The fact is that you can have the most beautiful car, but if you don't have any gas, you will have a hard time getting around.
A restaurant's social media is the same. You can create engaging posts, beautiful pictures and attractive copy, but to get your marketing moving, you need to pay to play. You need to add some fuel to your marketing.
Organic engagement on its own will take a long time to gain traction; however, a targeted ad spend will get you going from o to 60 in a flash.
It sure doesn't if you are marketing to the wrong people in the wrong places.
Posting to social media and hoping people see your beautiful picture with your clever description will not work.
Radio Commercials that broadcast to a large audience that will never come to your restaurant will not work.
Billboards that people zoom by are not going to work.
Sending out an email randomly once in a while is not going to work.
Building a network of guests, which you frequently communicate with personalized messages, works.
Because you fill the funnel with a large group and out of that group, you find people who love your restaurant and love hearing from you. They open every email, like every post and redeem every incentive.
These are superfans, and it takes work to find them, nurture them and maintain a relationship.
But you need to start. Where do you start, by booking a strategy call with one of our account managers.
The sales process is referred to as a funnel because you start with a large audience and only end up with a few super fans.
The Restaurant Funnel system works by initial marketing to many people through paid and organic communications.
From this group, we build a list of people not only interested in your restaurant but those who are willing to engage in marketing.
Then, by sending them relevant and personal communications, we convert that interest into an experience at your restaurant.
Once they have come in, communication is continued through personal and relevant messaging, and we begin to learn more about them.
Once a guest has reached a certain status, only then will they be considered a superfan.
So your food is consistent, and no matter who makes it, the product is the same.
So you don't forget to add an ingredient in the form of a checklist.
So you know what ingredients you need and how many servings they produce.
Your marketing strategy is a recipe.
You create it, write it sone, test it and adjust it as you go.
The key here is to write it down and create the plan.
When it's written down, it's easier to have other people assist you and execute the plan on your behalf.
It's tough to be working "in" the business as well as working "on" the business. As most restaurant owners have an active role in the day to day operations of their restaurant, planning for the future is mainly forgotten about.
But decisions you make today may help or haunt you in the future, so you need to look ahead.
Marketing is essential to be doing now so that you can reap the rewards of a strong marketing strategy as your restaurant goes through the seasons. Not spring summer fall winter seasons, but the peaks and valleys in business cycle.
Marketing, while you are busy, will help you in the future flatten out the peaks and valleys and allow your business to be more consistent and predictable.
Good food used to only be available at nice restaurants; now you can get amazing gourmet food in dive bars, quick service, and food trucks.
So what is keeping people coming to your full-service restaurant? It is the experience—the service. The way you make people feel welcome and show them hospitality.
Although food plays a big part in it, if your food isn't fantastic, you need to step up that game first. But if you have great food and want to be able to charge a premium for it, you need to make sure your service achieves a high standard of hospitality.
A marketing strategy needs to incorporate three things. Attracting new guests, having repeat guests return more often, and having current guests spend more money.
Having guests return more often can be as simple as a parting salutation to include an invite to return.
"Please Come Again" is three words that you don't always hear as you finish your dining experience. You hear "goodbye" and "thank you," but the invite to return is commonly missed.
Make your guest feel like you want them to come back, and they might come back sooner than later.
By keeping your legs in sync
Most restaurants focus on operations, take care of basic accounting and maybe do some marketing.
But you need all three business functions to be in sync.
Marketing - brings in the guest.
Operations - takes care of the guest.
Accounting - makes sure you are making money from all your hard work.
When these are out of sync, it makes running your restaurant harder than it needs to be.
The entire experience, positive or negative, can be erased based on how you take care of the guest in their final moments.
How about selling the next visit with a free dessert.
It doesn't need to be anything extravagant, and it's more about the packaging.
Make it something that is easily taken out.
Make it something that your branding is on the packaging.
Include a manager's card and have it delivered by the manager at the end of the visit as a thank you for that guest coming in and inviting them to return.
Make it something unique and memorable.
Macaroons, mini-donuts, a bag of popcorn, house-made candy....the options are endless.
How are you creating a memorable experience and selling the next visit?
When someone walks into your restaurant, the internal sales process starts. The way your entrance looks, how guests are greeted, and even the smell can set the tone for the guest's upcoming dining experience.
Most restaurants got this figured out; they hire smart and enthusiastic people at the front to greet and seat. They give them scripts to ensure the table is properly briefed before the server comes over.
However, many restaurants forget about the goodbye. This is a very important part of service. Many times have great experiences been ruined by someone not being able to find their server to get the check, or even no one saying thank you as they leave the building.
You are always selling the next visit.
So there is no better time to sell the next visit than when a guest is leaving.
Three simple things you need to do.
Thank the guest for coming in
Ask them if they enjoyed their experience
Invite them to come back
Whether you are a 5-star fine dining restaurant or a small town dive, your bathrooms represent a lot about your restaurant.
No matter what style your restaurant is, keep them clean and new. It is one of the most critical public areas, and the guest always associates a restaurant's kitchen cleanliness with how they take care of the bathroom.
Please do not use this space for advertising for other companies no matter how much they pay you.
You have a captive audience in your bathroom and it's a great way to let people know about private rooms, feature items, or upcoming events.
You are always trying to sell the next visit.
Make sure any materials you put in are professional and a reflection of your brand image.
But even the bathroom itself can be a marketing tool. A "cool" bathroom is always talked about.
Sales and marketing go hand and hand. Marketing attracts the customer to your offer and sales, sells it.
So your servers, although they perform an essential part in the restaurant's operations, should be considered part of the marketing team.
Are you teaching your staff to take orders, or are you teaching them to sell? This doesn't just mean they sold another bottle of wine or upgraded to a lobster tail add-on, but are they selling the next visit?
Think about it; the guest is already in the building, they are already going to buy from you. So why not think about creating the best current experience to try and sell the next one? It's great if the guest says they enjoyed the experience as they walk out the door, but it's even better if they say, " I can't wait to come back."
One of the most significant marketing tools available to you is your menu. How things are described, where items are placed, and even the font you use can influence people's decisions in what they order.
Don't just put words on a page. Not only should your menu be attractive, but it should also guide people to order more of your most profitable items.
Many restaurants have transformed over to digital menus; having links to more information, beverage pairing, and pictures can help guests try new things and order accompanying dishes.
Before you start on any outside marketing, make sure your menu represents the experience you provide.
So often, restaurants concentrate on creating the best Instagram post as their complete marketing strategy. They measure the success of their posts based on how many people like them.
Those tiny hearts make us feel good, but unfortunately, you can't deposit those into the bank.
Concentrating on how many people like and follow you on social media instead of creating a plan to track guest visits is like worrying about the unpolished spoon when the restaurant is on fire.