Resta u ra nt&Cate ring March 2006 $695 GST ind U St T3 l l 3 JL.<u- aL*mâ¨iL. M 1.1 âº sV- I* > w â¢ ' Â« % J y â ^a % 5T- - Hi * These I wo ry customersâ¨ji diddles for 1 v'7 v â ; On the right track You have all the marketing bells and whistlesâflashy advertising, a website, youâ¨name it. But are you properly tracking this activity to see if it's having an effect? If not,â¨it's time you start. By Stephanie Sword he key to longevity in the restaurantâ¨industry is promotion, promotionâ¨and more promotion (And goodâ¨lood, o| course.) Bui the days of placing anâ¨ad in the local paper and wailing for theâ¨i ustomers to come to you have long beenâ¨over. Today's owners need to attract cusÂ¬â¨tomers by promoting through a variety ofâ¨media, and as important as this is, there isâ¨"ite tiling arguably more importantâtrackÂ¬â¨ing the results of your promotion. Deck i'i owner larek Ihrahitu says lieâ¨initially relied primarily on print media, butâ¨was unhappy with the results and lack ofâ¨feedback. "I personally don't believe In theâ¨power of print media for small businesses.â¨It doesn't work for businesses with smallâ¨budgets," he says. "The print ad is out thereâ¨lor one day, and ihen the paper is in ihe bin.â¨It simply wasn't cost effective far us: our ad T would just gel lost in a sea of ads * frustrated, Ibrahim began building hisâ¨own customer database in an effort toâ¨utilise other forms of marketing and toâ¨gather more information about his cusÂ¬â¨tomers. After realising he and his staffâ¨lacked the proper know-how to effectivelyâ¨maintain a database, he hired Grant hewers,â¨the director of Restaurant Marketing fwâ¨reslaufaotmarketing.com.au), a companyâ¨that specialises in building email databasesâ¨for reslaurants. For the last three years,â¨Lewers has helped Ibrahim build-up theâ¨e-marketing campaign lor the Dee Why resÂ¬â¨taurantâand with effective results, 'We hadâ¨our first glimpse of the type of results thatâ¨were possible after a special event. It wasâ¨quite effective. In fact, it was instant- withÂ¬â¨in hours people were coming to see us," heâ¨says. "There's no quest ion that (- marketing is the single most effective tool I've used inâ¨30 years in the business." Marketing specialist Taki Moore, alsoâ¨ol Restaurant Marketing, has liven a firmâ¨advocate of promoting and tracking busiÂ¬â¨ness through e-marketing, "Marketing is anâ¨investment, and there needs to be a return.â¨It's crazy to have customers come in, haveâ¨a great experience and then leave," he says.â¨"Restaurant owners should build a databaseâ¨and then use it in a classy way to collectâ¨customer details and gain fsi-ilhack. "It is very important to track and do itâ¨in a way that's professional. You want toâ¨enhance your reputation, not cheapen it,"â¨says Moore. For Deck *3, Ibrahim began offeringâ¨bottles of wine for groups of six or moreâ¨through their quarterly entail newsletter. "Itâ¨was to encourage people not to delete the WW. Restaurant & Catering Australia 37 gauge how many new clients are joining usâ¨by the number of vouchers turned in andâ¨the number of new customer emails weâ¨receive," explains Ibrahim. Restaurant Marketing's Grant Lewersâ¨provides Ibrahim with a monthly reportâ¨detailing the results of the e marketing efâ¨forts, "I get a figure on how many birthday'â¨offers they're sending this month, andâ¨then I can track if people arc still taking upâ¨the offers," Ibrahim says. "Tracking yourâ¨marketing is based largely on numbers.â¨IF die restaurant is full,don't mess with aâ¨formula that works," Moore says an effective formula shouldâ¨licit only attract patrons, but should alsoâ¨dearly demonstrate the cost, the resultsâ¨and the customer feed back. "The wholeâ¨idea of tracking is to know what's workingâ¨and what's not working. E-marketing is anâ¨approach thai is com effective, trackable andâ¨brings in the liest result at the lowest rost." This sounds appealing, but are the majorâ¨ity of restaurant owners actually trackingâ¨(heir marketing!' Moore doesn't think so.