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  • 1. The Front BurnerCRANK UPYour Restaurant’s Revenue 888.594.4183
  • 2. Marketing Strategies Taking the plunge into business takes courage and a belief in yourself and your ideas. Not everyone has the self-confidence required to run a successful restau- rant. The fact that you believe in your business sense enough to work at it as hard as you do says you have something special. Otherwise you wouldn’t be putting this much time and effort into your operation. Unfortunately, the talent and vision that form the core of your restaurant are often lost in the sea of compe- tition your customers choose from every day. If they only knew what you already know about the great- est attributes of your restaurant then you would never have to worry about finding customers. This edition of The Front Burner features many ways to communicate effectively with existing customers and plots strategies for finding new ones. A marketing strategy is certainly important to the success of your restaurant, but far too often the foundation of an ef- fective campaign is overlooked. Before you commit to a marketing strategy, identify the two or three things you do really well. Those couple things should be easy to find – they’re the reasons you “Taking the plunge into get out of bed every morning and get to work. The key is to weave those bedrock ideas into the narrative that makes up your marketing campaigns. Whatever channel you decide to use for marketing your restau- rant, communicating your vision will ensure success business takes courage…” and help you connect with customers. Michael Lewis Tundra Founder
  • 3. 10 Easy Marketing Tips That WillCrank Up Your Restaurant’s Revenue.Good food, great service, and a unique concept are the fundamentals of a successful restaurant. If you don’timpress your customers with these three things, they won’t be coming back any time soon. Sending happycustomers out the door to tell their friends about their experience in your restaurant is the most effective way toget the word out.Unfortunately, word-of-mouth marketing can only get you so far. Eventually you’re going to need to cast awider net in search of customers. On the other hand, any marketing that’s more involved than your regulars tell-ing their friends about you is going to cost money – a prospect that will surely give any restaurant owner pause.Fortunately, there are ways to market yourself without busting your budget or taking away from the time youneed to run your restaurant. That’s why we decided to compile 10 easy marketing tips that will help you crankup your revenue. These strategies are designed to deliver maximum punch per dollar without taking up a lot ofyour time.Look for these Top 10 tips throughoutthis edition of The Front Burner… 1. Social Media Marketing 2. Manage Your Online Reputation 3. ROCK Your Marketing Efforts 4. Completely Change Your Menu 5. Nothing Sells Like A Good Secret 6. Serve “Fast Food” For Lunch 7. Turn Your Restaurant Into A Hot Spot 8. Harness Email & Ride The Gravy Train 9. Recharge Your Happy Hour 10. Take Your Restaurant Marketing Underground unique marketing efforts by PLUS… Is Your Kitchen FDA Compliant With New Changes To The Food Code? Controlling Insects & Pests
  • 4. Tip# Social Media Marketing In Three StepsSocial media. It’s the thing everyone is talking about in the marketing industry. Thebest part about restaurant social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is thatgetting your message out there costs you nothing but time – a precious commod-ity to be sure, but a heck of a lot cheaper than a local newspaper ad or radiospot. Already many restaurants have employed clever strategies to engage cus-tomers and generate business for their restaurant online.A social media marketing campaign, if done right, can become an effective cus-tomer making machine. It’s not easy, and will require some work. But if the rightstrategies are employed, your restaurant stands to benefit. STEP 1: FACEBOOK Facebook is probably the most popular so- cial media platform for anyone in marketing today. Does that mean sales are going to go up the minute you hit “publish” on your Face- Some Facebook Strategies:book page? Well, maybe not, but the bottom line is that having a Build a great fan page definitely can’t hurt you, and may very well help. If you As a business you’ll want to create a Facebook fan pagedon’t start bringing in loads of new customers, you’ll at least im- rather than a profile. The bad thing about a fan page is thatprove retention among existing ones. you can’t communicate with others the same way you’reMore importantly, a Facebook fan page can be a great way to used to. A fan page is much more reliant on people findingcollect information about your customers and get feedback about you and engaging you.your restaurant. You can leverage this information to connect with The good part about a fan page is that you can do a lot ofcustomers in new ways and expand your email marketing cam- customization. Create custom tabs, set up a couple RSS feeds,paigns. You’ll also have a direct line to customers, revealing what and you’ll be well on your way to making your fan page standthey don’t like about your establishment as well as what’s working out for your customers. There are countless step-by-step guideswell. to building Facebook