Restaurant Marketing 101
Getting guest to visit you is an ongoing effort that no F&B business can stop thinking about. Some businesses crack this time and again and yet so many struggle every day. So, we thought of trying to understand what some of the successful ones do. Here is a snapshot of what we discovered & guess what they don’t really believe in spending money on marketing.
Hire & retain talent
This is the numero uno hack. Business stalwarts like Bill Marriott to Richard Branson have been saying it all along. Getting the right people on the team, nurturing and growing them gets you more customers every day of the week than all the clever marketing ideas. It is the team who creates and makes the unique experiences for the guest.
It is the team which gives personality to the business. Also, talent attract more talents and it’s an energy vibe that is infectious & gets you more talent. Successful businesses know that the right talent ensures that the guest is recognised & cherished which makes them keep coming back for more.
Get the product consistently right
You could always find average looking places with a few signature dishes doing great business and great looking places with an exhaustive menu doing very average business. Guests come to you only and only for your F&B offerings, its quality, consistency and taste. Everything else is an add-on.
F&B business is about making a signature dish and then making it consistently every day & every time it is ordered. This leads to word of mouth praise that guest often make when they like something. Today it is photographed, tagged, spoken about & marketed with the whole world by the guest instantly. Being consistent is of paramount importance today more than ever.
Know their guests personally
Successful businesses know their guests well. That is not just their name and phone number but really know them well. They know what they like, who are their friends that they hang out with, what do they like to eat or drink, which is their favorite table etc. They even know their dislikes right from what do they like to eat, food allergies to even people they don’t like. In many ways, it is like you know your best friend.
Guests like this recognition and will come back for this as it increases their social quotient. If this is the culture is instilled in your team to know your guests that well then you are definitely getting more guest coming your way.
Keep creating new concepts
No matter what you do & how well you do guests eventually get bored of the menu and offerings. This is literally the best and the worst-case scenario for the business all at the same time. Businesses which constantly keep coming up with new innovative offerings, new dishes and in general are able to put a new spin are able to keep attracting more guests & retaining the old ones. This is easier said than done as this requires a lot of thought, creativity & execution skills. Just making a specials menu or a special of the day is no longer special.
Case in point being, if you are doing a Food festival promoting a particular cuisine then you have to get local chefs from that region to cook, get the original ingredients and go to lengths to get it, understand their culture nuances and build a service theme around it. When you go all the way guests notice it and appreciate your efforts to be out of the ordinary.
Encourage social media
This is the most in thing when it comes to marketing right now. Everybody understand the power of social media. There are specialists who tell you how to improve your page visits, get more likes and how to go trending with your posts. For us honestly it was a farmer couple who showed us how to engage with social media.
They run a non-descriptive highway eatery called UBM Namma Vettu Sappadu in the middle of nowhere near Erode. They are serving a hardcore Non-Vegetarian lunch charging about 500/- per head. We did not see any of the locals eating there. They don’t take any reservations and yet when we went there we waited for a table. A glance at the crowd there you realize that everyone there is from the cities and most of them have made the trip just to eat at this humble restaurant. They all got there because of social media.
The farmer couple serve the guest personally with all the love and affection of grandparents & encourage you to take snaps while they are feeding you. That gets posted to social media immediately. The food is brilliant with each dish being different from the other in basic ingredient, taste, color and texture. The entire marketing of this restaurant is done by its guests every day during lunch.
Do not offer discounts
Businesses that are confident about do not offer random discounts on various platforms in the name of marketing. If they do then it is a definite sign of desperation. Guest are quick to draw this conclusion. The smart one know how to bundle in discounts by offering more to their guests without actually dropping their prices. The guests also like this as they feel they are getting more value for money.
The alter ego of this is to show guest how they can enhance their experience by spending a little more. This comes off best when it is used to genuinely show the guest how that the spend will really add value. Otherwise it is just another sales pitch. However, both have an underlying play of not offering discounts.
Marketing is not limited to a few acts. It is in every action of the business every day & it is done by every member of the team. Happy Selling!