Restaurant owners know that long term viability depends upon increasing revenue in the short term.

The food business is difficult. Increasing sales is more complicated than simply providing good food and good service. Restaurants that serve GREAT food and deliver GREAT service close their doors every day.

Marketing invokes an integral role in attracting new customers to a restaurant. Restaurant marketing expenses are allocated by owners with as much enthusiasm as paying a tax bill.

It’s hard to write checks for an expense that has questionable return on investment. Broadcast media? Print? Out of home? Social media?

How much should we spend? How often? When will we start seeing new faces in our restaurant? There are many more questions than answers.

In my career, I have been making marketing recommendations to restaurant owners for over 30 years. I think I’ve seen and tried about everything.

I’m moved by the fact that Starbucks spent zero dollars in advertising for 30 years. They built their brand with consistency of delivery IN RESTAURANT day after day.

I believe the answer to increased sales rests deep in the heart of the total restaurant experience. Referrals happen because of repeated experiences. Consistency of delivery fuels referral voices.

My mind hasn’t been changed in the last 20 years about the need for more in-store promotion. The time to increase sales occurs DURING every dining experience.

Media effectiveness is complicated to measure because it’s difficult to show cause and effect. In-restaurant, CRM initiatives are much easier to measure because we achieve repeat visits/referrals or we don’t. Either way, we know.

We must demand to know what is working in marketing and what is not working.

Fact based decision making is sustainable in the long run.



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