more likely they are to connect with your brand. That is how you build a superfan.
Top restaurants send emails that encourage a reply to create an opportunity to build a relationship through a conversation.
What are you scared of?
You have put in a lot of effort into providing a great experience.
Mirror your restaurant experience to your marketing strategy and build engaging marketing by building a network of superfans.
An email system is a great way to capture someone's information from visiting your website; it's also crucial in communication.
When you shift your marketing focus from a hard sale to the softer approach of joining your network, you build a list of contacts you can directly communicate with.
Now you develop your email strategy to provide useful, engaging information by personalizing your emails, and these contacts will become guests.
When is the last time you clicked a hashtag?
If you use hashtags, are you researching them to see what other people post to that hashtag?
For a local business posting to a hashtag that is highly used, for example, #food, are you just adding clutter to your content because your post gets buried within minutes?
Hashtags have their place when there is a trending topic, so your post can be part of a conversation seen by other people.
However, when it comes time to post about your local independent restaurant, keeping the content clean is always best.
But I might be wrong; let us know what you think about hashtags. email@example.com
#restaurant #restaurante #restaurants #restaurantdesign #Restaurantes #restaurantlife #RestaurantWeek #restaurantparis #restaurantreview #restaurantaustralia #Restaurantesmadrid #RestaurantDecor #restaurantmarketing #restaurantejapones #restaurantinterior #restaurantowner #restaurantguysavoy #restaurantstyle #restaurantesp #RestaurantesMedellin #restauranteitaliano #Restauranteur #restaurantbranding #restaurantfurniture #restaurantreviews #RestaurantArt #restaurantesbogota #restaurantessp #restaurantsupplies #restaurantesvalencia
#marketing #marketingdigital #marketingtips #marketingonline #marketingstrategy #marketing101 #marketingagency #marketingplan #marketingsocial #marketingmultinivel #marketingtools #marketingteam #marketinglife #marketingdeconteudo #marketingguru #marketingderede #MarketingIdeas #marketingcoach #marketingconsultant #MarketingStrategies #marketingtip #marketingadvice #marketingblog #marketingmanagement #marketingautomation #marketing10 #marketingexpert #marketingquotes #marketingderelacionamento #marketingiklan
Mailchimp is the best program to use when you're just starting your email program and growing your list.
Set up is quick and straightforward.
You can build a list of up to 2,000 contacts for free.
You can create a welcome email series to onboard new contacts.
You can plan your emails and schedule them in the future.
If you do not have an email collection system for your full-service restaurant, we can help you get started.
Everything you do within your restaurant is to bring value to the guest. What about the things you do outside your restaurant?
There is confusion between branding and marketing.
When you post to social media pictures of your food that is called branding.
When you offer promotions, incentives and specials that is called marketing.
Saving money is hard because there is no instant gratification.
You put a bit of money aside every paycheck.
This is called paying yourself first!
No matter the situation, you know that saving money for your future is the most important thing you can do.
It slowly grows and may not seem worth it at the start, but you keep at it.
All of a sudden, through the magic of compound interest, your money doubles and then triples.
Marketing is the same way. The returns may be small when you first start but over time, they compound. But you need to keep investing in your marketing to grow your restaurant.
If all you have been doing is posting to social media, this is a losing investment as organic reach keeps getting smaller.
You need to diversify.
The best investment is email marketing.
It is personal, it can be automated, and it is scalable.
If you add 10% new contacts to the list every month, your network will almost triple by the end of the first year and almost 10X by the end of year two.
You now have a foundation to build a marketing strategy.
Start with your website and clarify the message.
Update all your listing and social media profiles.
Create an email program.
Be consistent with posting every day and sending out an email at least once a week.
It doesn't need to be complicated.
How is about communication.
When you describe your restaurant, whether it be a long or short description, the result needs to be the same. All of your communications need to have a clear understanding of the feeling you're trying to promote. Is your restaurant fun, romantic, or relaxed?
This is where the magic happens. Take what you have discovered about our restaurants WHO, WHY, and WHAT and create our standard communication text.
This is important so that you have a consistent message throughout your entire digital presence.
So many times, restaurants will have a different description on various listing sites.
You need to create a master file with these items in it and where you used them, then it's copy and paste.
Tag line (1 sentence)
Elevator pitch (150 words max)
About us(750 words max)
Brand Kit(Logo, colour, fonts)
What you're marketing seems like an easy question, right?
You are marketing your restaurant.
