20 Ideas for Restaurant Marketing



Any marketer can tell you that you not only need to find new customers, but you need to increase sales to your current customers … you need them to come back regularly, to bring their loved ones to eat too, to recommend you to their friends, and to spread the word that you serve the Best _______ in Town!
Here are 20 Ideas for Restaurant Marketing that will deepen your relationship with your current customers and help you entice the new ones to keep coming back for more.
Utilize the power, reach and low cost of social media … especially Facebook & Twitter.
1. Today’s Specials: Let your customers know that they can easily find out the daily specials on your facebook page or via twitter … no need to call you and ask. If you have a live facebook and/or twitter stream on your website, then the special will automatically show up there too.
2. Menu Changes: An easy way to let your customers know that you’ve changed things up and keep them in the loop.
3. Chef’s Tips: Become a resource for your customers and help them out in their own kitchen with tips on time-saving, food freshness, food prep, complimentary food combos … whatever your chef can dream up that might be useful information. Have a Weekly Recipe for home cooked meals that you promote via your blog and social media.
4. Social Only Discounts: Reward your customers for interacting with you via social media and offer them exclusive discounts with the proper code that was posted/tweeted. Make sure you put something like: Today Only, This Week, 48 Hours, etc.
5. Online to Offline Social Gatherings: Invite groups from Facebook and Twitter to have real world socials at your restaurant … be sure to get all their facebook names and twitter handles so you can thank them for hanging out at your place afterwards. Be sure you give them one of your social-only discounts too.

 

 

Read the other 15 more ideas here 20 Ideas for Restaurant Marketing

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Restaurant Promotion Idea #18 – Publish and Give out Recipe Books

Create a Recipe Book of your Signature Dishes



recipe bookOne way you can promote your new menu is to publish a recipe book of your signature dishes. Famous chefs have been doing this to promote themselves and their creations for quite some time. Those that had the chance to market their recipe books abroad also attracted tourist to venture to their outlet from afar. Most restaurants don’t like giving out their recipes fearing that people will open another food outlet close by using their recipes or their guest will be able to cook the dish at home so they won’t be dining in your outlet. So what if you lose a few customers, but cooking is not about exactly following the recipe, its about passion. That’s why most of the time how much you may follow the recipe to its minor details, the dish won’t taste the same as Chef So and So prepared. So don’t worry. Go ahead give out recipe books of your signature dishes. Create a BUZZ. The recipe books will normally end up on coffee tables or on the magazine shelf. People will suggest you sell your book but if your chef is not as famous as Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver, you will have a large inventory on recipe books collecting dust. Give it out free maybe with every purchase of two main course. On weekends do simple cooking lessons to promote your book. Most people wish they could recreate at home the dish that they had in your restaurant or their favourite dish. They will sure to take back your Restaurant Recipe Book.

Put large pictures of beautiful food pictures between your recipes and your recipe book will end up on the coffee table thus promoting your restaurant to their friends too. Put a picture of the front of your restaurant, so people can easily identify your place when they pass by. Inside at the first and last page make sure you put your details like address, email address, website, opening hours and telephone number. Also add a location map with GPS coordinates to make it trouble free to come to your place. People will avoid a place if its too much trouble to locate no matter how much good reviews they get.

There’s an e-how page on how to get your recipe book published just click here. Get Recipe Book Published

 

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A Simple Approach to Great Customer Service from Pike’s Place Fish Market

Customer Service Lessons from Fish Sellers



I came across this book on display at a group team building activity in my former hotel. This Team Building company brings lots of different corporate groups to our hotel. This particular group was learning about providing Great Customer Service. The book looked like a children story book similar to the cover of “Who Moved my Cheese”. It even had a boring cover with just the word “Fish” and a drawing of a fish on it. So I just passed it by. Yes I am guilty of Judging a Book by its Cover. 
Then lately my present boss, highlighted of about Customer Service and how we can try to make the work more fun even for work that is boring and mundane. He highlighted about the Pike’s Place Fish Market in Seattle, America that is famous. People go there not only to buy fish but also to see the antics of the staff there. He said that there is even a motivational book written about this place. I remembered this book and got it. Like most books in this lens, its a simple to understand and a fun read. The book shares with you how to boost your employee morale and thus increases your revenue.