fan pages on the web. A quick GoogleSo how exactly do you create a great Facebook page? And how search will return you more articles on the subject than youdo you start gaining fans and generating interest in your restaurant? know what to do with. STEP 2: TWITTER In the food service industry, restaurants and chefs have used Twitter to engage Here are some best practices that will help you succeed customers with content that gives them Twitter is a “micro blog” tool that al- a behind-the-scenes view of what’s hap- and get the most out of your lows users to send short 140 character pening and unique promotions that bring restaurant marketing efforts: messages to a list of subscribers. The in extra business. original goal of the site was to give Post regularly. Some Twitter users send Chefs are using the site to engage cus- out several tweets every day. You prob- friends a way to update each other tomers by giving out recipes and asking for ably don’t want to annoy your customers on what they’re doing in real time. feedback on new dishes and ingredients. with a lot of updates, especially at first. Of course, as we all know now, Twit- O t h e r restaurants are advertising meal But you should definitely choose a sched- ter has quickly become much more specials and events to draw in ule and stick with it. That way your follow- than that. Chief among the loyal customers on specific ers know when to expect an update and things Twitter has become, days. Some restaurants (hopefully) they look forward to your next besides a news distributor, a have even started one. social media site, and a busi- tweeting months be- ness communications tool is a fore the doors open for Be creative. 140 characters doesn’t popular vehicle for marketing give you a lot of space. It also doesn’t give the first time, resulting in a and branding. you a lot of time to catch someone’s at- packed opening night. 4
  • 5. STEP 3: FOURSQUARE Foursquare is part of a newer subset of the social media phenomenon that has been dubbed “hyper- local social media.” It works like this: as you patronize your favorite local haunts, you “check-in” with Four- square, which allows you to see if friends are nearby and post information about the venue you’re currently in. The more you check-in, the more “badges,” or awards, you get. For instance, you can become the mayor of a certain bar or club if you check-in the most times from that location in 60 days. Tech-savvy restaurants and bars caught wind of the mayor and otherTell everyone about your page. Foursquare badges and started ad-With a fan page you can’t just go around Facebook friending as many people vertising to this ready-made customeras you can find like you can with a regular profile. Therefore you must drive traffic base, offering free drinks and otherto your fan page in order to get some fans. The most obvious places to do this comps to the Foursquare mayors ofare on your website and in email marketing campaigns, but it would definitely their establishment. Most people hadbenefit you to explore some other options, like business cards or even your no idea what the heck a mayor was,menus. but those who did quickly spread the word to their friends, and it turned outOffer your fans something unique. to be a hot way for restaurants andOnce you’ve started to build a fan base, reward them with some sort of promo- bars to market themselves effectivelytion – a free appetizer, 2-for-1 drinks, anything to get your fans to actually come to their hippest customers.into the restaurant and spend money. The added benefit for you is that you’llbe able to gauge exactly how successful your fan page is based on how many In general the hyperlocal movementpeople use the promo you only released through Facebook. is beneficial to the food service in- dustry because it provides a real time medium through which restaurants can advertise to their customers. Fortention. Boring tweets will get deleted, is paying off? Offer a special meal deal to now, Foursquare and the inevitableguaranteed. Straight-up sales pitches will your Twitter subscribers only. Give out a copycats that are forthcoming will bealso be ignored. Instead, use colorful, cre- special code that allows them to redeem largely limited to big urban centersative language to engage your subscrib- the deal. Every time a customer uses the like New York, Chicago, and L.A., buters and draw them in. code, you know they are there because it’s not that farfetched to imagine a of your Twitter efforts. This strategy has theDo more than just sell. Yes, the ulti- hyperlocal medium of one kind or an- added benefit of making your followers other servicing communities of all sizes.mate goal here is to get people through feel special because they are the onlythe door of your business. But if all you do is ones getting the deal.sell, sell, sell, you’ll start seeing unsubscribenotices pouring in. Throw your customers afew juicy bones before you set the hook.Give out a few recipes. Tell a story aboutthe behind-the-scenes action. Ask for Engage customers withopinions on a new dish. Get them looking content that gives them aforward to your next tweet. Then hit ‘em behind-the-scenes view. Tip#with a dinner special.Customize offers. Managing Your OnlineWant to know how much all your hard work Reputation 5
