When constructing a building, whether it be a single story or a multilevel structure, the strength comes from the foundation that most people never see.
No matter how impressive the building is on top of the foundation, if the base is not built correctly, it could cause many future problems.
However, when you have a solid foundation, you may never think about it again, and you can concentrate on the structure on top that everyone can see.
Building a database of engaged guests to include a process of adding new guests and tracking existing guest visits is the foundation of your restaurant sales-building process.
"I was told to post to Instagram. So I post to Instagram. I am not sure why or how followers from different cities and countries liking my post help me serve more guests and generate more sales, but they say to post, so I post." said the restaurant owner.
If this sounds like your marketing plan, then stop posting. The time and money will be better spent serving the guests inside your restaurant. The content you provide needs to have a purpose. It needs to be tied in with a strategy and a vision.
995 photos are uploaded on Instagram every second.
That's a lot of stuff.
How do you fit in amongst all that stuff?
Are you a stuff creator or an experience provider? Wouldn't it make more sense to give people a sample of your experience instead of just a picture of it?
Everyone is quick to want to add contacts to their email list, some people even buy lists of names to get that number up.
But what's more important? 500 people on your list that are engaged with your messages or 5000 that don't care.
Some people argue that having lots of people on the list and sending them emails is worth it in "hopes" that they might engage. But then they start sending more emails and see the unsubscribe rate climb, so they panic and stop sending emails.
Kinda defeats the purpose of having an email list.
We believe in building a healthy list, like a group of friends. You want people you can count on to get excited about your promotion, new menu, or special event. ANd not only get excited about it and share it but come in and spend money.
Build a list that you can send an email to every five days. That's a truly engaged list. Build that list with a 25% click-through rate, and now you have superfans.
The book is always better than the movie because you use your imagination to create your visuals in your head. You imagine the story, the characters and the scenes.
This is why words are so crucial in your marketing.
Choose words to help a potential guest visualize the experience they will have at your restaurant.
Choose words that will make them crave a feeling when they dine with you.
The words you use allow potential guests to see themselves in your restaurant.
But don't forget, this sets the bar high for the experience, so you need to make the movie live up to the book.
A great server will find out information about the guest and use that information to customize the experience.
Let's compare it to wine service.
Some restaurants have 100's of bottles on their list.
When the staff help the guest make a selection, they will usually start with a simple question like red or white?
Then it can get more specific.
Would you like something lighter and delicate, or perhaps something more full-bodied?
Would you like something local or perhaps somewhere more exotic?
What wines have you tried in the past that you've enjoyed?
To make an excellent recommendation, the server needs to find out more information.
This is the great thing about building a guest database; you can ask questions and find out more information about the guests on your list. Use this information to send out targeted communications that the guest is interested in, and adjust your offerings to satisfy more of the guest's desires.
But don't just take our word for it; read the book.
Ask by Ryan Levesque
How do you track your costs?
You measure your cost of goods compared to your sales. That's a direct cost in providing the products.
You measure your labour compared to your sales. That's a direct cost in serving your product.
You need to measure your marketing against the sales that it creates as a direct cost of bringing in new guests.
Many restaurants base their marketing investment on total sales generated. You need to measure the marketing dollar spent than the sales generated as a result of the marketing.
It's true; it's challenging to track every sale back to a marketing strategy, but what you can track is an incentive. When an incentive is redeemed, you can ask if this was the guest's first visit. Now you can track how many new guests came in as a result of your marketing.
Here is the formula.
(New guest vale times new guests that dined with you)
Divided by the marketing cost
Anything over 1 means your marketing is producing more value than the investment is costing.
YES, your restaurant can survive without a marketing strategy.
As long as you have a great product, you can coast through like a glider in the sky. Just like a glider needs help from Mother Nature to stay in the sky, you will solely rely on word of mouth, which is out of your control.
However, adding a sales and marketing strategy is like putting engines on your glider. Yes, there is an investment, and you need to be consistently adding in fuel. But you can control the speed, the altitude, and the destination.
Instead of just surviving like a glider, wouldn't you want to accelerate your restaurant growth by having a sales and marketing plan?
Communication is vital!
Whether it is with your life partner, business partner, staff or customers, how you communicate with them can be the difference between barely surviving and thriving.
Brad Bodnarchuk is working to help others understand and execute their true potential each and every day.
What percentage of people decide to go out for dinner solely based on a restaurant's Instagram feed?
In fact, unless you are paying for advertising, the only way people would know about your Instagram account would be from a link through another source like your webpage or a listing service?
When you do an internet search for the best restaurant in your city, do links to Instagram accounts come up?
How do you measure the engagement of your posts to the number of guests that post brought into the door?
How much of an investment of time and money are you putting into your social media strategy, and how much of a return are you receiving?
It just seems there are so many unanswered questions, and it's all part of a hope marketing strategy.
Maybe we are wrong?
Would love to hear your thoughts.
That's a common theme in server training. The operational partners are encouraging their staff to be engaging with the guest and bring them whatever they need to make their visit most enjoyable.
If you have a good friend who visits your home and you want to be a good host, you make sure their beverage is always full, you provide them options for snacks and check-in to make sure they are enjoying their visit.
So the question is, when you send your friend an email to invite them over for this visit, is it in the style of a graphic newsletter, or is it a friendly personalized email?
Why would it be essential to engage with your guest when they visit but then send them impersonal emails and just a bunch of noise?
5 Seconds is all you have to make a great first impression with your website.
Why not have a clear one-liner that gives people an insight into what they are going to experience when they visit your restaurant.
Come for the food, stay for the fun! Japanese Steakhouse serving Premium Local Beef and Authentic Japanese Wagyu, grilled to perfection by entertaining chefs right before your eyes.
Show your hunger who's boss! From pasta and protein to soups, salads, and desserts, we have everything you need for the best meal of your life. And yes, we do catering, too.
Bringing the taste of the south to you! A delicious feast of mouth-watering smoked meats and classic comfort dishes served with a side of excitement and great hospitality!
A creative burger experience that's as unique as you are! Build your own burger, retro glass bottled sodas, hard ice cream milkshakes and you can shot gun a beer for $2.75
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
Your food better be good, but your service needs to be outstanding.
Your food is the product; your server is the salesperson.
To truly enjoy the product they are buying, make sure the sales process is outstanding, or else it could have a negative effect on how good the guest perceives the product.
However, failure comes from experimentation.
Trying new things.
Pushing the envelope.
Taking a risk.
Your restaurant marketing will succeed when you try something, measure the results, learn from it, adapt, and try again.
Failure is what will help your restaurant thrive!