Seattle- Monday Morning
The story starts with an introduction on how a First Guarantee Financial supervisor named Mary Jane Ramirez life changed after the death of her husband within a year of moving to Seattle. And how she reluctantly accepted a promotion to manager of the dreaded third floor. A department which is the joke of the other departments in the bank. A place that everyone wishes they didn’t need to come in contact with. Some department managers say that the third floor is able to suck the life out of you. Working there she realized why people dreaded coming to third floor. It was due to staff doing everything slowly. She then pondered on how she can bring life to the third floor. She noticed that the job was boring, so she needs to make the job exciting.
One day to avoid hearing negative comments about her new department during lunch breaks. She normally goes for lunch by the waterfront, but today she happens to take a turn towards the market. Here is where she finds the world different from what she knows. She finds the Famous Pike Place Fish Market. She is amazed at the energy of the people selling fish there. They seem to enjoy their work. In between the chaos she happens to chance upon Lonnie, one of the workers there. Lonnie offered to explain how she can use the Fish Market’s strategy in her workplace. The very next day, during her lunch break she rushes to meet up with Lonnie. He explains that all jobs are boring. Then he goes on to say the first strategy that makes the Pike Place different from the other fish markets, the first strategy is as follow. The first strategy is “There is always a choice about the way you do your work even if there in not a choice about the work itself” 

Choose Your Attitude 
Lonnie shares with Mary Jane how he and his friends changed their attitude when they come to work everyday. Everybody thinks working in a dreary,wet and cold fish market can be a difficult job but Lonnie and his friends come to work with the right attitude. With this thought in her mind, Mary Jane went back to work and confronted her boss on what was commented by the big bosses in the meeting. Her boss then gave her a recording of the meeting. Mary Jane started to notice that by changing her attitude, she in turn changed her surroundings. Everything started to fall in place and she plan to bring this same attitude to work on Monday morning. She makes a note that she have to change her attitude first before she can change others. On Monday morning she calls for a meeting with her staff and highlighted the concerns of the VP and how he referred to the third floor as toxic energy dump. After her talk, she found out her staff wanted to change but they needed a push. She saw some improvement in their attitude.

Play 
The second ingredient was what kids do best and we forget to do as we go older which was PLAY . Lonnie teaches that the fish market uses play in their daily work and with that they enjoy their daily job. The benefits of using play in our daily work life is productivity improves, there is a low turn over, teamwork and friendships. This I noticed in my present job, I am so afraid in failing or looking bad to my bosses. I didn’t enjoy myself therefore I felt work was boring. Even in my home life, me and my other half used to be playful but lately we both became serious and had a lot of arguments. So now I changed my attitude and played more at work and at home.

Make Their Day 
The third ingredient to great customer service was to include your customers in your play. This will give a lasting impression to your customer. People will always remember something unique that they have done. Include your customers but don’t go overboard.

Be Present 
The last ingredient is to be present. This is an important ingredient that I am trying to teach my managers. A manager have to be present in the restaurant. He have to be seen talking and showing concern about the food and beverages served. I learnt this technique from a manager in my former place. There we had a very slow kitchen, where food normally comes out after 1 hour. What most people do is to normally hide in the kitchen. So naturally we received a lot of complains. But what one new manager did was to go from table to table talking and assuring the customer the food will be out. He made sure the food came out fast and hot. He keeps telling the staff if the food is served steaming hot, then the customer will know that the kitchen is slow. If its served cold then the customer will think we were slow in pickup

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Learning by Watching Television

Importance of planning in restaurant business or any business.


Strategy

Well this post is not a Restaurant Promo Idea but an example on the importance of palnning in everything we do.
I feel everyone has heard this mantra at a point of their life. The mantra goes like this “If you want to succeed in life, you need to do something you are passionate about“. Mine is the Food and Beverage. So much so that my other half says that she is the second wife, my job is my first wife. Thats true. I can’t stop working. When I am eating out, I always observe what the wait staff do, how food is presented and so on. Even when we stay in hotels, I like to wake up early and walk around the hotel. My wife always say when we are on holiday why can’t I leave my work at home. Even the shows I like to watch are related to the Food and Beverage field. Nowadays after assuming a management position my playlist have increased. I like shows that are related to the management and also marketing field. One such show is the Apprentice reality show with Donald Trump. I not only like to see how they market or complete their projects. You can also get some management and leadership lesson from these type of shows especially from the boss Donald Trump.
Recently AXN started a new Apprentice Series based in Asia. Its on every wednesday and is called of course “Apprentice Asia”. The boss here will be Tony Fernandez. Tony Fernandez is really an inspirational guy. From being in the music industry he bought a failing airline for only RM1 (with a heavy debt attached to it and turn it into one of the best low cost airlines. You can read something about him here My Heroes- People who have inspired me.
Well lets go back with the opening episode of Apprentice Asia. The teams were divided by gender, each team was given the task of selling fish at a market. The team with the highest profit margin wins the challenge. Should be a simple task for a bunch of professionals but they failed misserable. The ladies team lost about RM100 and the men’s team lost RM600.
We will review why the men lost. The main word was STRATEGY.
They didn’t sit down and plan their strategy. When they arrive at the market they quickly set up stall. They didn’t do a market survey, therefore they didn’t know whether they were selling higher or lower. They let the buyers who is very savvy with fish prices dictate the price. They didn’t do a price list based on a profit margin, therefore they sold at a lower price. One of the participants started calling customers eventhough they were not ready. Even Sun Tzu has something to say about planning, its from the first chapter called “Laying Plans”.26. “Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.”
From this show, you will see the importance of planning especially when doing a menu. Even the simplest task like selling fish needs to carefully planned. In a previous post I have elaborated the steps in creating your menu.