  • 6. “we’re a healthy alternative to other fast casual chains.”You’d think finding a place to eat lunch in a health nut haven likeBoulder, Colorado that featured simple, all-natural ingredientsmade from scratch for a good price would be pretty easy. Boul-der residents Anthony Pigliacampo and Rob McColgan realizeda couple years ago that finding good, affordable, healthy foodprepared fresh and fast was much harder than it should be. Thetwo friends then set out to fix this problem.Their solution is Modmarket, a fast casual restaurant located inthe heart of Boulder’s 29th Street Mall. The menu and the foodfollow a simple set of principles laid out by Anthony and Robwhen they started. Even more impressive than Modmarket’s fresh and tasty menu is their extremely savvy marketing campaign. The restaurant is SERVE FOOD THAT… a great example of how a great concept can expand quickly Tastes great with the help of some well executed strategies. Modmarket’s founders are skillful practitioners of many of the Is made from scratch marketing strategies you’ll find in this edition of The Front Burn- Features simple ingredients that er, but one of their most successful campaigns comes from an anyone can recognize innovation all their own: using receipts as advertising space. “We view the receipt as an asset,” says co-founder Anthony Is served quickly Pigliacampo, “We’ve taken what was going into the trash Is affordable, and… and turned it into a marketing tool.” All Modmarket receipts list nutritional information for each item the customer ordered, Wouldn’t turn you into the guy from not only placing the restaurant ahead of the curve on menu “Super Size Me” if you ate it every day. labeling but also reinforcing Modmarket’s message: we’re a healthy alternative to other fast casual chains.The crazy thing is how revolutionary this simple credo has turnedout to be. Modmarket’s daily offering of fresh salads, brick oven “People like the fact that it’s transparent. We’ve had peo-pizza, gourmet sandwiches, and made-from-scratch soups has ple come in just because they’ve heard about it,” Anthonybeen an instant hit with the Boulder locals, and founders Antho- says of the nutrition information on receipts. But Modmarket’sny and Rob are hard at work on a second location in Denver use of all that white space on customer receipts doesn’t endthat opened at the start of the year. there. At the bottom of each receipt is a bold black arrow pointing to the right that reads “Turn Me Over.” On the back is a limited-time promo giving the customer 10% off their next order, provided it happens in the next two days. Read more about ModMarket’s unique marketing efforts at 303.440.0476 BOULDER DENVER 1600 28th Street 1000 S Colorado Blvd Boulder, Colorado Denver, Colorado
  • 7. Managing YourTip# Online ReputationEveryone’s got an opinion! And in the internet age, everyone can anddoes voice their opinion online. So do youhave any idea what peopleare saying online about your 84% of Americanrestaurant? This is not to say consumers say onlinethat the opinion machine driv- reviews affect theiren by the internet is all bad. It decisions on productsis, however, a decidedly dou- and brands.ble-edged sword. On the onehand, positive reviews and feedback com-ing from your happy customers can bringnew customers in droves. On the other, onejerk who may or may not have actually had a bad experiencecan pick up the megaphone and start screaming nasty thingsabout your restaurant.HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO MANAGE YOUR REPUTATION:1. LISTEN TO WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING. You can’t managesomething if you don’t know what you’re dealing with. So tunein to the internet and start listening. Some places to start: Yelp,OpenTable, and UrbanSpoon are just a few of the myriad web-sites that post restaurant reviews. Don’t forget about the socialmedia behemoths either: you should be on Twitter and Face-book anyway, talking about your restaurant, but if you’re not, gothere today and get started!2. RESPOND TO YOUR CRITICS AND THANK YOUR FANS. Theinternet is all about conversation. You’ve listened. Now it’s timeto answer. No matter how you respond, do it with a healthy doseof common sense. All the things that annoy you about people ata dinner party are the same things that are going to annoy yourcustomers online. So avoid them.3. TAKE THE INITIATIVE. Don’t let the naysayers define yourrestaurant’s reputation online. If you’re not offering an alternatenarrative, then people will start to think everything they readabout you is true. Here’s where Twitter and Facebook come in.These services are free. These services are popular. These servicesare also considered culturally important. Take the time to learnhow to use them and then start talking about how great yourrestaurant is. You’ll be amazed how many people want to listen.All this costs you is your time, and the potential for new customerdevelopment is virtually unlimited.4. GATHER INTELLIGENCE. This goes hand in hand with Step 1,but you can’t really gather effectively until you’ve started theconversation that follows from Steps 2 and 3. Once you’ve es-tablished your own presence online, you can start to really learnexactly who your customers are and what they want. This is therevered Holy Grail of marketing: knowing customers better thanthey know themselves. You can achieve this through effectiveonline reputation management.
