Are you sure your marketing your restaurant strategically? You may have come across coupon advertisers like Groupon, online ordering websites like Just Eat and discount dining clubs like Taste Card. These are all examples of tactical marketing. I’ll explain what I mean by strategic and tactical marketing. Clearly strategy must be better than tactics? Well yes, but a good chess player or general knows how to use tactics to serve their strategy. Here’s how you can do the same.
What’s strategy and what’s tactics and why does it matter?
A great strategy does two things in particular that the other services I mentioned don’t do: it builds your brand and it builds your business by developing your customers – get them to come in the first place, return and spend more.
Brand is much misunderstood and often people think it has no value. More than just your logo or colour scheme, your brand is the reason why customers go to you rather than the restaurant next door. It’s the way in which your restaurant is good, and different from others. It’s your promise of what customers can expect when they come to you. Your marketing strategy must promote your brand exclusively; your website only mentions you, and especially not your competitors. Same with the ordering and booking system. Your marketing programme must give customers reasons to visit your restaurant and only your restaurant. Groupon, Just Eat and Taste Card promote a brand: their own brand.
Groupon, Just Eat and Taste Card have their own customers. They obviously want their customers to keep returning to them but are indifferent to who supplies the food – it could be you, it could be your competitors. A powerful marketing strategy on the other hand strengthens your customer relationship. Its focus is to get your customers to come once, come often and spend more each time. This is how great marketing delivers long term value and is strategic while the others deliver business with no long term value and are tactical.
Groupon can kill your profits
Only do a promotion if you can make a profit on it. Groupon style deals normally require a 50% discount and you pay about 50% of the remainder to Groupon. Only do it if you have a lot of spare capacity and can work within net prices that are 25% of your normal. “Customers” rarely come back. We’re working on a way to address this issue.
Online ordering and booking sites share your customers
Online ordering sites like Just Eat operate a list of restaurants in your area. Your customers are pooled with others. Let me repeat, your customers are shared with your competitors. This could be useful for new restaurants with few customers and a weak brand. A well established restaurant with a good brand and lots of customers, might be sacrificing a queen to gain a pawn. As a restaurant owner wanting to develop your brand and customers, it would be a shame to lose its value like this. By the way, if you have a Just Eat sign in your window, remove it. You are simply telling your customers to eat with your competition.
Dining clubs make it difficult to manage capacity
In principle, Dining Clubs like the Taste Card are a good way to use up your excess capacity. Unfortunately it’s difficult to keep member visits to times when you really have space capacity.
So there you go. In short, if you are going to use outsourced restaurant marketing, make sure it is a system that is builds your brand – and only your brand – and creates the most value from your customers by developing a direct relationship between them and your restaurant. If you want me to recommend such as service, please let me know.