Advertising: Source Of Profit or Peril?
Just about every restaurant or catering operation invests money in advertising and marketing with the purpose of uncovering new customers. Without a constant influx of new buyers to your fold, your base will eventually shrink to a point of closure.
How much effort is spent in how those first time guests are treated before they even enter your front door? Before I opened my restaurant I played catering prospect with my competitors. I would pretend to be in the market for a catered event to see how my competition would handle the call.
What I uncovered in the shoes of a prospective customer created a policy that I firmly believe has allowed us to prosper. Most of my competitors never answered their phones. Overwhelmingly, I received an answering machine or voice mail.
If I did get a live person, they couldn't answer my questions. Imagine you are investing your lunch hour to book a catered event or find a party room and you get a machine.
Most people go on to the next name on their list or in the yellow pages. Your prospects want to talk to a live, intelligent human being. The fear of leaving a message and never getting a return call is more pressure than most people can handle.
Even if a prospective customer calls in the middle of your lunch rush, make sure you thank them for their inquiry and promise a very specific time you guarantee to call them back by.
To take this conversation a step further, consider playing phone prospect at your establishment. I think you'll be surprised at what you discover. Remember, no use in advertising for profits if the voice at the other end is perilous.
Michael Attias, the countries foremost expert on high return, low cost direct marketing strategies for restaurants, speaks from experience in the trenches. He operated a close to $3,000,000 a year restaurant in Nashville, TN that he used as his marketing "laboratory". He now helps restaurant owners increase their sales by adding or expanding a catering profit center through his company The Results Group. You can download his FREE Report: Tapping Into Your Hidden Catering Profit$ and subscribe to his free e-zine: The Restaurant Marketing Minute at www.ezRestaurantMarketing.com.