The Cheap Way to Drive Restaurant Traffic
By Jenny Brooks
Communication is a very broad term. I use it to encompass everything a business wants to talk about with its customers, employees, shareholders and anyone else who has a stake in the business.
I thought you might like to see the best practices I recommend in just about every communication plan I develop for my clients.
But first, before implementing any activities, you have to know who you are, what you’re selling (food yes, but why are people supposed to choose your restaurant) and who you’re selling to. This goes back to the mission, vision and core values that David Scott Peters teaches through TheRestaurantExpert.com. These statements that define your business and then direct your movement forward also help determine the kind of promotional activities you employ and the tone of the language you use in these activities.
When considering activities, I like to lump them into “nonpaid” and “paid” categories.
Traditionally public relations falls into the “nonpaid” category because these activities are awareness generating, which can eventually lead to purchases, but doesn’t result in instant purchases. And for the most part, except for paying for the time it takes to get it done, it’s relatively inexpensive to execute public relations activities.
Marketing falls into the paid category because it includes things like advertising and direct mail pieces and is much more expensive up front.
For the purposes of this article, I want to look at the nonpaid activities.
After you’ve clearly established who you are, what you’re selling and who you’re selling it to, then you can determine which of the following activities are best suited for your restaurant.
- Media relations: announcing news and events to your local newspapers, TV stations and radio.
- Customer communications: emails, mailers, in-store fliers, in-check stuffer, etc.
- Social media: actively participating on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+
- Community relations: partnering with local nonprofits or schools to raise money, collecting goods to be donated such as canned food or school supplies
- Special events: invite customers in for special celebrations, open houses, live music, special guest servers
Every restaurant should be conducting a mix of these activities to reach new and existing customers alike. The more you can get your name out there, the more chances you have of gaining a new customer. This is a very simplistic explanation, but the list of activities is a good goal to work into your business as soon as possible.Jenny Brooks is the owner of Roaring Lion Public Relations, a public relations agency providing expert public relations consultation and support to businesses nationwide. She also the editor of TheRestaurantExpert.com’s monthly member newsletter, “The SMART Systems Insider.” For more information visit www.roarlinglionpr.com.