The idea for this post actually came to us before our previous blog on Local Business Marketing! Well, we’re delighted we can now include it as a starter for ten in our promise to blog about successful marketing strategies and ideas relevant to specific industries, sectors and business types!!
As a company with it’s head office in Crawley, members of the eapb team are often to be found either lunching or dining in the town’s high street of an evening. We might be entertaining a client and discussing their marketing tactics or maybe on a team outing to dine at one of the many, many establishments that line the high street.
This last sentence in the above paragraph got us debating and thinking! There are SO MANY places to sit down and enjoy an evening meal in Crawley high street – how do they all survive and prosper? We established that there is probably more than 20 eateries within a stretch of road no more than half a mile long.
Now, it would be fair to say that in the whole of Crawley, let alone in the high street, there are probably no examples of what are often termed ‘destination restaurants’. Think Le Gavroche in London or L’Enclume in The Lake District. Places where many would make an exception to travel considerable distance to experience fine food, and the skills of a highly talented chef.
So if none of the aforementioned 20 can lay claim to being a noteworthy destination – how can they stand out from the restaurant serving the same style of food not 20 yards down the road? Well, in our opinion and experience it boils down to three elements that will go along way to determining how many bums on seats are in a restaurant on any given evening:
Location, location, location. Obvious, but the right start point. Second, being highly visible on the Internet is now a pre-requisite for sustained success for a restaurant relying on mostly local customers. Third, take your brand and your food to the customer – hit the road with appetising tasters and score some BIG publicity. Create a Twitter buzz in the community, go out and find your new Facebook fans – always be looking for new customers – don’t wait for them to walk through YOUR door!
Google Places for business. Sign-up is quick, easy and free. Simply log-in with your Google Account and verify that you are the owner. Show up across the web. Give customers the right information about your business by updating your contact information, hours and more. Understand customer feedback and respond to reviews as the official business owner.
Take advantage of Foursquare with their astounding 34 check-ins every second. Create swarm parties, all while your customers share your restaurant socially with their network of friends. Q. What exactly is Foursquare?:
A. Foursquare is a mobile app (available on iPhone, Android, Blackberry) that allows users to “check in” at businesses or places. Let’s say that you happen to be eating at the Taj Mahal Restaurant in Crawley and you want to let people know that you’re eating at that restaurant. You would open the app on your smartphone, push the “check in” button and now your friends on Foursquare, and potentially Twitter and Facebook know you’re eating there.
Be distinct, be memorable. Think: Time sensitive, limited supply or an exclusive offer; Unique menu or special items on the menu; Start with what YOU love and ensure this is carried through onto your menu and to the restaurant dining experience. There is always differentiation in who you are.
The reasons why consumers will go to one restaurant over another are often many. However, many of these decisions are still based on the differentiating factors such as: Concept; Food Quality; Cleanliness; Value; Service. Yes, you can still differentiate by making sure you get the basics nailed down!
Yes, reviews and recommendations can be the lifeblood or the death knell of many a local restaurant. Research suggests that 84% of people trust recommendations from people they know, and 68% trust consumer opinions posted on the Internet. Powerful stuff. Create a WOW factor and encourage reviews from diners.
Think. Memorable décor or setting. Something unique about your restaurant. Signature drink? Signature dish? Leave customers impressed or even stunned. Create something that tingles multiple senses. The point of having a WOW factor for your restaurant is giving people something to talk about once they leave your restaurant.
Food for thought. Stop it…….
eapb Marketing Consultancy, March 2014