Restaurant Marketing - Simple But Not Easy!!
24th October 2010
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PromoCard's Restaurant Marketing Strategies Help Restaurants “Catch More Customers”

I have worked with hundreds of restaurants discussing, their ideas on marketing over the past few years. Most agree that when a new restaurant is launched, a certain amount of marketing and PR is needed to kick it off and spread the word.

From then on, the amount of marketing that restaurants do varies. On one end of the scale, some employ full time marketing people or marketing and PR agencies, while at the other end they do nothing at all and just rely on word of mouth to spread the word.

The question is, what is the right amount of marketing to do and to what extent? I have seen some restaurants spend a lot of money on marketing, advertising and promotion – without much success, while others seemingly do very little yet become very successful.

So what is the right balance? Let me illustrate how it works with this Coca Cola example below.

When Coke a Cola brings out a new product they spend millions on promoting and advertising the product. When launched they know and only expect that a few people will actually try it. The success of the product then depends on those few to recommend it through word mouth to friends. If most of them do so, it virally spreads and becomes a success, if not, the product is dead.

Successful restaurants work the same way; once launched, the success of spreading the word virally through word of mouth recommendation is what will make them successful or not.

Any additional on-going marketing initiatives, should be attempting to speed up the recommendation process by having more new people recommending and returning more quickly.

If however these new customers that the marketing initiatives attract do not return or recommend the restaurant to friends, it will have all been in vain. A onetime visit can actually do more harm than good – if customers are not happy they actually spread bad news even quicker than good news.

What I am suggesting is that before marketing your restaurant, be absolutely sure that you have everything in place. There are many areas that need to brilliant, not just the food but the whole proposition, the service, the ambiance, the value etc. The location can also have a huge bearing on the ultimate success, however that on its own it won’t make it successful. 

Unfortunately to have a brilliant restaurant alone, may not be enough to make it successful, it also needs enough people to know about it. I have seen some seemingly wonderful restaurants that have been unsuccessful, because not enough customers are attracted quickly enough.

The success formula for a restaurant is simple: however to achieve it can be elusive tricky.

First make sure that the restaurant is so good that once having visited it, customers will keep using it and will keep recommending it to friends.

Second use the right Marketing Strategy to be able to attract enough customers, quickly enough, who will then keep using it and will also recommend it to their friends.

If your restaurant is not as successful as you’d like it to be, you may not have the right product in place to keep customers returning and to recommend their friends. You may also not yet implemented the right strategy to attract enough customers quickly enough. 

Some restaurants are in the middle of nowhere yet attract a lot of clients. Part of getting the restaurant right is making sure that it is in the right for the area, or that you can attract people from outside the area to use it.

To make things even more confusing, sometimes it is difficult to work out, why a particular restaurant is so successful. 

I have met many restaurateurs who think they have a brilliant product but not enough of their customers feel the same way. So not enough of them recommend or return and while they are gaining a few they are also losing a few. They may be spinning their wheels.

The litmus test is the ratio of returns and recommendations that a restaurant achieves. 

To make sure the product remains brilliant, a good idea is to get keep getting good genuine feedback. The worst people to give you feed back are family and friends. You can get experts to come and give you feedback and also you can get it from your customers. 

A good idea is to encourage customer’s feedback by putting out customer feedback forms and encouraging customer feedback on your website. This will give you a clue. BTW if they don’t fill them in it part of the clue. It is also a good idea to speak to some customers when possible in an appropriate way to get their genuine feedback. 

The customer feedback forms if done tastefully can show that at least you care and are looking to improve.  They are also a great motivator to the staff who can also see the feedback. 

The other important use of the feedback forms is that you are building a data base of happy clients to whom you can promote your latest events and offerings. This can help speed up returns and even help with recommendations – as they can easily pass the information to friends. Just ask me and I will be delighted to send or email you some samples. Request sample questionnaires

There are many types of restaurant marketing and restaurant promotional ideas around so look around for the right ones and I suggested testing out appropriate ones and monitoring what works best in your situation.

We at PromoCards have helped several hundred customers with our Restaurant Marketing Strategies you are welcome to download them free of charge FYI.

7 Simple Restaurant Marketing Strategies



About the Author

Peter G S

Member since: 4th July 2011

Chef Patron of French Rest in N W London for 17 years. Now in the fishing business, helping clients "Catch more customers", Love tennis, goal is to be a Wimbledon veteran champion when I'm 70....

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