Do you sometimes feel like you have unique problems running your restaurant?
Do you see other restaurants fuller than yours and you are wondering what are you doing wrong or what are they doing right that you could do as well?
Do you feel like your restaurant is unique and you have unique problems that nobody else in the industry has?
You’ll be surprised if I tell you that your problems, desires, wishes, aspirations, setbacks, losses and issues are not unique.
Most restaurateurs share the same problems and issues; this is what it makes us, makes you special and, at the same time, part of a larger community. Sometimes the issues that seem or feel more personal, are the ones that are the most generic.
Running a successful restaurant is not easy. You struggle every day with a million things that could (and would) get wrong: machines break, your employees get sick… or leave you when you need them the most, sometimes they slack or are not nice to your customers, some days are almost empty and some totally full for no reason, you work hard and then receive criticism from ungrateful customers, you spend money in marketing but it doesn’t seem to bring you many people…
Do you recognize any of these issues?
You should, because they are common to most restaurants. Yes, it is true that there are some very successful restaurants that people love and are always full, but these are a minority in the general dinning landscape, and their fortunes are sometimes volatile since often their success brings complacency… Customers are very picky and soon they will look for something better (or more fashionable) to try.
So what can you do to be more profitable? To be more successful? To have your restaurant full of happy customers?
Actually the answer is very simple:
YOU MUST INCREASE YOUR EMPATHY FOR YOUR CLIENTS
Greater Empathy = Greater Profits!
There is a direct correlation between empathy and profits. But before I get to this again, let me clarify for you the difference between marketing and sales. Although this may be obvious for many of you, I know that sometimes both concepts get mixed.
Marketing is the activity aimed to bring people to your restaurant. Sales is the act of bringing your food and drinks to your costumers so they can consume them and pay for them. It is that simple.
Remember always that the goal of marketing is to make selling superfluous, or at least as easy as it can. Marketing always precedes selling. If your marketing if effective, your sales are easier and more profitable since your customers are already in the mood to consume your food and drinks.
On the other hand, if your marketing is ineffective, not matter how good your food and service is, nobody will go to your place to try it out. This is where many restaurateurs fail. They offer excellent sales, but they don’t have the appropriate marketing vehicles to bring people to their place.
So what do marketing and sales have to do with empathy? Actually a lot! You need to use empathy in your marketing and in your sales.
Your marketing must appeal to your prospects emotions. They must feel like going to your place is special, and you and your employees will make them have a great time.
Your sales must also try to make your customers experience at your restaurant a unique and emotional journey.
I know that many of you are thinking that I am being too metaphysical and food is just food, but most of the people going to a restaurant are looking forward to have a great time, not just to satisfy their bellies.
Always try to be empathic with your customers and anticipate their needs and uniqueness. You will make them feel special and in return, they will come back to your place and will tell everybody how wonderful your restaurant is.
It is that simple.
Jose L Riesco is a restaurant marketing and consulting expert who has just published a book: “Restaurant Marketing Strategies” (available in Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com). His site www.myrestaurantmarketing.com, contains lots of free restaurant marketing information and ideas to help you improve your restaurant marketing.