eTundra Categories

Author Archive | Joel Cohen

Restaurant Marketing: The Hunting Season Is Over

So, your sales are down and you decide to send out a direct mail piece into your zip code, expecting your usual response of 2 to 3%.

I’ll bet you’ve never ever thought about those other 98% in the zip code who never responded to your offer. You see, they just threw it in the trash. Yes, that’s your money they threw in the trash. Why? Because they don’t care about you. They’re not interested in being spammed with your direct-mail.

So, what did you eventually accomplish? A 2% response rate—coupon clippers taking advantage of your coupon offer that cuts into your bottom line—no true loyalty with coupon clippers—plus a whopping 98% in the zip code who blatantly don’t care about you or are peeved at getting an incessant amount of junk mail from you and other restaurants. Do you really feel good about this?

Here’s some breaking news—your guests have changed. It’s time to quit advertising and start connecting.

Joel Cohen regularly blogs about  Restaurant Marketing. Through consulting and speaking, he focuses on specific principles of restaurant marketing, such as planning, differentiation and how to WOW guests to increase sales.

Continue Reading

Restaurant Marketing: Your Focus Shouldn’t Be On Social Media

I arrived in Madison, Wisconsin last week to do a restaurant marketing workshop for Sysco and was looking for a place to eat. Obviously in a strange town and no one around to make recommendations, I pulled out my trusty iPhone and downloaded the Yelp app.

Immediately, I got hundreds of restaurants with thousands of reviews. I searched for some restaurants in my area where my hotel was located—because Yelp is GPS enabled—read the reviews and made my choice. It was that easy … and thanks to those who had already visited that restaurant and submitted a review, I made the right choice and had a great dining experience.

This is how many will decide which restaurant to choose—online referrals from other people who have dined at your restaurant.

This experience really drives home the point that your guests can control your destiny. They can make you really successful and fabulously rich. They can create a buzz about you that no one else can. But it’s all up to you.

Ironically, as our guests are moving to “hi-tech” sources for their information and referrals, restaurants need to focus on “low-tech” marketing to be successful. That means, mom and pop marketing, the principles of mayor marketing; making connections, wowing your guest and their dining experience. The list goes on and for those who have been with me over the past years, you know what I’m talking about.

So, while other restaurants are focusing their attention or bragging about building the “largest” list of facebook fans—by attracting customers with discounts galore (that sounds familiar) and truly believing that these “fans” are the end-all and be-all of loyalty to your restaurant, (c’mon, who are we kidding here) … I urge you to focus your attention on your guests and their dining experience … from the nano-second they drive into your parking lot.

And what does this have to do with Facebook? Here’s the million dollar tip to having a winning social media program that you won’t find at any workshop (other than mine) or in any book—If you’re successful at Wowing your guests, they’ll handle your social media marketing for you.

Joel Cohen regularly blogs about  Restaurant Marketing. Through consulting and speaking, he focuses on specific principles of restaurant marketing, such as planning, differentiation and how to WOW guests to increase sales.

Continue Reading

Why Is It So Difficult To Convert A Bad Experience Into A Great One?

Why Is It So Difficult To Convert A Bad Experience Into A Great One?When a customer is displeased with the service you’ve promised to provide, whether it be in your restaurant or retail store or any other category that deals with people, why does one think that a simple “I’m sorry” is going to remedy things?

If you truly want to convert a bad experience into a memorable WOW experience that creates word of mouth, then you’ve got to take your “apologies” up a notch and do the unexpected.

For example, my Raleigh News & Observer wasn’t delivered to my door on Sunday morning. After numerous phone calls to their over-seas customer call center and promises that the paper would be delivered within an hour, it finally arrived more than 4 hours later! I met the delivery person who gave me the typical “I’m sorry’s”

So, did he convert this from a bad experience into a good one? Definitely not and thus missed a huge opportunity to turn a dissatisfied customer into a raving fan.

What could he have done to turn this around and make this experience truly wonderful? Simply this – “Mr. Cohen, I’m so sorry we didn’t deliver your paper as promised. I’m sure you wanted it to read with your Sunday breakfast, so here’s a bag of fresh Brueggar’s bagels and cream cheese and some hot coffee to go along with your paper.”

Another WOW opportunity gone down the drain because companies haven’t been trained properly in the process of WOWing their customers and still believe that average customer service is the norm. The best ever opportunity for any company to create a raving fan is when something has gone wrong for that customer.

I’d bet you my next Sunday newspaper that Nordstrom wouldn’t have allowed this to happen.

Joel Cohen regularly writes about his insights into restaurant marketing on his blog, “Restaurant Marketing Blog.” Through consulting and speaking, he focuses on specific principles of restaurant marketing, such as planning, differentiation and how to WOW guests to increase sales.
Continue Reading