A new breed of restaurant is fast approaching on the horizon and starting to catch people’s attention. These concepts buck the traditional fast casual model in so many ways that it’s time to create a name for this new segment.
I recently had lunch at an elegant hotel restaurant that once served sophisticated Mediterranean cuisine. Like so many other upscale restaurants during these tough economic times, customers stayed away in droves, preferring instead to eat at less costly, more casual restaurants. So, in response, the owners of the restaurant dumbed-down the menu by offering burgers, club sandwiches, chicken quesadillas and Caesar salads. As it turns out, it wasn’t so dumb after all. The restaurant was full like I haven’t seen it in years. I can’t blame them for a smart business decision.
Offering a daily deal through Groupon has been an act of faith for most restaurant operators. There was no real way to know how many deal-driven customers eventually returned to purchase meals at full price. Now Groupon has come up with a tool that gives operators some insight as to how well their daily deal promotions performed.
"Like" it or not, customers size up your operation before they even walk through the door. You can make a positive impression with a social media presence that communicates who you are and gives customers a reason to "like" you - and keep coming back.
We've seen a lot of transition over the last five years in how businesses are getting their message in front of consumers. Think about it, previously businesses were putting their marketing dollars in billboards, yellow pages, television and even radio commercials. While these methods of marketing are still valid in today's market, they seem to have less of an impact in getting a consumer to take action and serve as tools to create brand awareness.
Most independent restaurants calculate their food cost only once a month. Yet, virtually all the major chain restaurants calculate their food cost each week. According to industry averages, chain restaurants (before corporate expenses) are two to three times as profitable as independent restaurants. While weekly food costing isn't the entire reason, it's part of it.
Normally, I encourage my clients to experiment with social media in order to find their own voice. However, there are a few “conversation killers” that have become far too common and which must be stopped.
Pinterest was last year’s breakout social media platform. To make it simple, think of Pinterest as a visual pinboard that you would use to save ideas.