This is the simple answer.
However, trying to market everything about your restaurant can be overwhelming; this creates noise, not excitement.
To receive a positive return on your marketing investment, you need to have focus. You need to market what makes you unique.
Identify the three top things that make your restaurant unique.
Being clear on your three uniques is what sets you apart from the competition.
Here is how you define your three uniques.
When you look at the competition in your trading area, many restaurants may share one of your uniqueness. There may be a couple of restaurants that share two of your uniques. However, there is no other restaurant in your trading area with all three of the same uniques.
What you are marketing is defined by a clear understanding of what makes you unique.
Why does your restaurant exist?
If your why is only to turn a profit, you are in the wrong business.
As you know, the margins are super tight.
If you are so focused on the bottom line, you start making decisions that may affect the reason you opened your restaurant, your WHY.
Restaurants fall down the dark hole of chasing the bottom line when things get tough.
They forget their why and start making decisions based solely on costs by using lower quality products, reducing portion sizes and scheduling less staff.
Making a profit is essential; sustaining a profitable restaurant will only come from the result of you fulfilling your why.
Your why needs to be your focus! Your why is the driving force for you and your staff to serve every guest to the fullest.
Knowing your purpose, cause, and belief is part of the foundation of your marketing strategy.
Whatever you post, email, or create on your website needs to align with your WHY.
Most people say, "I market to anyone who has money willing to spend it in my restaurant."
But the fact is you only have one website.
It would be best if you decided who that website is going to talk to.
As my friend Jon Morrison from Get Clear Consulting says, "If you try to be everything to everyone, you'll end up meaning very little to a lot of people."
If you want to make the most of your marketing budget and avoid just adding more noise to an already noisy world, ask the question,
"WHO is your target market?"
The Restaurant Funnel Marketing process starts with four essential questions that need to be answered.
Establish a focus on what matters and what is essential allows you to make better marketing decisions and be consistent in your communication through all of your channels.
Become clear on these before you do any marketing.
You have two goals this year to be busier than ever!
Refine the Experience.
Create a Marketing Strategy.
Typically one of the busiest nights of the year for a full-service restaurant. People out and about celebrating the beginning of the new year.
This night, like most in 2020, is different. Some restaurants will make record sales with take-out boxes and grocery items, and some restaurants sit closed, wondering if they will be able to re-open.
The direction of your business has changed.
2021 will bring great things to the full-service restaurant industry.
People are tired of being at home, cooking for themselves and hanging out with their household or small cohort. The need for socializing is tremendous. There is no better way to do that than over a great meal at your restaurant.
So instead of worrying about what was, start thinking about what will be. How are you going to be unique in your offering? Are you ready to deliver an amazing experience, so your restaurant is on top of everyone's list?
When you do a radio or tv ad, besides the actual message, the most important thing is frequency.
One 30 second spot won't reach a large audience.
The more you get your ad in front of people, the greater the chance they will hear you.
It is the same with your emails.
Send more, not less.
Make sure it is relevant, personalized and short.
As we get closer to putting this year behind us, you have two choices.
Don't get stuck in the cycle of the first one; it won't help.
These are the people that will spread the word and tell everyone about your incredible restaurant.
With 91% of people tying your restaurant based on a friend or family recommendation, you need to keep your superfans engaged outside your four walls.
Incentives, birthday programs, and engagement recognition are great ways to build your army.
Automating the process to make sure the right messages is always sent at the right time lets you focus on service.
The Restaurant Funnel Marketing system is all you need.
If you come up with a new menu item, what do you charge?
Do you pull the numbers out of the air and hope that it covers your costs or calculate the ingredients' cost to come up with the price?
Do you adjust menu items based on their profitability and popularity?
When it comes to your marketing if you can't measure your cost related to actual new guest visits, how do you know if you are on the right track?
It seems like that the same as just giving a menu item a price without knowing what it costs!
There are many people looking at what they got for presents today and making big piles to be returned.
There are many people complaining about what someone said on a zoom call that may have offended.
There are many people feeling empty and unsatisfied that they didn't get enough.
Why do we concentrate our energy on focusing on making these people happy?
There are so many people that are the complete opposite.
Accepting, forgiving and positive.
Those are the people you want to focus your energy on.
Start the next year off right with your restaurant marketing.
Use permission-based email to deliver messages to people who want to hear from you instead of just broadcasting to people who may not care.
No matter where you are or if you even celebrate Christmas, today, December 25, 2020, is so much different than last year.
