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Author Archive | James Guertin

Why Doesn’t Your Social Media Bring In Customers?

Why Doesnt Your Social Media Bring In Customers?Meet Bob. Bob might be considered equivalent to the strategic design behind, and the effective level of marketing across your social media profiles. Let’s take Bob off the internet and put him in your dining room to see how accurately he reflects your online presence and your overall performance.

You don’t view social media as an extension of your customer service; instead you look at it simply as medium for advertising.

* [Bob at the door. No greeting, smile, conversation or introduction.] “Our specials today are our leftovers from yesterday (actually Easter). Let’s just say we’re now called The World of Ham!”

You jumped into social media without any research (because everyone else was doing it.) You have no idea who your customers are, what social medium(s) they use, how to connect with them, or how to target new potential customers. Your strategy is to follow the lead of the big boys.

* [Bob at the table. He does not look up, only at the pad in front of him.] We now have $5 all you can eat subs; a $3.99 make your own burger bar; McWaffles for $.09; and a Homerun Hit menu for the kids for just $9.99.”

Your strategy is “Tweet and they will come.”

* [Bob with a bull horn on the side of the road… in a residential neighborhood… at 3 AM. The social media police show up, tell him he’s doing it wrong and begin beating him with their truncheons.]

You don’t advertise the fact that you even have social media outlets (in print, radio ads, on your website, or via connecting/integrating with business listing sites.)

* [See Bob inside the restaurant; in a body bag, duct-taped to the floor trying to relay what a “great” place you have.]

You don’t listen, even when fans ask you to post more info on your social media sites.

* [Bob at the table (nonstop, echoing in an empty room): “Our place is great!  Tomorrow we’ve got a balloon guy; Thursday its Tom’s Mystery Meat Roll Day (if you can guess it, it’s FREE); then it’s Fun for the Family Fridays where we throw your mom in the kitchen for that burnt food retro feel, etc.…”] (See customer…leaving.)

Your social media “guru” knows nothing about the restaurant biz in general and even less about your business specifically.

* [See Bob boasting in the service area. “Sure I know all about petro chemical engineering. I sold tires for 2 months at The Rubber House before I got kicked out of my dad’s Liberal Arts College.”]

You tried that social media thing for a month and it didn’t work, so you quit.

* [See Bob waving sadly to the hot new waitress Vanessa who quit because she didn’t make $300 on her first full day on the floor.]

You’re not involved locally, in anything. You literally have to earn every page view, tweet, fan and dollar the hard way.

* [See Bob pushing the local Girl Scouts out the door because he’s afraid they might steal the hearts (and tips) of the cheap bastards that still patronize this place.]

You’re not tracking keywords relative to your business, your hometown, your competition, or your industry.

* [See Bob back in his body bag.]

You think “social media” equals Facebook.

* [See Bob, on his mobile phone, surfing the internet, texting and looking for a new job. He would like to be a better Bob but you’ve tied his hands.]

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A.I.S.: The Ultimate Social Media ROI tool for Independent Restaurants

A.I.S.: The Ultimate Social Media ROI tool for Independent RestaurantsHere we are once again, the cacophony roared up after the SuperBowl over the legitimacy of ROI in social media whether it’s measurable, valid, does anything or whether it’s just a bunch of numbers the next “expert” throws up to validate his job/salary/cost.

The roar seems to be mainly coming from marketers, advertisers and mediums which like to stir up the noise level about how wonderful social media is and yet fail to explore it’s limitations.

For the independent restaurant A.I.S. is the only tool out there that even remotely qualifies as a specific measurement of whether their forays into online, print or social media advertising is effective.

Strategy:

Of course, like all solid measurement tools, there is some research; strategizing and work that go into this tool’s reliability and accuracy. Before utilizing A.I.S. we have:

1. developed a clear and defined vision of our business and goals;
2. specifically identified why we are in business and what our strengths and weaknesses are
3. formulated how those strengths and weaknesses play out to our marketing and, more pertinently, how we can wield them to our own and our guests’ advantage
4. defined where our guests are in relation to various advertising mediums and constructed a strategy for each of them

The specific advantage of utilizing A.I.S. is that it not only assumes but grants that your media strategy changes and develops as your organization matures. Working in real time, it can immediately gauge how your guests change; in both their perception of your company and their interaction with it.