  • 8. How To ROCK YourTip # Marketing Efforts Denver based Smashburger, an emerging fast casual chain, has shown just how effective tapping into the local music scene can be for a new restaurant. The company’s Rock Your City program encourages local bands to submit their videos via YouTube prior to the grand opening of a new location. Smash- burger then selects the best applicants and posts their videos to the company website so that fans can vote on the best one. The winners get to play at the new location on opening day in exchange for free burgers plus a local radio broadcast. If you’ve got the space and an inclination for live music, keep these tips in mind before you rock out your own establishment: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE BAND’S EXISTING INCORPORATE LIVE MUSIC INTO YOUR OWN MARKETING EFFORTS. Any band even remotely MARKETING EFFORTS. Include links to YouTube serious about their prospects will have at least a clips of the bands that are going to perform in preliminary marketing effort online. And since both your establishment on your website. Post live you and the band want people to show up for their music schedules throughout your restaurant gig in your restaurant, this is a great opportunity for and email your customers when their favorite you to advertise to the band’s fans through their bands have a gig. existing online presence. Live music is a great way to connect with LET YOUR CUSTOMERS TELL YOU WHO THEY your customers and turn them into reg- WANT TO HEAR. Smashburger’s strategy of taking ulars. It doesn’t take nearly as much submissions and then allowing fans to vote for the work as you might think, and the payoff winning gig is the perfect way to get the most mile- in new business can make it more than age out of a live music gig before the band ever a worthwhile endeavor. steps foot on the stage.Tip# Completely Change Your MenuIn recent years smart restaurateurs have turned the psychology Place the items that fall into best seller and high margin groupsof perusing a menu into a science designed to get customers in the prime locations at the top and bottom of your app, entréeordering your best menu items on a consistent basis. and dessert lists. Place high margin items in theHERE’S HOW TO GET STARTED OPTIMIZING YOUR MENU: top right of the menuDROP DOLLAR SIGNS. Anyone who has sat in a res- and lower margin itemstaurant trying to decide what to order is a liar if they tell you in the lower left as well. they don’t look at the price for help in making The customer’s eye will a decision. So if every customer is going to be track to the upper right looking at that number beside menu items, you first, giving items placed might as well make it as appealing as possible. there a much higher viewing percentage. A study by the Culinary Institute of America showed that menus without the symbol “$” MASTER THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY.or the word “dollars” saw an increase in sales of over 8% perperson. That’s enough to make anyone scrambling to get the When someone looks at a menu, they will inevitably comparewhite out! prices. That’s where the Theory comes in. More often than not, customers will choose a middle-of-the-road option. The trick is toSTRATEGICALLY PLACE BEST SELLERS AND define “middle-of-the-road” for your customer.MONEY MAKERS. Customers scan lists of appetizers, en- That’s why a smart restaurateur will create one entrée that is ri-trees, and desserts in a predictable way. Naturally, they look diculously expensive – absolutely and shamelessly high end. Youat the top item first. Maybe not so logically, they check out the may never sell a single one, but it doesn’t matter. That unafford-very last item second. Then a customer will usually go to the able entrée will give your customers a compass by which theysecond item from the top, then second from bottom, until they will judge the rest of the menu.get to the middle.NOW THAT YOU KNOW THIS, TAKE THE MENU ITEMS OFEACH CATEGORY AND SPLIT THEM UP INTO GROUPS:
  • 9. Tip# Nothing Sells Like A Good Secret It all started as an attempt to perk There are some complications for independent restaurants. up January sales. If you’re in Every state has rules for sweepstakes promotions, and it’s the restaurant business, you probably not very cost effective to give away a Caribbe- know how quiet January an vacation. Additionally it can get complicated decid- is. To combat that trend ing how to value different prize levels and how to distribute Houlihan’s, a well-known them evenly. casual dining concept That doesn’t mean your restaurant can’t implement a se- based in Kansas City, MO, cret envelope type campaign, especially if you make it a decided to play Secret raffle. Instead of a sweepstakes, hand out raffle numbers