Today I’m going to talk about eating out, not because I’m a big foodie–although I am, but because it teaches you a lot about good marketing. My example is taken from the realm of ‘tourist restaurants’ (or at least restaurants in a tourist destination).
Now for me there is nothing worse than the ‘pull you in off the street’ establishments. This usually goes hand-in-hand with the ‘photos of food’ menus in my experience which has me running as fast as I can in the direction of a tapas bar/other local equivalent where all I can do is point, smile and hope!
Of course, this all depends on who you want in your restaurant and if it matters to you if they come back. There are so many restaurants that thrive on the fact you’ll eat there once the week you’re on holiday and, if it’s rubbish, it doesn’t matter... that was the most they would get out of you anyway. There is, of course, the danger they will ‘tell their friends’ and in the new world of online reviews this can have far-reaching consequences! It’s also important to know if your clients are merely ‘hungry’ (i.e. they’ll eat anything that fills them up) or they want a fantastic dining experience (no prizes for guessing which camp I’m in).
If you’re after the repeat visitors and the ‘tell your friends’ market, you can do much better that have a tout in the street to haul in hungry passers-by. What you want to do is this:
- Serve great food
- Get people to tell other people you serve great food
- Have social media work for you so people can see all the other people who thought you served great food
- Get some great reviews from travel journalists and bloggers.
- Make sure the ‘recommenders’ (the reps, the villa owners, etc.) put you in their ‘file’ which foodies will always consult before heading out to eat.
All the above explains why I have been known to walk 30 minutes past over 100 restaurants to reach THE Tapas place. It explains why I’ve driven to a tiny fishing village half an hour away from our villa to eat seafood. Great write-ups mean I seek out the tiny cantina hidden down a quiet street in an inland town (and go back the next day with more people) and having a business that sticks.
Interestingly enough, a lot of the ‘food for the hungry’ establishments seem to change hands pretty frequently, while the ‘well-reviewed’ tend to stick around. Must be something in that...
So, next time you consider ‘sending a tout to stand outside’ in your business (this can look like desperate ranting on FB, lots of ‘buy my stuff’ ads, never sharing content and only making offers, and pouncing on anyone with a pulse at networking events), think about how you can generate some good reviews instead. Have you contacted any journalists recently and offered them some great content? What about guest blogging, how about a ‘teaching’ webinar or a masterclass you can host online? Who do you know who can tell other people about you that has experienced your great service?... this is far more likely to keep on generating you business than trying to grab some passers by for a quick win.
My other tip is–keep walking when you’re waved in (a nice smile and a pat of the tummy to indicate you’re already nicely full always works!)
Want to talk more about this?