Over the years, we have spent money on electronic and print media, public relations, direct mail, and more. Today, marketing can be highly effective and many times more cost efficient.
What I like about the new marketing paradigm is that it (1) is targeted to one’s existing guests, (2) can create spurts of sales and (3) helps create a stronger sense of the Brand. There are only six “must do” items for today’s operators. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, but one needs to be diligent and consistent to achieve maximum results. So here are our pointers:
- Become a social media medium — In a word: Stay active in your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). Regular postings in the media (1) enhance the Brand, and (2) spark interest for more guest visits. Be sure to look closely at Yelp, because they are moving to online reservations and online ordering. All social media needs to be strategic and monitored for best results and content.
- Participate in the on-demand economy — Boxed lunch/corporate catering represents an incredible enhancement to the restaurant business. I have a client with three fast & fresh casual restaurants who started some 14 months ago with his boxed lunch/corporate catering service. In this segment alone, he is touching $500,000 in annual sales without a catering salesperson. We believe that 30%+ of the sales goes to the bottom line. Looking at his operating statements, I would say that he has one of the highest EBITDA’s I’ve seen. It is helpful if you do Search Engine Optimization with your online ordering systems on your website.
- Gather emails from your customers — The collection of emails is going to precipitate enhanced sales as long as you communicate with these people on an ongoing basis. I like one blast per month, but you may consider releasing more for special occasions or promotions.
- The farm-to-table and local fresh wave is here to stay — Your menu needs to talk about natural, local, hormone free, organic, etc. This makes for (1) consumers having a higher quality product and, as your guests respond to your superior product, (2) commands a higher price and better margins. A great Brand Enhancer.
- Offer online reservations — Using Open Table will cause sales to go up. Simple as that. Look into it. Consider using Yelp as well.
- Allergen-friendly and gluten-free — The point here is to expand your audience. Gluten-free diners, vegetarians, vegans, etc, represent groups that you’ll need to accommodate if you want to draw more clientele. Families with members who have allergies or some food preference will appreciate you for this and return more often.
Call us at 206.679.1037 for assistance to help set these elements up and maximize your sales and profits.