Tag Archives: Restaurant Marketing

Philadelphia Hospitality Industry Marketing Advice

26 Sep

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Promotional Marketing Master Pieces Are No Accident

By Stu Leventhal

Restaurant Promotion, advertising and marketing ideas are a dime a dozen. New methods and strategies of the best food and beverage marketers are hardly a secret for long since they require publicity to work. Once a new technique of promoting a hospitality venture is put into use everyone in the hospitality marketing and ad industries know about it fast. Copying a marketing genius’s promotional tactic would seem quite easy yet cloned marketing campaigns never seem to reach their peaks like the original ideas. This is because a lot more goes into the planning of a promotional master piece than is apparent. After all, the final goal is to make the piece appear as smooth, unforced and unpretentious as possible and this takes tact.

We are all familiar with those exciting times when funny, controversial or suspenseful and dramatic postings online get delightfully and un-expectantly embraced by the public then virally shared at hyper speed through all the social media platforms and thus catapulted into instant stardom and the promotional hall of fame. Duplicating those phenomena, leveraging the advertisement value of that mass promotional mania and creating word of mouth frenzy is what marketers have been attempting to do for thousands of years.

Great promotional campaigns are tailored to leverage to the max everything already going good concerning a company’s situation while negating everything that is negatively damaging the company rep in their perceived public’s eye. Thus what appears at first glance to be simply a cute and clever idea dreamed up by a marketer with a keen imagination is really a thoroughly researched and decisively planned campaign that has been carefully crafted then tested and honed then tested and reworked again and again.

Promotional master pieces are custom designed per project to touch the emotions of a specific audience and achieve a particular intended response. Attempts to clone promotional ideas are short cuts that result in the marketing strategy losing its spunky edge. Unique marketing tactics are created with accomplishing the exact specific goals of one company in mind. Powerfully performing campaigns are thoroughly prepared so they instantly grasp the attention of their targets. Promotional master pieces cannot hope to command their audience’s attention for long by rehashing old, over played, boring, borrowed and cloned marketing ideas of past campaigns no matter how successful they were since innovativeness and suave is a prime ingredient of the successful marketing piece recipe.

Today’s public does not have the time or patience to pay attention long to anything that does not have real value you can sink your teeth into. Things have to be truly cutting edge and pure quality if you expect people to go out of their way to talk them up to friends, family and coworkers. Anything less gets left in the dust.

The lack of predictability of promotional methods has miffed hospitality marketing professionals and the hospitality industry’s business experts for centuries, giving advertising and promotion as a whole a stigma of unreliability as well as a mystique to its successful Masters.

This phenomenal, overwhelming, negative and skeptical impression towards marketing, advertising and promotions has been attributed in part to the many complications of human nature itself. Meaning, since humans are for the most part very unpredictable and their motives are often difficult to understand then selling and pitching to people will always be just as unpredictable and unreliable. This myth that successful marketing is just a crap shoot, mostly luck and never ever a guarantee is reinforced by the Psychiatric fields who perpetuate the mysteries of understanding the complex human mind and predicting peoples’ behavior as being quite more complex than it needs to be! Even powerful governments plead ignorance of being able to decipher to a T what the people want!

Thus, many restaurants, bars and hospitality entertainment organizations conclude their marketing strategies and promotional department’s to be a smaller less significant factor of their business’s success or failure than their other departments such as production, product development and even human resources. These companies go on to delegate and commit less of a budget to their promotional futures and neglect their marketing efforts and divisions. This is the biggest mistake in business management today! Spending your efforts, time and money on cutting costs, coming up with innovative ideas, hiring or firing key employees, making changes to products and services or making any other major business decision without considering all the marketing implications will most likely result in counter productivity, loss of revenues and most importantly misused, valuable and irreplaceable time.

Marketing when done properly is the premier force of any hospitality business’s growth and development, expansion or change. No other department has anywhere near the influence on a business’s future than a properly run marketing department. Businesses, especially hospitality businesses, fail miserable when they do not consult their marketers before they make vital decisions. New products and services should never be considered without a proper market analysis. The new product division does not bring new ideas to the marketing department! The marketing department informs the new product division what they should be developing and working on based on their in-depth understanding of what the customers are looking for and where the potential opportunities exist for more sales.

Through marketing analysis one concludes what tweaks to make to their current products to make them more competitive, which products should be considered for replacement and which products should be prioritized for extra advertising and promotion. Pricing should always be done through the marketing department! Marketing tells you which of your other departments are producing to their potential and what departments are under producing. Through your marketing efforts and analysis you realize what direction the company needs to move in and where your priorities should be placed. Everything business wise has to be coordinated around your marketing campaigns to get maximum sales and revenue results.

