What is “Front of mind Awareness” and how will it help me keep my restaurant during this bad economy?
Before you read this article ask yourself this question. What is a loyal customer worth to me over the course of 1 year? A couple who visits your restaurant once a week and spends $50 could be worth over $2,600 to you in a year. A frequent loyal couple who visits twice a week will spend over $5,200 per year and that does not include people that they bring or recommend to your establishment. What is it worth to you to keep them happy and establish “front of email list of restaurant owners mind awareness” with a customer?
Restaurant owner are struggling to keep the doors open in 2010. Are you one of them? The economy continues to lag and restaurants, as well as many other businesses are feeling the strain as people choose to eat in to save money or are spending less when they do go out. Competition for dining out dollars is fierce and “Me To” advertising in the local papers alone is not going to drive diner’s through your door or profits into your bank account.
You need to develop an effective Customer Marketing Campaign that utilizes the power of the internet and an automated email communication system to create “front of mind awareness” with your customer.
Restaurant owners and management need to combine their traditional advertising efforts to include the goal of identifying, capturing and communicating with every customer that walks through the door, so that you can establish the “front of mind awareness”, that will keep them coming back when they choose to dine out again.
The easiest and most cost effective way to establish a “front of mind awareness” restaurant marketing campaign with your customers, is to combine traditional marketing, a trained staff and a web based and automated email communication system. Below are five essential steps to establishing an effective marketing campaign that any restaurant can implement.
1. Restaurant Management Needs To Capture Every Customer
Restaurant ownership, restaurant management and staff needs to make a 100% commitment and set a goal to capture every customer that dines at your restaurant or just comes in for a drink at the bar. By “capture”, I mean get their permission to collect their contact information and communicate with them via email in the future. The type of information you are going to want to collect include:
* Full Name (must)
* Email Address (must)
* Home Address (optional but helpful)
* Birthday (month and day – optional but helpful)
* Favorite meal (make it fun and track what they like)
* Suggestions (optional)
We have all seen the pads of registration cards stained and crumpled sitting on restaurant tables saying “join our mailing list”. Alone they are a waste of paper as there is little or no motivation for the customer to respond to this type of marketing.
When I bring up this first step to success with restaurant owners, the answer I get is nearly always “we do that already, look at our tables”. Let me be clear, leaving a pad of cards flung on a table to be filled out based solely on the spontaneous motivation of your customer is a very different strategy than committing restaurant ownership, management and staff to invite every patron to become part of your restaurants family by joining your dining club.
Every member of email list of restaurant owners your wait staff should be trained and tested to present the opportunity to join your “restaurants family” and they should be held accountable for their results (contests are a great motivator).
You can have the best food in town, but a poorly trained staff and fail. You can have average food, but a great and well trained staff and be successful. A guests willingness to join and share their information is an effective indicator of how your customer was treated and whether they feel compelled to return in the future.
First, you have to understand that you are not going to get something for nothing and a person’s contact information is a valuable commodity that needs to be earned. Good service and a gift is the motivation that is needed in most cases. Maybe it is a free dinner next time they come in or $10 off the next meal, you need to offer a reasonable enticement to make the connection and capture the customer.
Just prior to the waitress or waiter presenting the check for the meal they should be trained to:
* Ask if they enjoyed their meal or have any suggestions for them or ideas to pass along to the owner or management.
* Present them with an invitation card to join your “Customer Appreciation Program” and join the restaurants family.
* Take a moment to explain the program and give them a pen to fill out the card.
* Explain that members will receive periodic news, updates on special events as well as coupons for future dining by email.
* Tell the guest that for signing up tonight they will also receive a special gift certificate that will be emailed from the owner directly.
* Ask if they have any questions about the program and always add that we do not share our customers contact information with anyone.
* If they say “no’, thank them for coming and leave them with the bill as normal.
* If they start to fill out the card just tell them to leave it with the bill and you will pass it along to the owner or manager. Leave the bill
If a guest does not sign up when the waitress or waiter picks up the paid check they should inform the manager on duty who should if at all possible visit the table immediately to make sure that everything was acceptable, thank them for coming, did the server mention your “Customer Appreciation Program” and is there anything he or she can do.