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How to Market your Menu

How to Market your New Menu




Menu-front-page-150x150So you have created your restaurant menu, now you have to market it. You have to let people out there know about your menu and your chef. You need to create a buzz and you need to keep advertising even though you have been long in the market. You might think that you are already well known but with all the new products flooding the market these days, customers might miss you out. That’s why big brands like KFC, McDonalds and other fast food chains spend millions on advertisements yearly. Eventhough people know them. Below are some ways that I use to promote my menu. Hope its of some help.

1. Advertise your menu

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The first and important thing you have to do is to advertise in the mainstream media that you have a new menu.You may need to fork out some money but this will help to create awareness to your restaurant. As mentioned earlier even big restaurants do it.These will include advertisements in newspapers, flyers, banners and brochures. You can also seek help from your staff to help you hand out the flyers around town. My staff was happy to do it for me. If you have a higher budget you can advertise on the radio or tv. Make sure you write something interesting or use an eye catching pictures. Try to go away from the norm, otherwise people will pass it by cause its just another advertisement.

2. Invite the local media to taste your new menu

You can advertise in the newspaper or magazines as mentioned above. You can also go a step further by inviting some reporters to sample your menu. It is always well worth considering inviting the media to your restaurant. To do this you must be really sure that you are ready. You wouldn’t want to make a fool of yourself to the people who is going to write about you. You need to put your best foot forward. I suggest you run your menu for one month to work out any hiccups that might occur before calling the press. When you are ready, then only call the press. If you are inviting only a few media people then call up some friends to dine at your place, so the place will look good not like a haunted restaurant.

3. Invite your local bloggers.
These days it’s not only the professional food critics that people listen to for advice. Consumers search the internet on information on your place. A recent survey that was done by the hotel I work of how people got to know about our hotel was 45% said that they knew about us from the internet, 40 % was from friends and 4% from the newspaper and magazines. These will show you the power of the internet. Bloggers have their own set of followers and these followers listen to them. Look around at websites of local bloggers. A good way to start is to search for blogs about your competitors, follow them and see what they write. Whether it suits your style. Also note how many folllowers they have. But a word of caution most bloggers write the truth because they have a reputation to uphold to their followers. If your item is not good, don’t feature it or you might get some nasty reviews. Once you get a positive review, you can share it with your customers, post it on your site and on your blog and Twitter and Facebook pages.

4. Pictures sell.
In my former hotel where I worked, we created menus with pictures in it. After printing the menus, I used the pictures and created posters of individual food items. Each food item had a catchy tag line like “Sinful Pleasures” for desserts, “What a Hunk of Beef “ for beef burgers and “Get Curried Away” for curry dishes. We noticed that customers is more likely to order a dish when he or she sees a picture. So when we needed to clear a slow moving item, we just put a poster of the item. But you need to take mouthwatering shots of your food. Search the net for ideas on mouthwatering images. Follow suit.

5. Upload on your Facebook, Twitter or othe social sites.
Nowadays most business are using the social media like Facebook or Twitter to promote their company or products. If you don’t have a Facebook sites its best to create one. Its really easy. You must put important information under the Info tab which includes your restaurant’s location, directions, hours of operation and Web address. You can even put your menu in your facebook site. You also need to let your customers know that you have a Facebook site that they can be friends with. This is done by giving out cards with your Facebook address out to everyone. Apart from that you need to also keep your site updated and attractive. Here is when you can get more creative, with the help of the pictures. You can upload the pictures on your site every two days. Do this after you have uploaded your menu. You can feature not just pictures of your dishes, but also the recipe or a video of the chef demostrating how to cook the dish. You can also feature interviews with your customers. Constantly add interesting things, not only trying to sell your product. If you have interesting article on your Facebook page, people will be interested to be friends with.

6.Email
Even though emailing out newsletters or product update is nothing new within the internet world, it is still a great way to build awareness of your new menu to existing and new customers. You won’t have to worry about spamming if your customers give you their email address. Normally when someone has given you their email, they are already interested in your place. This gives you a chance to entice them with special offers or highlight to them your new menu. I have wrote in my post “Restaurant Promo Ideas #6- Collect Mailing Address ” on ways to get email address from your customers.

7. Create Videos
The use of videos in marketing is still largely underestimated. There is a huge audience on sites like YouTube. Imagine nowadays an aspiring singer can land a huge contract by just a music video on You Tube. But video marketing can also be used as a restaurant marketing tool. You can post your Chef in action, a tutorial on how to set a table or prepare a cocktail. Don’t forget to add your link at the bottom. If you video is good and it might go viral and then alot of people will know about your restaurant.

These are some of the ways of promoting your menu. If you located at a busy intersection you can hand out sample of your food for people walking by. Do dropby for more Restaurant Promo Ideas.

 

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