to Santa during the holiday customers and then collect their numbers when they come season by giving customers back a second time. Drop those numbers into a hat and a “secret envelope.” hold a drawing on a set day. There’s a good chance you’ll In every envelope was a prize collect a lot of numbers the day you hold drawing. – and some envelopes hadMake sure you have sweepstakes-worthy prizes, like No matter how you decide to implement a secret envelope campaign, make sure it gets picked up on the internet andsome prizes with real a Caribbean vacation. Others the local media. The best part about a campaign that has value to them. contained Houlihan’s gift cards an air of mystery to it is its potential to go viral. Make sure you for different amounts. The catch take advantage of this tendency to the fullest.was that to redeem the prize, the customer had to return for a mealin January. Also make sure you have some prizes with real value to them. Naturally you can’t afford to give away a CaribbeanThe response caught everyone at Houlihan’s by surprise. The secret vacation, but you should focus on variety and include someenvelope promo added an element of adventure for the customer big prizes with a lot of value. Nobody will care if all you givethat really drove excitement. Sales soared, a lot of buzz was gener- away are $10 gift cards to eat at your restaurant.ated, and soon Houlihan’s decided to make the secret envelopepromo a regular twice-a-year event. Tip# Serve Fast Food For Lunch “Fast food” is a successful promotion more than one national chain has used to grab new customers: QUICK LUNCHES FOR PEOPLE ON THE GO. It works like this: Step 1 Guarantee your customers they’ll get their lunch in 15 minutes or less after they order from a limited lunch special menu or it’s FREE. Step 2 Make sure lunch is served in 15 minutes. Weekday lunches can be a hard shift to watching the clock tick while you scram- If you get busy enough to be forced into nail down for any restaurant. Sometimes ble to get their food out. That’s why you’ve giving away a couple meals here and it’s busy, sometimes it’s completely dead. got to make sure this baby doesn’t back- there, then consider your speed lunch One thing is certain, however. Most peo- fire on you. To start, stick to high margin, promotion a success. That’s why you keep ple are at work and are busy. They want easy-to-prepare favorites. That way you the menu to a limited number of high mar- to know they can get in and out of a res- can price them aggressively and know gin specials. No one will be disappointed taurant quickly without having to worry that your line can whip them up quickly when their food arrives two minutes too about being late for whatever it is they even if it gets hectic out there. late. need to do next. Guaranteeing a quick lunch is a great way to let your customers Turn Your Restaurant Tip# know you understand their busy schedule and are ready to meet their needs. Into A Hot Spot Customers love the idea of getting any- thing for free, and rest assured - they’ll be
  • 10. Tip# Turn Your Restaurant Into A Hot SpotTurning your restaurant into a hotspot is Make electrical outlets scarce. Boost Lunch Salesrelatively easy and has proven to help When WiFi hotspots were first brought Up To 8%boost lunch sales by as much as 8%. It also in to restaurants, many owners wor-encourages customers to come in during ried that patrons would turn intothat extremely slow period between lunch serial “table campers,” hangingand dinner, and helps facilitate business out for hours on end without or-meetings, which can translate into some dering anything more than agood sales for your establishment. cup of coffee and surfing the net. The reality has been that theIf you are considering setting up vast majority of customers do nota WiFi hotspot in your restaurant, overstay the standard table turn-keep a few key things in mind: over time, however, the best wayGive away internet service for to ensure this is to make sure theyfree. First of all, that’s what most other can’t plug in their laptops.hotspots do, and so your customer al- Create separate networks forready expects to get service for free. Sec- Carefully consider who you want to tar- customers and internal use. Justondly, you’ll be increasing sales and cus- get with your WiFi service and what kind because you already have an internettomer loyalty by giving away free internet. of customer is likely to use it. Obviously, a network set up for your business’ comput- fine dining atmosphere targeted towardsPassword protect the network. ers doesn’t mean you should make that couples out on dates doesn’t jibe well withHave servers give out the password to same network available to customers. a WiFi service. On the other hand, if that’spatrons when