â¨"Eighty per cent of restaurant owners haveâ¨thought about building a databaseâit's the tools of e-marketlng has already provenâ¨a smart move for Deck 23: 'it saves us timeâ¨and money, and makes us lime and moneyâ¨because It's one less tiling we have to spendâ¨ail of our resources on. We have more timeâ¨and money to make sure our staff is lookedâ¨after. When it comes down to it, they're the email, antl instead be the 'draw card'. Youâ¨must always he looking for something fresh,â¨offering customers new information. "With e-marketing,you can't overuse itâ¨If you do you'll kill this important tool. Tooâ¨much of anything is too much. Be effectiveâ¨and smart with in not greedy. You mustâ¨not abuse it," says Ibrahim. Done the right way, e-marketing has manyâ¨advantages over traditional print advertisÂ¬â¨ing. The most important distinction is thatâ¨it makes it easy to track the number ol newâ¨customers who are utilising your promoÂ¬â¨tions. "Yuu can't know how many peopleâ¨read your print ad, but with litis you can weâ¨who's reading,' says Moore. "With prim ads,â¨you need a direct response mechanism forâ¨tracking. Most don't provide that. "Instead of spending thousands of dollarsâ¨on print ads trying to attract new people,â¨in most cases you'd be better off investingâ¨the money inin your existing customers andâ¨giving them a reason to come back sooner.â¨The restaurant business is driven throughâ¨repeat business and word-ot-moulh, soâ¨building a customer database is crucial." Veering asvay from print ads and utilising "E-marketing is anâ¨approach that is costâ¨effective, trackableâ¨and brings in theâ¨best result at theâ¨lowest cost." Igfig Moore, t'lfrbldurGul Mid ones who have built-up the core clienteleâ¨and who will bring the customers Irack."â¨Jbrahim says. Currently, Deck 23 sends out birthdayâ¨vouchers for tables ol four or more as a wayâ¨to entice customers to come in, and hopeÂ¬â¨fully bring new patrons with them. "We been on their 'to-do list' for ages. Unfortuâ¨nalely, most restaurateurs just don't hliveÂ¬â¨il ic time. Thai's why now we even do ourâ¨customers' data entry fur them They canâ¨quickly send a promotion, track it and simÂ¬â¨ply get on with running the restaurant." Truth be told, most restaurant ownersâ¨are not marketers, so 1 he idea of usingâ¨(-marketing and collecting information onâ¨a database may sound too daunting. Butâ¨Moore asserts lite methods Wntini tlieseâ¨techniques are not just about the computer.â¨"Walk over to ynor customer at the end n| aâ¨meal and present them with a gift voucherâ¨for a complimentary bottle of wine, alongâ¨with a feedback card. For a S30 value, theâ¨cost will easily be recouped the next timeâ¨that customer comes in," Sometimes, I he customers do much of theâ¨work for yuu. Ibrahim says Deck 23 patronsâ¨regularly fill out customer cards (which areâ¨delivered in the billfold) not only for themâ¨selves, but for their family and friends asâ¨well. "If the marketing results show us we'llâ¨have bums 011 the seats and a good turnâ¨over, then we'll have the confidence to move-â¨ahead in other areas of the restaurant." â¡ Ten ways to track What's the key to successfully tracking your marketing? Restaurant Marketing's Takiâ¨Moore recommends the following steps: 1. Start by building a database. When customers come In, you need to gatherâandâ¨collectâbasic customer Information and feedback. Keep it simple. 2. Make it easy to join, and give people a reason for them to join you. "A bottle ofâ¨wine, a main meal, or even the chance to be in your VIP list can all work." 3. Count how many people are Joining the database each week, and set a goal toâ¨grow it each month. 4. Get a system that does most of the maths for you. "You want to know how manyâ¨people read your message, how many people book a table as a result of your marketâ¨ing and how much they spend," 5. Make sure it's easy, or you won't stick to it. Find a system where thank you's, birthÂ¬â¨day messages and special events, as well as tracking, is done for you. 6. It's important to test and measure, but doing so incorrectly, sporadically or notâ¨learning from the results can be a fatal flaw, "If you don't track and measure your basicâ¨numbers, it's just a prayer." 7. Think about it from your customer's point of view: would they feel uncomfortableâ¨bringing a coupon into your restaurant? If sa ask them to mention your promotionâ¨wh en they call a nd book. 8. Remember, rfie real goldmine in your restaurant is the customers you already have,â¨so chances are print advertising isn't going to help. "How can you bring your currentâ¨customers back a little more often, have them spend a little (not a lot) more and bringâ¨or tell their friends?" 9. Follow this formula; test, measure, review and improve. 10.Most importantly, you must always pay attention to your results. "If it doesn'tâ¨work, stop doing it."
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