Tag Archives | Local Marketing

The Not-So-Silent Killer of Restaurant Business

Bad publicity can be good for a celebrity, but not for a restaurant business.

Read these comments:

“Why do people come here?”
“The food wasn’t anything to write home about”
“The food sucks,
and the employees are treated like crap”

Pray tell me, would you come here on your date night or would you go somewhere else? I think we both know the answer. As of this writing, you can see these comments online for a restaurant that pops up as #2 in Google for Buffalo, NY.

Or how about this restaurant in Manhattan Beach, CA (came up as #3 in Google for me):

Experience, not so good. The wine was excellent. The food, not so much. The sauce on the pasta was bland, & watered down. Canned sauce from the grocery would have had more flavor. Maybe because we came early evening and their sauce was not done yet? Don’t know. The scallops were over-cooked but still good as they were fresh. Service was NOT first class at all, not even 2nd class. This is the first restaurant that was Zaggat rated that I found was not deserving. It was a waste of time & money. Very disappointed as this is a very pretty setting.”

If a friend from out of town was visiting, would you pick this restaurant?

This comment shows up on top of all other reviews and it has been there for over six months! Over all this time, this restaurant’s management could be looking at their sales reports, wondering about their slow sales this summer compared to last year and blaming the economy. The problem, as is usually the case, is right under their noses: It’s their restaurant’s online reputation.

Notice here that I am not scraping the bottom of the barrel. These are some of the most popular restaurants in their cities that have been in business for a long time.

Restaurant Business Then and Now

Marketing a restaurant business used to be a relatively simple thing: Create an ad, run it in the paper or give a chunk of cash to the Yellow Pages people, and you’re set. Even your biggest and worst mess ups didn’t usually get known outside of a small circle of people.

And boy what a different world we live in now! Restaurant marketing success today depends not as much on what you say about yourself but what other people say about you.

It doesn’t matter if these comments are based on facts or fiction, or if one of your staff happened to have a bad night, or if you had to fire an employee and now they are retaliating by smearing your restaurant business online.  It’s of no consequence if the customer was irate and unreasonable. These comments are now there for the entire world to see and judge and as a result, your restaurant business suffers.

With social media and review sites everywhere, the reputation of your restaurant business is under constant scrutiny of literally thousands would-be-guests. Some of them could be strolling down the local street and reading your restaurant reviews on their cell phone while others would be miles and miles away, on their computer, planning their trip to your city.

How is your restaurant business and your restaurant’s online reputation?

How To Create an Effective Geo-Targeted Restaurant Marketing Campaign

Local Restaurant MarketingRestaurant marketing is essentially communicating what your restaurant, cafe, bakery, pizzeria, etc has to offer to potential guests. It is a way of inciting interest and describing the unique features of your menu, of your service, and of your location. However, as valuable as  marketing can be, it presents serious issues when it comes to reaching the intended consumer.

Conventional marketing (including restaurant marketing) is all about broadcasting or printing the message where a lot of potential consumers will be able to see it, but only few will find it relevant. For greater efficiency, marketing slowly has become more centered on specific demographics, enabled largely by improvements in communication.

For instance, it is relatively easy to create restaurant marketing campaigns that focus on a particular geographic area, like advertising in a local paper. You can also target a particular “psychographic” group, such as advertising your healthy menu options on a healthy living website. However, it can still be very difficult to reach viable consumers, those that turn into guests and into food sales.

Location-based online marketing is the answer. If it’s not in place, over 90 percent of ad impressions are wasted on potential guests who are outside your geographic area. Luckily, technology has advanced to allow geo-location marketing. For instance, smartphones allow marketers to obtain device-location data and modern search engines, such as Google, enable consumers to find what they need based entirely on the geographic location they are in and what’s near it. Better targeting means better conversions and more food sales.

These are the steps to take to make a geo-targeted campaign work for you:

PICK A SPECIFIC TARGET FOR YOUR RESTAURANT MARKETING CAMPAIGN

Make sure that your campaign is targeted well to the area you operate in. Major search engines like Google, allow you to target your restaurant marketing campaigns based on City, ZIP codes, neighborhoods, or even a specific street intersection.

This way, when you advertise your coffee shop, you can be sure that most of the consumers exposed to your message are within a range that would make sense for them pay you a visit.

BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR

You can use your restaurant’s geographic location to your marketing advantage in promotions by focusing on providing consumer incentives at a hyper-local level. For instance, you could create a time-sensitive coupon to those who live within a few mile radius of your foodservice establishment.

EXPLAIN HOW TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE

With geo-location, you can also explain your location, to make it easy for your first-time guests to find you. (People are lazy and most would rather go to your competitor than spend time looking you up in the directory.) It’s very important that you provide a map. Even better is offer directions from the person’s location (walking, by car, or by public transportation).

CAPITALIZE ON THE NEW AND COOL

There some very interesting “new and cool” tools available to you as local marketer. Many coffee shops (and we can’t not mention Starbucks here), are using programs such as Foursquare and Facebook Locations to turn location into a game. Consumers can “check in” at your location, allowing you to provide incentives for consumers to visit a specific location more frequently by offering status (e.g. mayor status, badges), points, or incentives based on the number of visits (e.g. free appetizer on your fifth visit).

Geo-targeted online marketing is a key part of growing your restaurant business and brand, to attract local customers.

Local Internet Marketing is much more than just slamming together a website. The real restaurant marketing work is about becoming “findable” in multiple places when a local consumer is searching for your type of product.