Branding:

One of the most pertinent variables of A.I.S. is that it also takes into consideration a few things that (it seems) many of the newly established SM “experts” overlook: specifically, to borrow from the music industry, RQ (recognition quotient) which means that my “engagement” is another form of getting my restaurant name out there for people to consider when they do make a choice of where to dine.

Random Tweets and Facebook postings about local events, charitable organizations and weather anomalies do in fact have a measurable impact within the A.I.S. system; as do the restaurant’s media in print, on video, on-line, in an email or in the local paper. The A.I.S. system looks at each of these individually and as a congruent whole.

A “branded company” within the A.I.S. system is one that is synonymous with outstanding quality and a solid perception of value for dollar, regardless of actual cost of your menu items. And, in an economy where necessity has outgrown desire or “bling,” this is a required advantage for the independent restaurant.

Take a moment here to review Oliver Blanchard’s excellent presentation about social media ROI. We’ll wait…

So here you go, you’ve read, you’ve pondered, and now you want to know the big secret behind The Ultimate Social Media ROI Tool for independent restaurants. Just what the hell is A.I.S. ? What tool helps me measure social media, standard marketing, email marketing, mobile marketing, online marketing, off line marketing, couponing, discounting, branding, advertisng, promotions, cause marketing, outbound marketing, inbound marketing….ARGGGGGH!

A.I.S. = Asses in Seats.

If what you do is not putting them there then something is amiss; and it is up top you to find out if that is internal, external or in delivery and execution. All the planning, strategy,marketing , analysis, or engagement on the planet is not going to mean a hill of chickpeas if, for all your efforts, there’s no one in the dining room.

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Standardized Coding for Restaurant Products. It’s about time!

Standardized Coding for Restaurant Products. It’s about time!Maybe you missed the announcement by the National Restaurant Association, GS1 US and the IFDA concerning the new initiative for standardized labeling of restaurant industry products, or maybe you saw it and overlooked the potential impact it could have on your restaurant.

The rest of the planet already has retail bar codes which are the same whether you by a candy bar in a local gas station or at a large supermarket, and nearly all of your large food service vendors have bar codes on the products you receive every day. The difference in the restaurant industry is that each vendor has their own bar code for the same product. So, if you buy a gallon of mayo from one vendor and the same gallon of mayo from another vendor you have two different bar codes on the exact same product making cost comparison, tracking, usage (not to mention book keeping) a bit on the troublesome side.

Industry organizations and founding members of the Food Service GS1 US Standards Initiative cite three main objectives and benefits as a result of companies choosing to adopt and implement GS1 standards (and 55 major food service distributors, manufacturers, and operators have already signed on):

* Drive waste out of the food service supply chain;
* Improve product information for customers, and
* Establish a foundation for improving food safety and traceability.

So what does this really mean to your restaurant? According to Stephen R Arens, (Industry Development, GS1 US) “All containers of Brand A Regular Barbeque sauce, 1 gallon size, in a plastic jug, will have the same GTIN no matter who they are sold / shipped to. The Brand A Regular Barbeque sauce, 5 gallon size, in a plastic jug will have a different GTIN than the 1 gallon size.” (The U.P.C. on consumer products is a GTIN)

This alone should make the independent operator smile, because now, when you’re comparing prices, shopping for bids or simply checking on price fluctuations you have one number to give to each of your reps or input into your database. This move by the food service industry, though long overdue, will be a time and money saver for the independent operator once it’s fully implemented. Many franchise operators already have this benefit in place because they belong to purchasing cooperatives for their particular brand. Maybe now is the time for independent operators to revisit the idea of joining or creating a purchasing coop? According to some of the co-ops I’ve looked at recently, savings can be significant. What do you think?

Further information: The GS1 Systems is the most widely used product identification system for items and cases globally; over two million companies in 150 countries use the GS1 System to identify their company’s products as they move through the supply chain; from manufacturer to end user. The GS1 System includes the U.P.C. code found on many consumer and commercial items in a number of industries including food and beverage products, produce, protein products, apparel, health and beauty care items, books, magazines, alcohol beverages, electronic equipment, etc. You can visit http://www.gs1us.org/ for more information.

James Guertin gives practical advice to restaurants on his blog The Practical Cafe.

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