Restaurant Association of New Zealand

Marketing Your Establishment Effectively

No matter how much effective marketing you do, remember: You can lead a horse to water, but if you have grumpy crocodiles in the watering hole or the water tastes weird, then that horse will take her thirsty lips somewhere else. BY KAREN GIBSON, MENUMANIA

The Number One most important piece of marketing you can do, is to provide a rewarding experience for your customer each and every time they come to spend their money with you. Word of Mouth and Repeat Customers are paramount to business success!

After a decade helping small businesses to implement effective marketing strategies, Ive come to live and breathe the following top tips to generate customer inflow.

1 Be Your Best - Reputation

Customer Service & Product must be up to scratch when customers experience your business.

  • Invest in staff training - for example the Restaurant Associations professional development, or Greet NZs one-day course subsidised by the Hospitality Standards Institute.
  • You're better to put money into your people & product than to waste money on marketing if your people & product are not nice!
  • It's too important - so leave no thing to chance.

2 Target Market - Who is She?

Talk to the right people for your business! (as an example, the typical MenuMania diner is:
- female (71% of them) (Source - Nielsen Research 2011);
- a high spender (the majority are mid to upper socio-economic household-income bracket);
- the one who organises where groups of friends, family, business will eat.

  • Make sure you target the quality repeat customer who gets what you do eg, When you market a cut-price groupon deal, you need to consider that you might accidentally attract less-educated bargain hunters out of their culinary depth, whose expectations are out-of-kilter with what you do, so they give you negative feedback. For example, Top quality European-style seafood might generate a negative reaction when they cant find any deep-fried pre-frozen squid rings on their platter (True story!).

3 Entice & Brand

Either Hook them with a Call-to-Action (a value-added promotion, event or special offer), or Boast about Your Point of difference:

  • What makes you unique? Make your point of difference stick in peoples mind long-term as part of your Brand.
  • What will make them come to you, and not your competitor?

- eg, Monsoon Poons (Auckland and Wellington) unique style of flavour is their Point of Difference.
- Is there a need to discount if the restaurants unique concept sells itself? No!

  • Or perhaps if you can maintain your quality and integrity, creating a loss-leader to fill otherwise-empty seats with a view to enticing them back as repeat customers will work. And in that case, it needs very careful thought about the impression you are giving off and the type of people such an offer will attract.

- I believe all restaurants should protect their prime time, and place very clear restrictions around group-deals, if you dont want to get every man and his dog through the door. However, if youve targeted elite, highspenders, then its about the value-added nature of your offer.

4 Frequency

Talk to them again and again - multiple touch-points.

  • Be consistently out there, pushing the same recognisably you message;
  • Customers can require 7 touch-points on average before they finally walk through your door and spend.

5 Reach Many

Talk to lots of your market.

  • Make sure the mediums you use cut through to a big quantity of your targeted people.

6 Cost Effective

Check the quality & quantity of the medium you choose.

  • How can you win targeted customers without devaluing your product or cutting profit margins?
  • Will it ultimately generate more cash customers through your door than what it costs you to do the marketing? Whether directly & immediate, or indirectly and long-term.

7 Measuring Results vs Synergy

Immediate or Long Term, Almost nothing is wasted.

  • Tracking the actual number of custom-ers coming to you from each marketing tool is hard!
  • The actual method of how hooked customers make their way to your busi-ness varies wildly:

- For customers who wish to make a booking, most simply pick up the phone and dial, as it's so much easi-er. (And in all my years in working with business & marketing, customers very seldom mention and frequently don't remember where they heard about you when asked!).
- Many more will simply be walk-ins.
- More will choose not to dine with you on that particular day, but now know all about you and have put you on their mental short-list for their next meal out.
- You'll also find a small number will seek further info before deciding, eg, going to your own website.

  • Marketing is about getting the formula right and building 'synergy' between all of your different marketing mediums. (ie, the definition of Synergy = the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.)
  • If you get your unique message in-front of lots of people who are about to spend on your product in your area, then it will be working for you, even though it's hard to pinpoint the direct source of each customer.

About the Author Karen Gibson is the General Manager of Business Development for MenuMania.co.nz. Karen has 10 years experience working with business owners to successfully grow their customer base by developing marketing/advertising strategies that work. Her background prior to MenuMania was as a Media & Marketing Consultant with The Radio Network. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and a Diploma in Business, Management.