But you are resilient, you are tough, and you will survive.
Be just like Santa, no crying over spilled milk, no complaining about the ghost pepper cookies, little Johnny left out as a joke.
Santa is jolly and positive, and although his work is now done for 2020, he gets up the next day and starts planning for 2021
So take today, be present with the ones around you. Be Jolly and grateful for what you have, and tomorrow get up and forge ahead.
Good things are coming.
Relationships take work.
David Meerman Scott says in his book Fanocracy,
To be successful in a world where fans rule, we must be convinced that relationships with customers are more important than the the products or services we sell to them.
What are you doing to build and maintain your relationship with your fans outside of your restaurant's 4 walls?
But don't just take our word for it; read the book.
Fanocracy by David Meerman Scott
Food vs Service, is like what comes first the chicken or the egg.
They go hand in hand for your restaurant, and both need to be exceptional to help your restaurant stand out in a crowded market.
But who would create more of a loyal following?
a restaurant with good food and GREAT service
a restaurant with GREAT food and good service
Having excellent service will win, nine times out of ten.
It's the connection, the engagement, and the act of being served that makes people come back.
So why do most restaurants mostly market their food?
Because it is easy to post a picture of an amazing looking plate.
Stop just doing easy!
Create an engaged marketing strategy.
Creating a personalized connection outside your restaurant will win nine times out of ten compared to just posting pictures.
Your restaurant's heart is the center of the passion for serving every guest.
Your restaurant has relationships and brings guest joy.
However, if you treat your restaurant like a factory where orders come in and food just gets served, you will not be true to what it means to have a full-service restaurant.
Be true to why you are in this business; if it is only to profit, this is the wrong business for you.
Successful restaurants have a pulse. And it is that pulse that keep guests engaged, coming back, and referring their friends.
Marketing your restaurant starts with having a great experience delivered by great people.
75% of first-time guests are there because of the recommendation of a friend or family member.
You were recommended because you were great.
If your restaurant is not achieving the sales it needs to survive, think of ways to ensure that every guest visit is above average.
Marketing puts a magnifying glass on the experience you provide.
Before you spend any money on marketing, be great.
Sending out a newsletter is not the same as sending an "e-mail".
E-mail is an electronic letter, a note, a personally engaging message.
Restaurants tend to overcomplicate their e-mail programs by creating graphic newsletters packed with information and then only sending them out once a month. Twelve e-mails a year is not a way to keep your brand top of mind and engage your contact list.
Your e-mail program is intended to keep your restaurant on their mind so that when they decide they want to go out for an experience, you are their first choice.
Keep your e-mails to less than five sentences.
Make it, so it fits within one screen view of a phone.
Create a link for more information to a relevant webpage.
Less is more when it comes to content.
Send an e-mail at least once a week to stay engaged.
It's essential to communicate the correct message.
Pictures are great, but the words you choose help a potential new guest visualize themselves having an experience in your restaurant.
What does your website say?
The most significant advantage that email marketing has over social media is the ability to customize your message to be more relevant to the person you communicate to.
Asking people on your email list questions is a great way to learn more about your guests, and then it enables you to send out messages tailored to someone's likes.
In the book, Ask, Ryan Levesque explains how finding out more information helps you improve your products and market them.
For example, finding out if they prefer beef or chicken could segment them into different lists.
The people who like chicken could only receive emails about all the excellent chicken dishes you serve.
But what if this week's special is a beef dish?
Send out a message saying, "We know you love chicken, but this beef dish might make you change your mind......"
Knowledge is power, and the more you know about the contacts on your list, the more powerful your messages can be.
But don't just take our word for it; read the book.
Ask by Ryan Levesque
Exchange and incentive for contact information.
Track when and who uses the incentive.
Send them future relevant, personal and engaging messages.
Oh yes, and the hard part, make sure every guest has an amazing experience!
Even a greasy fast-food burger joint will use fresh lettuce and tomatoes!
So the question is, do the majority of people care?
Most guests will spend their money on a great experience, even if it is previously frozen beef.
In fact, if you are honest with yourself, some things are even better frozen. Is fresh seafood caught three days ago served at your landlocked restaurant better than frozen at sea unthawed daily?
It would be best if you promoted what makes you unique.
What can people experience at your restaurant that's different than your competition?
Don't rely on generic words to be the base of your marketing.
The philosophy of most restaurant advertising campaigns has been to get buts in the seat.
