Marketing is both an art and Science. Unfortunately, many advertising and marketing agencies do not want you to know what really works best for your restaurant. They want you to think that running ads all the time will be the answer to all your restaurant’s problems and this is not how it always works.
We are looking at innovative ways like Birthday Marketing and creating a Birthday Club to create interest in your restaurant but that does not mean forgetting the basics. So let’s take a quick look at how to get the most from your restaurant marketing and advertising.
If you always need to spend money on running ads in order to get a customer to visit your business, you’re likely become broke soon unless you can make them a repeat customer. Repetitive business is the key to making a profit and customer service is critical. Creating birthday programs for your customers can help you maintain your customer base and increase the frequency of their visits and the value of their orders.
SUCCESSFUL RESTAURANT MARKETING
There are several elements in a successful restaurant marketing:
Yes it’s your logo, yes it’s your colour scheme and decor but this branding stuff goes a lot deeper. There’s been a lot of discussions (it’s gone on forever!) about branding. We all know what we need to do for branding, but no one has really explained what a brand is and how you build it at a local level. A strong brand is one that can shift a promise to execution. Or in plain English, delivering what you say you will.
It’s not something that happens once, when you advertise because not all people will remember your brand unless they remember what you did or will do for them. So your ad spend can help your brand definitely. If you are not a huge chain with VERY deep pockets then creating your brand is all about making memorable experiences. It’s about connecting with your customers and making sure that you are the restaurant they favour when they choose to eat out.
How do you do that? Well that’s up to you. Some restaurants have comedy nights, others have people roaming tables with fiddles with candlelight so dim you can’t skewer your peas, still others revel in the gastronomy and others it’s all about the themes. There is no absolutes. Think about HOW you’d like your restaurant to be remembered. Then think about how you can build that brand.
Positioning is an undervalued marketing concept. It’s putting yourself into your targets customers field of view BEFORE they choose a competitor. Not where you are physically based on or off the high street. You only have to read reviews of some great restaurants to know that some are well and truly off the beaten track and need some dedication to locate them! Effective positioning involves adding or creating a USP (Unique Selling Point).
As an example 2 years ago any 100% Vegan restaurant had this as a great USP. There were not many completely vegan eating establishments and those who were really saw a huge uplift in their customers. Then veganism became the new trend and moved into the mainstream as a whole or part lifestyle choice. Now, as that trend continues to grow, other restaurants are increasing their plant based only offerings. It means Vegans have more choice so the USP they had is maybe not as powerful as it was. Now generally there is more choice presented to the vegan consumer.
A USP is something that sets you apart, that distinguishes you from the rest. For example, Burger King vs McDonald’s; if Burger King can convince their customers that a flame-grilled burger tastes better than a fried burger, then they have won. Just because McDonald’s will never go into all their restaurants to remove their ovens and install grills instead. It’s a personal choice and not everyone will prefer one of the other but the positioning is what sets them apart. It makes one more memorable than the other. It can be as something as simple as giving GREAT customer service, or remembering what a regular customers favourite table or wine is.
Restaurants & Menu Variations
We get bored, we like to try new tastes and even the fast food chains try a new recipe every now and again. It’s a good idea to have a menu refresh. Many restaurants do it in line with seasonal changes to match the ingredients that are on offer. However you do it, do it! Every 6 to 12 months just make an analysis of your menu. What’s been on there a while now, what is maybe not selling as well as it used to?
Foods have trends as well as fashion. Better yet, get your customers involved and maybe ask for requests or hold a new menu tasting evening. Not just for your staff but for a few guests and see what they love about the new menu.
Of course, we need to look at the bottom line figures, this will include profitability analysis and competitive menu analysis. To keep your menu fresh, up-to-date and profitable, you need to know specifically how each dish on your menu is performing and also how it performs alongside your top competitors. But also, a new menu injects some FUN into what the staff are doing.
Reputation Growth & Management
Marketing, human resources, operations and education are inextricably linked. If you’re a small local restaurant you still have the same headaches the large chains do. You’ve probably heard before that good marketing will only kill a bad operation faster. That’s because if you send people to a restaurant that is at a B level or lower, people will have a bad experience and your money would be better spent on restaurant improvements rather than marketing.
Education is a vital component of your marketing for this reason. Your education will have to go beyond mere employee orientation. You need an ongoing program that constantly improves and develops your employees’ competencies. It is also a good idea to include a restaurant marketing component in your training program so you have a staff of ambassadors to help your sales-building efforts.
Does that sound like a confusing headache, and way more than you have time to do? Honestly, simple education is things like asking how the meal was at the end of the meal (rather than in the middle when your customers are eating) or thanking them for their custom, asking them to check in to the restaurant before they leave (on social media), or leaving a Google / TripAdvisor review for you. The simple act of asking your staff to do that at the end of a meal can have a profound impact on your reputation. We have some more tips on these small steps that can make a big difference in another article for you.
Reputation Management Tips
We can’t please all the people all of the time. Some people will complain about a hair in their soup, others will complain because they didn’t get the hair! You can’t win them all and you shouldn’t try to.
Human nature is that some people naturally LIKE to complain. They will go out of their way to find fault and then, in the age of the internet, will run home and be a keyboard warrior. Waxing lyrical about the appalling food, service, decor, weather….we have all met the type.
