If you want to keep your restaurant from going straight to hell, I'm giving you the 10 Commandments of restaurant marketing that you need to follow.
Watch this video, or continue reading below, for restaurant marketing help that will attract customers, increase their frequency and spend, and keep them longer.
I increased my own restaurant sales from $12,000 a month to $149,000 a month, and I want to help you enjoy all the success this crazy business can offer with the 10 Commandments of restaurant marketing.
Thou shalt not attract junk traffic. Constant discounts are going to reposition you as a discount place and that's probably not what you want. Discounts are the lazy man's way to dying old and broke in the restaurant business. In this article, this article and this article, I teach you how to drive traffic with coupons value-added offers.
Thou shalt not murder thy prices. Your menu is probably underpriced or for sure has pricing mistakes that can be easily fixed to make you more money. Even a small 5% bump will make a huge difference to your bottom line. You've taken on way too much risk, and you work way too hard to just scrape by. (In lesson 5 in my free restaurant marketing course, you're going to learn about pricing psychology and how to raise prices with zero blowback.)
Thou shalt not idolize clueless restaurant owners. When I first got my pizzeria, I started looking at what every other pizzeria around me was doing. And I started copying them. Guess what I got – the same crappy results as them. It wasn't until I literally started doing the opposite that my sales took off and I never looked back. Look around at what the busy successful restaurants are doing in your area. Don't follow the crowd. Follow the winners.
Thou shalt not worship false prophets. I came across a restaurant owner here in Las Vegas that actually loved Groupon. He said it was the most effective way he found to drive traffic. Guess what – that restaurant is no longer in business. And here's why: Groupon attracts bargain hunters that only do business with you when you are losing money. Plus, researchers from Boston University and Harvard found that Groupon users consistently rate businesses lower on Yelp. You are, in effect, losing money to attract junk traffic that rages about you online, making it harder to attract the kind of customers that you need to grow your business. Lose lose lose lose.
Thou shalt honor thy customers. You cannot win an argument with a customer. Nor will one of your employees. So don't even try. Instead, I want you to consider the cost of acquiring the customer. I want you to consider the lifetime value of a customer. In this day of Yelp, I need you to consider the value of your good reputation. Now decide if comping a meal or giving a customer their money back might not be the better way to settle a legitimate or even a trivial complaint and make damn sure your employees are on the same page. (I have some excellent tips for you to help diffuse the haters and make Yelp bring you some business in this free restaurant marketing course.)
Thou shalt steal they competitors' customers. So you're feeling a little frisky and you're running an ad to get some new traffic right. The promotion was super successful, and you are grinning ear to ear as you tell your new customers, "Bye-bye, we'll see you next time." But here's the deal. Roughly five out of seven first-timers to your restaurant will never return. Why? They are creatures of habit. In one visit does not start a new habit. They're going to wander back to one of your competitors. Interrupt that patteres. Break the old habit and get them back for the all important second visit. (That is also covered in the free restaurant marketing course.)
Thou shalt love thy customer as thyself. If you took away everything I ever knew about marketing, and only allow me to retain one thing, it would be the knowledge to use a guarantee. You see, with a guarantee, I can take any restaurant from scratch, and I can attract customers hand over fist. I can steamroll my nearest competitors. A guarantee eliminates the barrier between you and a new prospect. It makes it easy for them to try you for the first time because you are taking the risk. (This is covered in lesson two of the free marketing course.)
Thou shalt keep thy customer wholly unto thyself. It seems like lately restaurant owners cannot get rid of their customers fast enough. There's been a suicidal rush to get in on this bandwagon of Uber, GrubHub, etc. I am not going to tell you not to use these services, but you need to be aware that for the most part, your own customers are going to be the biggest users of these platforms. These services are not going to attract a horde of new customers for you, so you're going to be paying a third party to facilitate orders from your own customers and in doing so you are transferring the customer relationship to the third party provider. These guys are going to own your customers. For now the only real protection I see for restaurant owners is to have a menu pricing structure that allows you to absorb the third party fees.
Thou shalt increase thy check average. First of all, you should only up-sell if it provides your customers with more value and a better experience. But if you're like most restaurant owners, you struggle with up-selling. Your order takers are either not doing it or winging it, or the ones that are up-selling are coming off as pushy. Fact is there is a simple method. It requires no techniques, no persuasion and no arm twisting. We're talking about simple selling sentences that are anywhere between two and nine or 10 words and they work like magic because they glide right along with your guests' natural buying sequence and that's the secret. If you're not up-selling, you're leaving money on the table. (My very best and most effective selling sentences are in lesson number one of this free marketing course.)
Thou shalt keep thy customer. If you could reduce customer turnover by just a little bit, you would be swimming in a brand new pool of cash. For example, if you have an 80% retention rate and your sales are flatlined, let's say at $50,000 a month, that means that you're attracting as many customers as you're losing. Now consider the difference when you increase that retention rate by just five percentage points. The difference is profound instead of flatlining at $50,000 a month. You are still growing and now three years out you are doing $56,000 a month. That's more than $70,000 a year in additional business. (Lesson number seven in your restaurant marketing course is going to show you how to trim this number and get your sales growing again.)
If you would like to learn more about increasing restaurant sales, driving traffic, maximizing a marketing budget or anything else related to restaurant marketing, visit my YouTube channel.
You can also do something right now to increase your sales - download this free report to learn the easiest way to increase your restaurant's sales.