Restaurant Inefficiencies

Yesterday I went with my wife to meet some friends in the bar of a restaurant. It was Friday night and, although the crisis, the bar was packed. Perhaps because it was 5:15 p.m.: Happy Hour time.

The bar was just next to (and open to) the, restaurant, which was almost empty, just two tables were busy. So we went around trying to find our friends but they weren’t there yet. One restaurant manager came to us and told us that if wanted to enjoy the Happy Hour, we needed to wait in line. There was already a line of people forming by the entrance.

I politely asked the manager why they didn’t use the restaurant space, since it was empty and was still too early for dinner anyway. They could sit people there and tell them that happy hour will finish at 6 p.m. (which it did) and after that time they needed to leave the restaurant area and relocate to the bar if tables were needed. Probably by 6 p.m. many of the people in the bar would be done anyway because it was the ending time of the happy hour.

I thought that this was a fair agreement and we would be totally willing to take it. However, the guy looked at me like I was speaking Klingon. “Sorry Sir”, he told me, “but we can’t do that. The restaurant is for dinner only”. He took our names and asked us to wait.

Obviously, most of the people who were sited to enjoy the Happy Hour just arrived so they weren’t going to leave anytime soon.

Many of the people in the line behind us started to leave the place. Many other people came, asked, and then when told that they will have to wait also left.

One of our friends came and we talked about going somewhere else. Since we were next in line, we agreed that she will leave and looked around to find available space. Five minutes later, she called us and told us that she found available tables in a restaurant located one block from there. Of course, we also left the place and join her over there.

Now, think about it. This place had plenty of people leaving because they didn’t fit in the bar. It also had around 40 empty tables “waiting for people who may come or not for dinner”.

They were leaving money walking out the door!

Does this make any sense to you? It surely doesn’t make it to me.

They were blindly following some nonsensical rule that dinner tables were only for dinner, and letting people walk away while having empty tables. It would’ve been so easy for them to follow my recommendations and use the restaurant space… Instead, they preferred to stick to their guns and let people leave the place unhappy.

Now, if you follow my blogs, newsletters or read my book, you know how important is for restaurants to make their clients feel happy and special.

Do you think that they accomplished that? I don’t think so, I’m surely won’t go back to that place.

There is plenty of restaurants with bars and happy hours to make me happy without to be waiting in line next to empty tables.

Jose L Riesco
© Riesco Consulting Inc.
www.twitter.com/jlriesco
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Restaurant Inefficiencies

Yesterday I went with my wife to meet some friends in the bar of a restaurant. It was Friday night and, although the crisis, the bar was packed. Perhaps because it was 5:15 p.m.: Happy Hour time.

The bar was just next to (and open to) the, restaurant, which was almost empty, just two tables were busy. So we went around trying to find our friends but they weren’t there yet. One restaurant manager came to us and told us that if wanted to enjoy the Happy Hour, we needed to wait in line. There was already a line of people forming by the entrance.

I politely asked the manager why they didn’t use the restaurant space, since it was empty and was still too early for dinner anyway. They could sit people there and tell them that happy hour will finish at 6 p.m. (which it did) and after that time they needed to leave the restaurant area and relocate to the bar if tables were needed. Probably by 6 p.m. many of the people in the bar would be done anyway because it was the ending time of the happy hour.

I thought that this was a fair agreement and we would be totally willing to take it. However, the guy looked at me like I was speaking Klingon. “Sorry Sir”, he told me, “but we can’t do that. The restaurant is for dinner only”. He took our names and asked us to wait.

Obviously, most of the people who were sited to enjoy the Happy Hour just arrived so they weren’t going to leave anytime soon.

Many of the people in the line behind us started to leave the place. Many other people came, asked, and then when told that they will have to wait also left.

One of our friends came and we talked about going somewhere else. Since we were next in line, we agreed that she will leave and looked around to find available space. Five minutes later, she called us and told us that she found available tables in a restaurant located one block from there. Of course, we also left the place and join her over there.

Now, think about it. This place had plenty of people leaving because they didn’t fit in the bar. It also had around 40 empty tables “waiting for people who may come or not for dinner”.

They were leaving money walking out the door!

Does this make any sense to you? It surely doesn’t make it to me.

They were blindly following some nonsensical rule that dinner tables were only for dinner, and letting people walk away while having empty tables. It would’ve been so easy for them to follow my recommendations and use the restaurant space… Instead, they preferred to stick to their guns and let people leave the place unhappy.

Now, if you follow my blogs, newsletters or read my book, you know how important is for restaurants to make their clients feel happy and special.

Do you think that they accomplished that? I don’t think so, I’m surely won’t go back to that place.

There is plenty of restaurants with bars and happy hours to make me happy without to be waiting in line next to empty tables.

Jose L Riesco
www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

How Customers Are Looking for Restaurants

If you think that your potential customers will find your restaurant in the Yellow Pages, think again.

First watch this video, and then keep on reading…

Did you get it? People, (and not only young people, this also includes your potential customers) go online to look for places to eat. No more browsing in the paper ads or opening the thick yellow book. No Sire.

The Web not only provides them with information regarding the offers around them, but also gives them a map with the location, photos of the place, directions to get there and the most important, opinions from other people about the restaurants.

You can spend fortunes in marketing printing ads in newspapers and magazines, buying half pages (or whole pages) in the Yellow Pages, advertising on the radio, etc. but nobody really cares. Your customers are not looking there, they are looking online. They use the Web to search for the best places to eat.

So what can you do to attract them to your restaurant? Simple; have a great website with lots of useful information, but more important, have great reviews from anybody who goes to eat at your place.