Dealing With The Diffi-cults
For any business, having a 100% satisfied customer base is definitely something to aim for but we are unlikely to achieve it. If Mrs. Smith-Smythe is having a bad hair day then the perfect Omelette is not going to appease her. She may well consider your new waitress to have looked at her wonky locks “funnily” and then go home to leave a scathing Trip Advisor review about your Croutons.
What we CAN do is choose how to respond. Customers will take far more notice of 1 bad review in 15 good ones but you will be AMAZED at how much attention they pay to how the business owner replies. In some instances the lack of reply can do more harm than good. If you want to brag you do not care, then not replying is the perfect step to take.
THE SECRET: RESTAURANT BIRTHDAY CLUBS
Shhhhhhhhh. It’s a secret! Well it’s not really as some of the huge chains use this technique. The important thing here is most local businesses don’t. Knowing your customers’ birthdays gives you two advantages to increasing your sales. First, you can offer a discount or a free gift to customers who choose to celebrate their birthdays at your restaurant. Second, you have a motivate customer in the mood to celebrate and who is likely to spend more than they would at other times.
Trust me, these are high value clients and the perfect customer for your business. Not only do they spend more typically they also do not dine alone. 3-4 covers for a birthday is normal and if they are in a party mood that group can be much larger. Now creating a birthday club is a genius idea, there are a few moving parts to getting it working right. Or (SHAMELESS SERVICE PLUG ALERT) we can do the whole thing for you. End to end, done for you, super easy…. but I digress.
STEP 1 – Find Out Who Near Your Restaurant Is Celebrating An Upcoming Birthday
STEP 2 – Contact Them And Offer Them A Bribe To Enjoy Their Birthday Meal With You
STEP 3 – Encourage Them To Book To Get The Offer / Discount
STEP 4 – Remind Them To Come
STEP 6 – Get Their Feedback
That’s it, the 6 steps to make your restaurant Birthday club a roaring success. Those are the steps, it kinda helps to have a bit more of a roadmap. Why not see if you qualify for us to it for you? We are some rather swish and very clever software that takes care of steps 3 to 6 and steps 1 to 2 we have some smarty pants marketing people who do that. We will also do it ALL FREE for 30 days to prove how well it works!
Do you have ANY idea how many people are celebrating a birthday this week within a 5 mile radius of your restaurant. If you are very very rural it might only be double figures, near a town or a city, you’d be amazed!
Benefits for A Restaurant Birthday Club
It Creates a Customer Database
Yeah and….? One if the biggest trends is offering deals and discounts, look at daily deal sites like Groupon and Wowcher. They get all the emails and can then market deals of your competitors to your customers. It’s their business model and it’s made them millions. You get the new customer but you have to give a BIG discount then split what the customer does pay with them as commission. The result – very expensive marketing with a traditionally low rate of repeat custom (Less than 1% the experts say).
Ny marketing to motivated buyers who want to celebrate you get them in the right mood to spend and better yet, it’s your marketing material. So you can make a simple database and then market to them directly. That cuts out the middleman and even by giving deals and offers, you still keep the lions share of the hard earned revenue.
Repeat Clients & Frequent Visitors
Birthday clubs help you gain frequent restaurant visitors since these clubs provide discounts that a lot of people would not say no to. If done correctly, your database will be able to provide you with customers all-year round. Furthermore, when your customers become a part of your birthday club, they get a feeling of exclusiveness which means that they’d treat your restaurant like their home because they feel like they are a part of it. Plus, add to it some human psychology. If you have a great time on your birthday, where you had that birthday meal you anchor those good feelings too. That makes you more likely to be a patron MORE frequently. Yes, with Birthday clubs, you get customers who return and pay full price.
The Positioning Power Of A Personal Touch
We love personal service and feeling special. We all like to feel the red cordon rope is being lifted for us. Being a friend to your customers, not just a restaurant, accelerates loyalty. You don’t need to give them a birthday card or send flowers but by sending reminders and telling them their celebrations are close will make you stand out.
Plus, they have had a good time, how much more likely are they to leave you a glowing review? Around 60-70% are the figures as long as you remember to ask. Your waitress Mandy is off for the week and you stand-in Claire forgets. That opportunity to get them to share those good feelings is gone! But with some clever marketing automation, they could get a thank you and a polite request WITH a link for them to review you on your review site of choice. Imagine, all that happening without you having to life a finger. Yes, we have even made that dream a reality for you. Did I mention our magical software? (not so subtle hint!)
Amplify The Customer Experience
If you have newsletters, magazines, or social media accounts, include some photos of your customers’ experience on their birthday celebration with you. We have a very very innovative way of getting them to check in and post live on social media. (ASK US ABOUT THAT HERE). This gets you known as the go to venue in your local area. You’re going to be seen more and more as you appear more in all these peoples social media feeds, that showcases your food, ambience and these people just having a darn good time.
Get Your Own Restaurant Birthday Club
- Less than almost all other forms of digital advertising
- Comes with the added benefit fo word of mouth marketing
- Increases your social reach
- 100% Free Trial Available
- Contact Us Now!
Strictly limited area availability, we can only work with a select few restaurants in each geographical area. So get in touch now and secure your FREE trial and let us PROVE how well this works.