they are seated. This helps The last thing you want is some creative your dinner crowd but you want to jumpprevent people from neighboring build- patron getting in to your POS system or into the business lunch market, advertisingings from pirating your connection and other important information through your a WiFi network could make a lot of sense.slowing it down, and you can at least limit network.access to paying customers at the same WiFi isn’t for every restaurant concept.time. Harness Email & Ride the Gravy Train Tip # Email marketing is usually something most people associate with retail, but it can be a very effective marketing tool for restaurants as well. Email is a great way to reach your customers because it’s version rate. Does a 10% off coupon on any meal work better cheaper to send than print advertisements and much easier to than a buy one, get one free drink during happy hour deal? manage as well. If done right, email can quickly become one The only way to know for sure is to get customers who heard of the most effective ways for you to about the deal through your email connect with your customers. Don’t send emails unless it’s requested campaign to use a code when re- deeming their discount. However, there are definitely some Offer something every time you send an email do’s and don’ts when it comes to email Use a proper email marketing sys- marketing: Track conversions tem. Don’t try to send emails out Use a proper email marketing system from your Hotmail account. For Don’t send emails unless it’s requested. one thing, it looks unprofessional. Sending unsolicited email is also known For another, you will get labeled as as SPAM, and we all know how annoying that is. That’s why the spam sooner or later. There are a variety of options out there. best way to collect email addresses is to offer a little something in return and get your customer to volunteer their email address. Make sure you do your research first. The most important thing to remember when it comes to email Offer something every time you send an email. The hard truth is marketing is to experiment. Best practices only take you so far. that your customer really doesn’t want to be bothered reading Try different types of offers and presentations until you find the an email about a restaurant. What they do want know is when one that gets the most customers in the door. This is also why your happy hour is and what days you offer specials. Don’t send tracking is so important. If you can’t tell if you’re having a busy an email unless you have something to offer. Otherwise you’re Tuesday night by chance or because of last week’s email, then just clogging up an already busy email inbox. you can’t improve and refine your campaigns. Track conversions. Use coupon codes or some other system to track the success of your email marketing campaign. Try differ- ent types of offers and see which ones have the highest con-
  • 11. Tip# Recharge Your Happy HourThese aren’t the happy hours you might remember from five Once you’ve got ‘emyears ago. It isn’t just a couple domestic beers on tap for $2 any-more. Many restaurants are taking their happy hour all out, with in the door, keep ‘em!special tapas style menus at bargain-basement prices and pre-mium cocktails for $5. Happy hour has also gotten much longer,from 2-3 hours to 4-5 hours of deals.If you’re considering adding a happy hour or spicing up the one you’ve got, keep a few key factors in mind:Happy hours should make the customer happy. These days, yourcustomers aren’t looking for a dollar off a domestic beer. Theywant more, and they’re getting it as restaurateurs continue tofight for business. Make your happy hour a smokin’ deal if youreally want to ratchet up the buzz and the traffic.Create a special menu. There’s no need to lose your butt on yourdinner apps just to stay competitive. Take your highest marginapps and entrees and turn them into smart, fun, finger-style dish-es that can be prepared fast and efficiently, preferably with amargin you can’t lose on.Spend some money advertising. If you’re changing up the menu Once you’ve got ‘em in the door, keep ‘em! Customers areand slashing drink prices, you need volume. You’re not going to there because you’ve gotten their attention with some goodget volume if you don’t get the word out. Start with your regu- deals. There’s never been a better opportunity to get themlar customers and then hit the rest of the market with whatever to stay. Use happy hour menus to advertise dinner specialsyou’ve got (and whatever you can afford): email marketing, lo- and train your staff to drop some great deals on happy hourcal ads, flyers, etc. patrons before they leave. At the very least, they may come back for dinner another time after learning your deals don’t end at 7 pm.