Well, this is the ultimate goal, but the process has changed.
Use your advertising to generate leads.
These leads are a list of contacts that can directly be communicated with for future specials, incentives and events.
Your restaurant will have a strong competitive advantage by having an active contact list.
Many restaurants use coupons for their restaurant to help bring in sales. This is part of a HOPE MARKETING strategy.
You HOPE that people will see your advertisement and use your coupon.
You HOPE they come in and have a great experience.
You HOPE that they will come back.
You HOPE they will tell their friends.
That's a lot of HOPE.
However, when you offer a trackable incentive for the exchange of an email address, you can measure your campaign's effectiveness.
You KNOW who used your incentive.
You can extend an expiry date or re-send the incentive later for people who didn't redeem.
You can request feedback and ask for a referral for people that redeemed the incentive.
The best part of this is you are building a list of contacts that can directly be communicated with for future specials, incentives and events.
No HOPING that social media will show the right post to the right person at the right time.
Stop HOPE marketing and start MEASURE marketing by creating a trackable engaging marketing system.
Full-service operators are continually having to make the hard choice of creating their experience to survive on take-out business or close until dine-in service can come back.
When you have an engaged contact list, getting feedback to make, these tough decisions can be as easy as sending out a google form.
Rember, it is not about you. It is about what the guests want and satisfying that is the foundation of your restaurant.
When you have an engaged network of contacts, they will always be honest and provide you with relevant information so now you can make an informed decision.
Are you using your website to tell the story of your restaurant?
The history of your brand and location.
All of these items paint you as a hero to help the hungry guest.
But what if you used the words on your website to make the guest visualize the experience they will have. What if you wanted to be the guide in their story so they can be the hero.
Too often, we try to be abstract or "cute" with our website, when most often, a direct message is the best approach.
In the book Building a Storey Brand, Donald Miller talks about changing the way you market your brand. His most famous quote is, "If you confuse, you lose."
Make sure your marketing is straightforward and easy to understand.
But don't just take our word for it; read the book.
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller
I hate to tell you that most people don't care about your newsletter. People are not part of your network of contacts for you to supply them with content. Most people join restaurant contact lists because they want offers and promotions, not a lengthy story about how special your grandma's recipe is.
People who initially visit your website are leads. Leads are interested in dining with you but not ready to make a reservation or stop by for a visit.
Capturing information from these leads is crucial in your marketing plan.
The best way to capture these leads is to exchange their contact information with something they want: an offer or a promotion.
Now is the time to be collecting contact information from every transaction your restaurant has.
Build the list, send a welcome email and follow up with a short connection once a week.
Whether you are fully open, reduced capacity, takeout only, or closed. Building a contact list that you can have direct communication with will forever change how effective your future event, promotions and specials will be.
Don't rely on the social media megaphone to just broadcast generic messages to your fowlers.
The right decisions are hard to make when you don't take the time to think!
Prepare yourself; when the dark clouds over your restaurant start to clear, people will be eager to go out and have an experience.
Are you just providing a meal, or are you providing an experience?
Having thousands of email addresses on your list may give you a false sense that you are doing a good job.
Send this email to your list,
We would love for you to check out our website.
If 10% or more of your contacts click the link, then you have a healthy list.
The busiest month of the year could end up being your slowest.
Most communities have either forced restaurants to close, be on take-out only or dine-in with limited capacity.
You are freaking out.
This is super stressful, and you have every right to feel a bit disheartened.
But you are resilient; you will prosper.
Let's change your mindset.
If this was January, what would you be doing?
January is typically the slowest month of the year.
It's a month where good operators take the time to re-evaluate, update their menu and plan features and promotions for the upcoming year.
So do that now!
I know it's hard to plan when you don't know what restrictions are coming next. But the reality is, things will loosen up.
Although life may never go back to normal, people are craving the dine-in experience. It is one of the first sectors that will see massive growth.
Will your restaurant be ready?
Trying to separate yourself from the competition using food alone is not enough.
With quick-serve and fast-casual concepts coming into the market, producing excellent quality food, shorter wait times, and at less of a ticket price, your full-service restaurant needs to market something more than just great food.
In the book Traction, Gino Wickman explains how you need to establish three uniques as part of your marketing plan.
Showcasing these items makes it clear to new guests what they can expect from your restaurant experience and keeps your messaging clear.
Your Three Uniques: These are what make you different, what make you stand out and what you’re competing with. If you line yourself up against 10 of your competitors, you might all share one of the uniques. Some of you many even share two, but no one else should have the three you do.