Most of the cleverest promotion schemes work rarely on their own accord but that does not mean they are not good tactics. The real secret for business sales building success is in understanding and accepting that effective marketing rarely happens in a vacuum, meaning a single campaign like a radio ad is never responsible entirely for its own successes. Real profit producing mechanisms have to be coordinated to work with every aspect of a business to be successful. A company’s standing in the market place has to be considered as well as its customers’ perceptions of its products and services. What the company’s competitors are up to needs to be factored in. Technological advancements must be leveraged. A company’s past history good or bad must be incorporated into the scheme of things as marketing efforts attempt to move the company forward. The company’s perceived personality, outside factors like the current economic or political situation and a whole slew of other factors must all be taken into account.

The truth is every restaurant, bar, club or entertainment business is unique, their neighborhoods are unique, their clientele are unique, their staff is unique, their challenges and situations are unique and thus their marketing plan should be custom tailored to meet their specific special needs.

If you are confused about marketing and its role in guiding all your major business decisions or if you need some help setting up or managing your Philadelphia area hospitality company’s promotional strategy so it is coordinated to work with all your other business efforts and conforms to what is happening in your market place plus takes advantage of your Philly neighborhoods trends, contact Philadelphia Restaurant Consultant: anewtale191@live.com

*We will be happy to help you set up a clear, concise, fruitful and achievable company vision plan.

We can manage your roll out, implement your crew training and be there for you every step of the way!

Ways for Restaurants to Increase Sales

26 May

By Stuart Leventhal
First off, let’s make it clear that gaining sales does not equal gaining profit. A restaurant needs to be running on all pistons before it considers going after bringing in more sales. But, alas that is a whole other topic. For this article we are going to assume every little aspect of the restaurant you own or manage is running like fine clockwork and you feel the whole staff from front to back is ready to handle additional business. Many restaurant owners and managers think; more advertising, more promotion, more community awareness is the cure all for a slow restaurant. Wrong!
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Attracting more customers to a mismanaged poorly run restaurant is like pouring fuel on a fire. You are pointing a spot light on incompetence. Showing off your faults is never a good sales building strategy. Do you really want to brag about the fact you have a rued impatient hostess? Let’s face it, the best form of advertising for any restaurant is word of mouth. Do you want them talking about your waiters who can’t answer a simple menu question like, “Is the seafood casserole spicy?” Are the words coming out of your customers’ mouths, “Don’t eat at Julio’s!” or “The service is so slow in there.” or “Last time I ordered takeout from Chen’s, my food arrived late, cold and they forgot my brown rice!”

If those lines remind you of your restaurant, it’s time to get your act together. Don’t bother reading further, because the added traffic these tips will bring in will only add to the problems your staff can’t handle already. You think you have issues now? Wait until you see the mistakes a poorly trained crew is going to make once you double or triple their work load. Lesson #1 – Fix the problems in your restaurant and your sales will increase on their own. Customers will come back! Customers will notice the improvements and speed of service and shout your praise! Customers will dine with you more frequently! And the word of mouth will flow like magic!

Now, let’s get into the business of restaurant sales building. First we’ll talk about the basics so everyone is on the same page when we sit down to build our new sales building plan. Sales building plan? Yes, we are going to need a plan that spells out our objective, goals and each step we intend to implement. Why? Because restaurants get very busy. The best of intentions get miss laid, brushed aside, de-prioritized in a fast paced restaurant atmosphere. Also, we are going to want to delegate tasks and responsibilities out to our staff, if we really want to make an impressionable, noticeable, impact on our sales growth. Therefore, we need the plan formally written down, if we intend to hold people accountable for doing their part. We will want to track our results, so we know what is working best. Then, we can put all our efforts where we get the most back from our time, labor and money spent.

*Now, don’t bail on me just because you heard the word money! I got plenty of great advice coming for building your restaurant sales that cost you nothing but some time invested to implement.

The easiest way to start your new restaurant sales building plan is to copy and paste portions of this fine article and portions of other fine articles on this website. Share them with your team. Post the stuff you like on your walls in the break room. Pass out whole articles at your weekly and monthly team and management meetings if you wish. That is why I wrote these tips in this easy to share format.

Setting GOALS: When you make your sales plan be specific. Post the past two years sales figures for the upcoming 3 months. Leave them posted in plain sight of all the staff and management and fill in the current sales for each day, week and month right next to the last years’ figures, as you get the new numbers. Do the math and post the difference good or bad. Leave comments about why you feel the restaurant got the results it got. For example say; this went well in the back of the house but… Or, this week I saw improvement with this and our sales reflect everyone’s extra efforts. We messed up here and our sales numbers show the loss! It is important to praise and criticize everyone as needed based on whether you are meeting, exceeding or failing to achieve your posted goals. Talk about what you can improve on during your weekly meetings, shift meetings, one on one coaching and during counseling sessions

