The experts are now saying that the U.S. economy had some substantial amount of economic depression. As if we already don’t all know this or experience it in our businesses. These so called experts are also now saying the economy is getting better. Duh. We know that one also. More people are eating out. Things are getting better. Well not that much. We know we have to do something to bring people back and get more people in. When I say more people in, I am not talking about Groupon. While there are many marketing ideas out there to implement, independent operators as I know are not interested in promises. They want results. But good sales guys have sold operators pet rocks with no results and you are tired of the run around.
So what does an operator do in 2011, when many competitors have lost close to 30% of their revenue or even closed down in the last two years or so?
1. Your service has to be top notch: Once the experience is great, people will still love coming back. But if your service is alright but not great, no matter how much marketing you invest in, people they will not stay.
2. Use every opportunity to collect customer data: I mean invest in touch point simple technologies, like e-mail, text messages, social media marketing and post card. These tools deliver when used with the right tactic and frequency. In 2011, you are in the business of experience and customer data. YOU MUST HAVE BASIC DEMOGRAPHIC information about your customers. Who are they? When during the day do you see business people, older adults, teens. You already know they like to eat and what each group loves in your restaurant. Do you have a sales goal for 2011? Which part of your business are you looking to grow? Take out, lunch business or dinner?
4. Invest in DIY: As an operator, you don’t have a marketing department or have money to throw around to pet rock sales guys. Stop spending $850.00 to send coupons in Valpak, Money Mailer, Coupon envelope to 100,000 homes and getting less than 100 of the coupon prints back. Do the math, what is your return on investment (R0I), it is 0.01 %. Not even 1%. Think about that. I know you were use to these types of marketing back in 1999, but this is 2011. Things have changed and human needs has also increased. It is no longer valid to have a great restaurant in a great location with great food and service. You need to retool and have an integrated approach. Don’t spend all your marketing dollars in one program spread it around and put more money in the one that deliver the best result.
You need to invest in simple yet effective tools that can help you keep anyone who comes to your restaurant back and also get new ones. Eighty percent of your customers are repeat business and twenty are new customers. The more you bring in the old, the more money you make. Here are some marketing tools to use:
1. E-mail marketing- more info
2. Social media marketing - more info
3. Text message - more info
4. Birthday post card; Expensive but can be replaced with a good e-mail program. Not constant contact. But one that allows you to send automatic e-mails to your customers on their birthday or anniversary. You have to be strategic.
Stop doing the same things of last year. No wonder why you keep getting the same result. Sorry if my tone is a little hard, I am just tired of people telling operators what they them selves know does not deliver result but keep telling you to buy it anyway. You have been sold a pet rock!!
Try and get these things as a packaged offering if you can, for effectiveness and good time management. If you do these things, you will surely win in 2011.
For more information about how to fully utilize marketing tools for your business visit Dining Dialog’s website and learn how we can help increase the foot traffic to your restaurant.