And how do you do that? The answer is simple in words and difficult in execution: Make everybody who goes to eat at your place very happy. Exceed their expectations. Deal with any potential issue generously and never, never argue with a client, even if they are wrong. You will regret it later on because they will let the whole world how bad your place is.

And guess what all these people who are looking for restaurants online will read? Exactly, how bad your place is.

Don’t make that mistake. Think about any complementary food that you need to give away as a marketing expense. Just make everybody happy and don’t give them any room for complains. This is the only way to have great online reviews, this is your advertising and all your marketing should revolve around this idea.

Jose L Riesco
© Riesco Consulting Inc.
www.twitter.com/jlriesco
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

How Customers Are Looking for Restaurants

If you think that your potential customers will find your restaurant in the Yellow Pages, think again.

First watch this video, and then keep on reading…

Did you get it? People, (and not only young people, this also includes your potential customers) go online to look for places to eat. No more browsing in the paper ads or opening the thick yellow book. No Sire.

The Web not only provides them with information regarding the offers around them, but also gives them a map with the location, photos of the place, directions to get there and the most important, opinions from other people about the restaurants.

You can spend fortunes in marketing printing ads in newspapers and magazines, buying half pages (or whole pages) in the Yellow Pages, advertising on the radio, etc. but nobody really cares. Your customers are not looking there, they are looking online. They use the Web to search for the best places to eat.

So what can you do to attract them to your restaurant? Simple; have a great website with lots of useful information (I wrote an article about web presence in one of my monthly newsletters. It is called Restaurant Online Marketing. You can also find other interesting archived newsletters in my website, here: Archived Newsletters

But more important, have great reviews from anybody who goes to eat at your place.

And how do you do that? The answer is simple in words and difficult in execution: Make everybody who goes to eat at your place very happy. Exceed their expectations. Deal with any potential issue generously and never, never argue with a client, even if they are wrong. You will regret it later on because they will let the whole world how bad your place is.

And guess what all these people who are looking for restaurants online will read? Exactly, how bad your place is.

Don’t make that mistake. Think about any complementary food that you need to give away as a marketing expense. Just make everybody happy and don’t give them any room for complains. This is the only way to have great online reviews, this is your advertising and all your marketing should revolve around this idea.

Restaurant Marketing: Do you know your customers?

Do you know your customers? No really; do you?

Often restaurateurs market to the wrong people instead of trying to target their message to their core customer base.

Again, who are your customers? Think about it, this is important for your marketing.

If you have a fast food place, your customers could be almost anybody (even Warren Buffet eats once in a while at McDonald’s) but they all have some common expectations such as:

  • They want a quick meal
  • They want a cheap meal
  • They want it delivered fast

If you, on the other hand, have a family friendly restaurant your audience is looking for something different:

  • Kids menus
  • Good food for adults also
  • Perhaps some alcoholic beverages for the parents
  • Moderately fast service
  • etc.

What about if you have a medium to upper scale restaurant? Then your customers will be looking for:

  • Good food
  • Quite environment so that they can talk and converse
  • Perhaps romantic or elegant ambience
  • Soft background music
  • Good drinking list: wines, beers, spirits, etc.
  • Slow service so that they have time to enjoy their meals and conversations,
  • etc.

So you see? If you have a family restaurant, it is probably a waste of money marketing to singles or professionals looking for a quite atmosphere to conduct their business… And viceversa. Families don’t care about fancy restaurants where they will be uncomfortable with their kids and will make the rest of the customers uncomfortable as well.

If you know your audience, you can totally target your marketing efforts to them: your advertising, your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), your offers and discounts, your communication… they should all talk directly to your customers. They should be totally targeted to your core audience. Don’t waste your money, your time and your customer’s time trying to offer them something that they are not interested in.

You will both benefit.

Happy sailing,

Jose L Riesco
© Riesco Consulting Inc.
www.twitter.com/jlriesco
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Restaurant Marketing: Do you know your customers?

Do you know your customers? No really; do you?

Often restaurateurs market to the wrong people instead of trying to target their message to their core customer base.

Again, who are your customers? Think about it, this is important for your marketing.

If you have a fast food place, your customers could be almost anybody (even Warren Buffet eats once in a while at McDonald’s) but they all have some common expectations such as:

  • They want a quick meal
  • They want a cheap meal
  • They want it delivered fast

If you, on the other hand, have a family friendly restaurant your audience is looking for something different:

  • Kids menus
  • Good food for adults also
  • Perhaps some alcoholic beverages for the parents
  • Moderately fast service
  • etc.

What about if you have a medium to upper scale restaurant? Then your customers will be looking for:

  • Good food
  • Quite environment so that they can talk and converse
  • Perhaps romantic or elegant ambience
  • Soft background music
  • Good drinking list: wines, beers, spirits, etc.
  • Slow service so that they have time to enjoy their meals and conversations,
  • etc.

So you see? If you have a family restaurant, it is probably a waste of money marketing to singles or professionals looking for a quite atmosphere to conduct their business… And viceversa. Families don’t care about fancy restaurants where they will be uncomfortable with their kids and will make the rest of the customers uncomfortable as well.

If you know your audience, you can totally target your marketing efforts to them: your advertising, your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), your offers and discounts, your communication… they should all talk directly to your customers. They should be totally targeted to your core audience. Don’t waste your money, your time and your customer’s time trying to offer them something that they are not interested in.

You will both benefit.

Happy sailing,
Jose L Riesco

Get my 40 pages free Restaurant Marketing Book Summary here:
http://www.myrestaurantmarketing.com

Subscribe to my blog:
http://feeds.feedburner.com/RestaurantMarketingStrategies