1. We obviously wish to increase the number of new customers. Attract more customers, gain more sales. This is the generally the most dominate goal of any good sales plan. Naturally most of our efforts will be dedicated to finding and finessing new potential customers to try us out. But, you should realize 80% of additional sales growth on average comes from the existing sales base. So, if you are looking for results quick, always put most of your efforts into marketing to your existing customer base. And, that leads us to our next two goals.
2. Convincing our current customers to come back more frequently. That may mean, talking our lunch regulars into trying us for diner. It may entail, developing a specially priced family pack take home menu, packed in microwavable containers with fast reheat instructions supplied.
3. Enticing our current customers to spend more. Upsell! Upsell is the big restaurant word. It means, if someone orders apple pie, are your waitresses and waiters automatically replying, “I can heat that up and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top for just 75 cents more.” Or “Would you like to add a side of our Sicilian style meatballs or our hot Italian sausage to your eggplant parmesan? How about a slice of carrot cake to go?”

It is much easier to squeeze more money out of your existing customers than it is to get new people to try out your restaurant. So, therefore, part two of this article is more geared towards teaching you how to do the harder stuff, attract new customers! But don’t forget the 80/20 rule – You will gain more bang for your buck if you go after the 80% which are your current customers. So, invest in keeping the customers you already have happy. After all, building long term customer loyalty is our ultimate goal! (Continued in part two)

*If your restaurant caters or is considering catering check out this website for great catering sales advice: http://www.cateringsalestips.wordpress.com Adding catering or expanding a restaurant’s catering services is a fantastic way for any restaurant to build sales and profit. Here, you’ll find out the effective ways to grow a strong catering business.
*If you are having trouble creating your business advertising copy and marketing text try browsing through some of the business writing tips at: http://www.anewtale.com/business.html

Building a Restaurant – Restaurant Branding – Hospitality Sales

3 May

By Stuart Leventhal

The most effective way to expand any business, especially a business as service oriented as a restaurant, bar or entertainment venue is to take the time to really care about the intended expansion. Whatever your hospitality related expansion or improvement plans are; don’t go about the change willy-nilly. Be committed!

Whether you are a restaurant that has decided to increase sales by adding a takeout service, a diner that is considering staying open 24 hours to capitalize on overnight revenues or if you are considering adding catering to your mix; you need to make your expansion plans your top priority. Everyone in the organization has to know how serious you are about the plan. Now is the time to talk the talk and walk the walk!

If you are a manager or owner of a restaurant that is fairly successful and has been in operation a number of years, with a seasoned staff then you’ve really got your work cut out for you as far as getting anyone onboard with any new idea. You and I know there is always room for improvement. Let’s assume your dinner shift does the majority of your business. For years you’ve struggled to build lunch up with little success. You’ve advertised, gave out coupons, discounted meals, dropped complimentary samples off at all the local nearby businesses; only to receive a small spurt in sales that dwindled the next week. Is it any wonder your staff is ready to throw in the towel on the lunch trade?

Restaurateurs, It’s time to go to war! And, your competitors aren’t the only enemy. No matter how you wish to expand your restaurant operation, even something as seemingly simple as adding live music on certain nights, you have to be prepared to go all out. You can’t just announce a change then forget about it. Because, that is what everyone else will do forget about it. You have to post signs all over the establishment. Someone opens a menu and an announcement about your new service or product should fall out into their lap. People driving by should see the announcement on your marque or a banner should be stretched across your awning. You need to have daily meetings with the crew about your new expansion. Discuss what everyone is doing to turn it into a success. What can we do better?

Restaurant Management 101

Praise and reward your best ambassadors of the cause. This could be giving your servers who are showing the best efforts in promoting the new service or products, 1st choice of what section of the dining floor they work. For example: Ambassador of the week for the new vegan menu could get first preference of what shifts they work all next week. Slacking employees will quickly get the message that you are serious about the new catering menu or building lunch and they will hopefully jump on board when they see the rewards you are shelling out for crew members choosing to participate whole heartedly in the promotion.

When you are trying to make a change in an established routine, you have to change the whole culture of the restaurant. That’s not easy! You need to keep the mission exciting. Create promotion specials. Have sales contests. Sales training may be needed. Don’t assume everyone knows what you want them to say to customers. Write scripts for your staff who answer the phones and great your customers at the door. Role play; you and your managers play the customer so the staff can practice on you and you can give them feedback.

Even the best running restaurant can run better. Involve all your key employees. Seek out their input. When you make a move, be decisive! Follow up. Stick to your guns and you and your organization will reap the benefits. *Special Tip – In order to become successful and permanent, any expansion of a restaurant’s services or products, must be listed on the menu (preferably on all the menus) big and bold. Your customers and employees look to the menu to define what the restaurant is. This is not the time to be cheap. Reprint the menu, whenever implementing any new change no matter what part of the restaurant it involves.