  • 12. Take Your Restaurant MarketingTip # Underground“Underground fine dining” is a trend that is spreadingthroughout the U.S. like a fire in 60 MPH winds.It started inSan Francisco,where a chef What is underground dining? It can take many forms, from sumptuous sevenknown only as course meals served in an abandonedThe Dissident warehouse to super-secret, invite-onlyChef launched seats in a chef’s home kitchen. Thea series of common threads binding this move- ment together is five star cuisine servedevents known in a novel environment, prix fixe, and aas Sub Culture limited number of lucky invitees.Dining. Social media has also played a huge role in the success of the movement, with many underground chefs posting coded messages on Twitter, Facebook, and even Craigslist informing members where the next event will take place. The combination of superb food and a sense of exclusivity and adventure has fueled the success of underground din- ing. For traditional restaurants, the phe- nomenon has raised the bar of diner ex- pectations. On the other hand, there is incredible opportunity here to do some- thing exciting and fun that will market your restaurant well and help you ex- pand your culinary horizons. Some ideas for taking your restaurant underground: Theme nights. No, don’t put up a couple plastic palm trees and call it Gil- ligan’s Island. Transform your restaurant into something completely different. Dress your staff differently. Serve some unique specials and really take things to the next level. Make your regulars feel like they’ve never been in your restau- The ultimate take-out. Abandoned warehouses? Defunct wine cellars? Just because those underground chefs have start- rant before. ed making weird places cool places for eating doesn’t mean Interactive dining. Your best cus- you have to be stuck in your restaurant for all time. tomers probably have a little chef envy Take what you do, sign up 50 or 100 of your best customers, and hidden somewhere deep inside, and put on a prix fixe meal extravaganza in some cool, quirky place it’s just dying to get out. Help them con- outside your restaurant. If it can work for a rebel chef it can work nect with their inner chef by putting on for you, and your customers will love the unique experience. an event in which your customers par- ticipate in the preparation of a prix fixe The underground dining movement has spread across the coun- dining event put on by your restaurant. try so rapidly that it has quickly become mainstream. Incorporat- This is the latest and hottest trend in un- ing a few exclusive underground events of your own into your derground fine dining, and foodies ab- repertoire is the perfect way to build solid relationships with your solutely love the opportunity to live like very best customers while also creating buzz about your restau- a chef for an evening. rant in the local community.
  • 13. Effective restaurant marketing doesn’t have to be expensive marketing. In fact, the best kind of marketing you’ll do for your restau- rant is the kind that doesn’t require a big check up front. In the competitive environment restaurants find themselves these days, big spending on marketing is almost surely out of reach for all but the very largest chains. For the rest of us, strategies like customer engagement through social media marketing (p. 8), creative promotions like secret envelopes (p. 26) and hot happy hours (p. 46 ) are a much more effective (and affordable!) way to reach customers and keep the dining room full. Focusing on affordable marketing solutions doesn’t mean you can’t harness the power of technology. Using Wi-Fi to pump up slow afternoon business (p. 32) and email mar- keting to reach your customers directly (p. 39 ) when they aren’t dining in your restaurant are two great examples of ways technology can be put to work. Whatever tactics you incorporate into a marketing strat- egy for your restaurant, make sure you track the results as accurately as possible. Only by testing strategies, measur- ing results, and then continuing with those that work and discarding ones that don’t will you be able to settle upon the most effective marketing tactics for your restaurant. TIPS OVERVIEW1. Social Media Marketing 6. Serve “Fast Food” For Lunch2. Manage Your Online Reputation 7. Turn Your Restaurant Into A Hot Spot3. ROCK Your Marketing Efforts 8. Harness Email & Ride The Gravy Train4. Completely Change Your Menu 9. Recharge Your Happy Hour5. Nothing Sells Like A Good Secret 10. Take Your Restaurant Marketing Underground LIKE WHAT YOU LEARNED HERE? FOLLOW US! KNOWLEDGE IS {FREE}The Back Burner A restaurant blog Learn Renew Manage Market Protect FollowGo to Go to