couple on their phone at dinner

As a modern-day restaurateur, you might still be operating like it’s five, 10 or even 20 years ago.

Shame on you.

If you plan to survive among tight profits in today’s food industry, you better get at least comfortable with the idea of incorporating technology.

If there is anything I know, it’s that we have to operate our business in real time. So how is it that restaurants market themselves as if it’s 2010?

I don’t care if you’re a pizza joint, a full-scale restaurant or something in between, you’re giving away profits if you don’t use all of the tools at your disposal.

Today we’ll focus on marketing, one of my favorite topics.

Quick quiz:

Do you have a modern website, or does it look like it’s from 1998?  People will bounce away from a bad site quickly, so make sure it looks good. (Remember what Mom said about first impressions.) Use sites like Wix or Squarespace to create a site that looks great and functions well.

Is it optimized for mobile? Over half of all internet traffic is mobile, and it will only grow.

Are you on all social media? More importantly, do you use it? If your last post is more than a week old, the answer is, “No.” Tools change (remember MySpace?) but the idea of connecting online will never change. Get involved, and use YouTube to learn about anything you don’t understand.

Do you have an active email list? Do you market to them regularly? Who is writing content? It can be helpful to get your staff involved.

What does it take to be an effective restaurant marketer? The strategies you need (and everything you ever wanted to know) are in one place.

How do you collect email addresses? Try using a sign-up form on website, collecting business cards or having guests write their email addresses on receipts after their meal.

Do you have a way to sell them something? E-commerce is real: My record is $7,000 in 36 hours. You must offer a “lead magnet” of sorts. Consider it a way to answer questions of, “What’s in it for me?”

phone in restaurant

Acting as if your business will just continue to go along as planned is ridiculous. Part of my motivation for creating articles, videos and more is to fight the onslaught of closings in our industry. We all know this is a tough business, so you need to have your skill sets up-to-date to fight a good fight.

Even an aggressive marketer, people will drop out of your “funnel” just by going through life. So if you don’t continually get your message out there, your numbers are bound to drop.

Good food and service just aren’t enough. We live in a world of choices.

People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Make sure you respect the attention of your guests, as that is what fuels the 2017 economy. People can make more money, but they cannot get back time.

What to do next?

Take inventory of your current scenario. Just like a recipe, maybe you need a dash of a website refresh, a pinch of social media scheduling and one new action on your email campaigns.

Written by   |  
Tony Marciante has been a restaurant veteran for more than 29 years, involved in all aspects of start-up, operations, marketing and finance. He has built, designed and ran restaurant operations including fine dining, casual, Mediterranean, catering, banquets and private parties. Tony is currently chef/owner of Chef Tony's Seafood Restaurant in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. He also works with individuals and companies on their social media campaigns, writes several blogs, hosts podcasts on a variety of topics, and enjoys business development on many platforms.