Once you have a clear understanding of what makes your restaurant unique, focus on marketing only those items.
Gino Wickman, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business
If you are paying for marketing services and can't measure how many NEW GUESTS are dining-in or taking-out with your restaurant, you are wasting your money!
The Process can be straightforward.
Use paid advertising to generate contact information.
Use that contact information to connect and create actual paying guests.
Track it, measure it, and modify to maximize your return on investment.
When you overthink your social media posts with the intention and hope to go viral and soar your business into fandom instead of being consistent in posting messages, this is lottery ticket marketing.
Everyone has heard of the stories where someone created a post, and it caught on, and everyone shared it. Their life and business were forever transformed. Did you know that you have a better chance of winning the lottery than having your post go viral?
Think about it, 8. 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram per day.
Your posting strategy should be in being consistent. Post once a day; repeating a post from the past is better than not being consistent!
Every restaurant has them; successful restaurants have lots.
But what good are superfans if you have no way to communicate with them when you're community is in lockdown?
Find a way to collect a first name and an email address from every guest who takes-out or dines-in.
If you're not doing this, the rest of your marketing efforts are pointless.
This list will be priceless to your future self!
Typically, you would be heading into the busiest three weeks of the year. However, just like everything else in 2020, this holiday season is a lot different.
You are just hanging on, trying to make it through.
But whatever you do, don't give up on your marketing.
At the very least, collect a name and email from every guest that visits you this month.
Then in the first week of January, send them an email to thank them for the visit and support.
Offer them an incentive to come back for another visit.
Marketing to people who have had a great experience in your restaurant has the most significant return on your effort.
So the question is, are you a content provider or a service provider?
The lines get blurred when it comes to restaurant marketing.
It is important to be top of mind and be active on your social accounts, review sites, and emails.
But, should you be spending time writing blogs and creating videos?
It's not bringing value to your restaurant experience.
With 90% of new guests visiting your restaurant because of a trusted friend or family member's recommendation, your time is best spent making sure that every guest has an amazing experience.
Take 2hrs at the start of your week, plan and schedule your content.
Don't overthink it.
Done is better than perfect.
Take 15min every day, replying to comments and messages.
Less than 4hrs a week, providing consistent touches to your followers and subscribers will go a lot further than spending hours writing a blog post or editing a video that no one will read or watch.
There are many great lessons in this book; this is a favourite.
“Understanding the distinction between service and hospitality has been at the foundation of our success. Service is the technical delivery of a product. Hospitality is how the delivery of that product makes its recipient feel. Service is a monologue—we decide how we want to do things and set our own standards for service. Hospitality, on the other hand, is a dialogue. To be on a guest’s side requires listening to that person with every sense, and following up with a thoughtful, gracious, appropriate response. It takes both great service and great hospitality to rise to the top.”
Before you spend any time or money on your marketing, ensure that you provide hospitality within your restaurant, not just service.
But don't take our word for it; read the book.
Posting to social media is part of a megaphone marketing strategy.
Shouting your message into a crowd through a megaphone and hoping someone out there hears it.
You hope that the algorithm will be kind to your restaurant and show your post to the right people at the right time.
Only 10% of your followers are shown your posts.
When you scream through a megaphone, it needs to be generic and can't make it personalized.
This seems like the opposite of the experience a full-service restaurant is trying to achieve.
Wouldn't you want your digital strategy to reflect the personalized, engaging experience you provide within your restaurant?
You tell your kids this over and over again.
Why don't they get it the first time?
It's not as important to them as it is to you.
So do you give up?
No, you keep reminding them, and one day they surprise you and do it all on their own.
Your guests are the same; they need to be always reminded about your restaurant.
Your emails are not being read by everyone every time.
If you send out a long-form email, AKA a "newsletter," once a month, most people on your list won't open it, and even fewer people won't take the time to read it. It's too much information all at once. Your restaurant is not that important to the guest for them to spend more than 30 seconds reading a message from you.
Try this. (Takes less than 90min once a month.)
Less is more when it comes to content!
More frequent touches keep you top of mind!
Being top of mind increases your restaurant's opportunity for the next dining out experience.
Hang up your Jacket!
The jacket doesn't belong on the floor.
Have you heard about the jacket on the hook?
Jackets, where should they be kept?
Should you need any ideas or help to create and schedule an email, book a free call.
