Look at your Brand
In today’s overcrowded market, it is important to define yourself as finitely as you can. Sean O’Donnell’s American Grill and Irish Pub in south Everett is a good example of taking a menu and “Irishizing” it; the look and feel is what Americans may associate with an Irish Pub and the events and promos center around celebration. By defining yourself succinctly, operating to this brand, and promoting yourself appropriately, you will gain new and repeat guests.
Talk About an Extreme Makeover
For many operators eager to grow their business, this is a quicker, less expensive way to boost sales. Your name may stay the same, but maybe some of the aesthetics need to change and be freshened up, the menu needs an upgrade, the graphics change, the staff needs retraining, and a series of announcements need to be made to the public. Is it easy? Not really. But it is in no way insurmountable. Success comes with focus and solid execution. You need to dig deep to better understand who you are, what others think of you, and how you meet and exceed the expectations of the public. With concentrated effort and devotion, you could be seeing results in ninety days.
What are you Famous for?
Take a look at Brands around you and consider what they are famous for. In general, this is probably going to be a menu item. Now ask yourself what your restaurant is famous for. If you have trouble answering this question, this means you have a problem. Now you need to determine what to do about it by picking some item(s) that can define you. Here is a good example of what I might call a difficult problem: Let’s say you are in the pizza business, which I would say is an overcrowded segment of the restaurant industry. What could separate you far from the maddening crowd of other pizzerias? I say it would be “artesian pizza”. Interestingly enough, Domino’s introduced artesian pizzas to their menu in 2010 and their same store sales jumped 10% and another 3.5% in 2011. Who would have thought? Now that wasn’t very hard to do, was it?
Do I like Groupon and other types of Mass Discounts?
I do, but only with conditions for the operator who subscribes to it. Here are my conditions:
- When someone uses the Groupon, you need to get their email address so that they can be part of your email list and also a “raving fan”.
- You need to send out an email monthly to these people talking about your brand, specials, events, promotions, and offers.
Know your Neighbors-Effective Marketing
Why should you know your neighbors? Because the people who are physically closest to you are generally the ones most likely to visit you. Go to businesses, offices, apartments, condos, retailers, manufacturers, etc. who are in your area. One must visit their neighbors on a regular basis, no less than once per month. You can bring them offers and, more importantly, you must bring them yourself. If it is not you personally then it is a good idea to have “street teams” who are emotionally vested in the restaurant and want to see it grow and succeed. They are your trusted representatives. Chart your travels and contacts. Believe me, you will find veins of gold in your travels.
Commentary: I know all of these items are easy to put on paper and I’ve seen all of them work. But I see operators knowing this is what they need to do and then not doing it. I’m never sure why they will not do it but they don’t. And then we have bigger issues with the business: We need to sell, they make no money, they are mentally paralyzed from the angst created, and the like. It is a sad commentary but I’ve seen this way too much. I’m here to help facilitate these items if need be.