A new customer walks through your door thanks to a well-placed ad in a local newspaper and you’re ready to chalk up a win for the Big Picture marketing strategy. You were thrilled with those positive Yelp reviews and now it seems equally exciting that a paid ad works, too. You want to congratulate whoever’s on your restaurant marketing team and you think about the graphic artist. After all, the marketing is done. Right?

Wait.

When a customer enters your premises, your marketing effort is just beginning.

What is Restaurant Marketing

Dig into the Webster dictionary and you’ll see that marketing by its definition includes “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.”

Really? Is it that easy? So you pay for an ad, send out some coupons and marketing is done…

That approach to marketing is missing a key ingredient—like the customer’s opinion. What are they thinking after they walk out the door?

Maybe your food is great, but what they saw inside the restroom may seal their fate forever. And if the person clearing the tables acts like they’d rather be playing video games then your customer will want to eat and run.

Successful restaurant marketing embraces the entire customer experience. Let’s capitalize it…Entire Customer Experience.

Your Marketing Goal

Restaurants, like companies in all industries, gain positive or negative reputations and every customer’s opinion counts. Those opinions come from a customer’s complete experience.

Yes, marketing has to make a customer anticipate coming to your restaurant. But here’s the critical secret that you can’t overlook. The customer has to have such a positive experience that they tell their friends about the good time they had, and they can’t wait to come back.

How do you that? By looking at each and every one of your staff as a member of your restaurant marketing team.

You can take out a paid ad in a newspaper or high-end glossy magazine. That’s advertising and that’s can be a good way to get noticed. But to understand marketing, get into the customer’s point of view and pretend that you’re visiting your restaurant for the very first time.

Marketing Smart

What do you see when you pull up to the curb or drive into the parking lot? Is it dimly lit or well lit? Are there annoying potholes that seem like they’re going to bust an axle or is the surface nice and smooth?  The customer’s not even inside but they’re already forming opinions. Your restaurant marketing is just beginning.

Now walk to the entrance and open the door. Is the glass dirty and do the hinges squeak? If you were the customer and no one inside the restaurant knew your name, would you be greeted with a smile or would your team be too busy to bother saying “hello?”

The good news is that marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s a prevailing attitude of quality and caring about every detail. When it’s done right, you will see a boost in customer satisfaction and revenue.

I will never forget going to lunch a nice place that was highly recommend to me.  My meal was great — until I had to go to the restroom and discovered there was no toilet paper.

Get the point?

Details like functional restrooms and employee smiles matter. Those small items build big reputations and will save you $$$ on traditional marketing!

5 Marketing Takeaways

Put this into practice right away to create a successful marketing effort.Your marketing team is every person who works in your restaurant.

  1. Meet with your entire team and empower them by educating them of the importance of their new role.
  2. Servers are salespeople, NOT order takers. – Empower them by teaching proper upselling techniques. Show them how they can impact the bottom line by adding $1 or $2 per person to the check average.
  3. Create daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly inspection reports to ensure your facilities are clean and everything is working properly.
  4. Marketing is a complete cycle. The person ultimately responsible for the growth of your restaurant must have the power and knowledge to work with all department heads.
  5. The mission is to improve the experience from the moment the customer thinks about dining in your restaurant, all the way until they get the credit card bill with your restaurant’s charge on it up to 30 days later. You want them to agree it was money well spent.

Put your systems in place. Turn your vision for every aspect of your operation into systems that are measurable and repeatable.

Remember, to mange your systems and develop your staff.  Your team members will need to be reminded that they are key to the success of your restaurant. Treat them with value, and they in turn will value the customer who will reward you with many future visits and positive recommendations.

Your priority is running your operation and it can be reassuring to know that help is available. If you’re new to our site then welcome.  I would like to invite you to get started with more tips you can use right away. Visit The Restaurant Boss.com’s Start Here page and get access to a ton of FREE tools to help support you!

Your Next Step

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