With all that's going on in the world, running your restaurant and being thankful takes some conscious effort. However, showing gratitude and being positive makes the daily grind not so much of a grind.
So how do you use gratitude in your marketing?
Be thankful for your staff!
What would happen if, instead of pointing out all the mistakes, you pointed out all the fantastic things your staff does that make a guest feel special?
Sometimes a guest doesn't notice every little thing that is done to make their experience memorable, but you can.
Having your staff engaged and passionate about doing whatever it takes to create an amazing experience establishes a culture within your restaurant that is focused on guest satisfaction.
Ensuring a repeat visit is essential in your marketing system for steady sales growth.
The Marketing Hare comes up with a promotion, spends time creating posts and stories and paying for ads on radio and billboards. As the promotion runs, they don't think about planning the next campaign, and the foot is off the gas. The promotion ends, and things have slowed down. Now they panic and need to start the process over again.
The Marketing Tortoise spends its time connecting with the guests coming into their restaurant. They build a contact list and send short personalized emails consistently and frequently. They automate their digital marketing to continually stay top of mind; they can spend their time and money taking care of the actual guest. With a list of superfans, it's as easy as sending out an email to a friend and letting them know about a new promotion.
Being a Tortoise takes patients but always pays off in the end.
The dollars spent in your full-service restaurant are in most people's entertainment budget, not grocery budget.
Those budgeted dollars are in the same group as movies, concerts or anything else that provides an element of fun.
Wouldn't it make sense to focus your marketing on the experience people are going to have?
How do you accomplish that?
Start with your website. The words you choose to put on our website help potential new guests visualize the experience you provide.
Look at your website.
Within the first 5 seconds, is it clear what style of service you provide?
Most restaurants showcase their most beautiful food above the fold on their homepage. But how does that tell someone if your style is casual or formal?
Is the music pumping where you would want to hang out with friends?
Soft and subtle where you would want to have an intimate dinner with someone special?
Be clear in your communication, not abstract.
If you are not providing a memorable guest experience, stop wasting your time and money on Marketing.
90% of new guests visit your restaurant because of a trusted friend or family member's recommendation.
Once you spend money on marketing, it will magnify guests' recent experiences in your restaurant, good or bad. The point of marketing is to magnify an amazing experience worth someone taking a chance and trying your restaurant for the first time.
Providing a fantastic experience, or as the book Amaze Every Customer Every Time by Shep Hyken says, Moments of Magic is how you earn a guest's loyalty.
How are you creating moments of magic?
But don't take our word for it; read the book.
Amaze Every Customer Every Time by Shep Hyken
Learn about your guests.
Use that knowledge to communicate with them.
Build a relationship.
All of a sudden, your restaurant means more to a guest than just a place to eat. It becomes a place where they feel cared about, listened to, and recognized.
By building an engaged email list, you are doing more than just marketing; you create a family.
Many elements go into your house, like a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, windows and doors. These elements can be arranged in various ways, but how they all fit together is thought of before construction starts.
Your marketing plan is the same way. Social media, SEO, Email, Direct Mail, Website...... These are all components of a marketing system. For them to work, you need to have a plan.
Are you providing the experience you want?
The experience the guest is looking for?
What do you know about your guests?
Do you know what's important to them?
Listen to your guests.
Is anyone there?
I just entered my email to subscribe but I am not getting anything? Should I check back tomorrow?
If you do not have an instant welcome email that goes out to a subscribes you are missing out on the most captive time that lead will ever be.
They are on your website, they are thinking of you, they become vulnerable and give you personal information and you cant even set up an automation that sends them a message?
Thanks (First.Name) for joining our email list.
We are so happy that you are part of our network of friends.
We are always here to serve and we are looking forward to your next visit.
GENERAL MANAGER NAME
Yup, it's that simple. Get this figured out and you'll be in the top 1% of all restaurants that have an email marketing program.
So the premise of the program seems fantastic, people dine with your restaurant, you reward them for coming in, and then they keep coming back because they want to collect points........
This works for quick service and fast food because there is less emphasis on service.
However, you are a full-service restaurant, and your number one goal should be creating a personal and engaging experience.
What is personal and engaging about a guest collecting points for purchases and then redeeming them for money off their bill?
Think about it what would resonate more with your most loyal guests....
Getting a percentage of their spend in points every time they come in.
Taking care of their bill randomly every few visits because you personally recognize them as being awesome.
Both can net out to the same dollar value, but taking care of an entire bill will go a lot further in building loyalty.