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The Power of Madness on Restaurant Marketing

NCAA BracketsLast week my travels took me to Nashville Tennessee to work with one of my clients. It was a good trip but one thing struck me clearly, the power of NCAA Basketball on the local economy.

The NRA reports that business in the restaurant industry was off dramatically during January and February. My clients have expressed similar concerns about their business as well. With this as a backdrop, it was great to be in a city restaurant bustling with activity during tournament weekend in Nashville. Lunch on a Thursday found the restaurant packed with a 10 minute wait.

Later that day  spoke with a client in another city where there was a tournament last year and asked him about the economic impact on his business. He told me that it added a significant boost to his numbers that unfortunately he has to face this year. I think he will do OK because we had put together a great program to take advantage of St. Patty’s Day and the NCAA Brackets Challenge with a tie-in to his loyalty program.

Obviously the NCAA tournament is a great business boost if it is in your city. If it isn’t build an event that takes advantage of the promotion potential that the games bring.

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Do Restaurant Owners Trust Food Distributors

An interesting week it has been!

Several of my conversations this week centered on whether restaurant owners trust their food distributor. Surprisingly, each distributor I spoke with said….. No they don’t and with good reason.

Do food distributors create this sense of mistrust? Broken promises, missed deliveries, and questionable billing issues are some of the potholes in this love hate relationship. The distributor sales rep has to wade through all of these issues to build trust and make it work with their customers. This can be a difficult task in a relationship that for the most part is built on price issues and not on bringing value to the customer.Food Distributors

From a restaurant owner’s perspective, how much time is spent micro managing a relationship that is built on getting the best price? An operator I met with this week was going to great lengths to match up his order guide with other providers just to keep his distributor honest. With multiple locations, this is an important function to manage your profit margin in this economy, but could his time be better served on other activities?

Is there a better way? Growing topline sales is just as important as managing the bottom line, but how many distributors are working with the customers best interest in mind?

Building trust has a long way to go in the food industry.

Sequestration and Restaurant Marketing

February has ended and the consumer is still feeling the effects of the increase in the payroll tax and rising gasoline prices. the Commerce Department has reported that personal income plunged 3.6 percent in January, the biggest drop since January 1993. That’s a tough nut for any restaurant to handle.

Now the government has signed into effect “Sequestration”. While the percent decrease in spending may appear to be minimal on the surface, it may not be for many business’s who will feel the ripple effect. In the area where I live, there is a military installation that is the largest employer in the county. The impending cuts that are talking about will have a significant impact on the surrounding community in many ways. From loss of jobs, to curtailed spending by consumers all the way down to the potential impact on real estate values. Yes “Sequester” is real in this part of the world.

If your restaurant is in a community that will be impacted by “Sequestration” be prepared for the future. Now is the time for action in stabilizing your business. Outlined below are a five steps to consider.rest

  1. Build your customer community. Utilize event marketing to help create activity and drive traffic.
  2. Consumers are looking for “Value Meals”. The chains are great at the “2 for$20” offers that represent value.
  3. Make use of Limited Time Offerings (LTO’S) to offer the consumers variety and improve profit margins with special buys.
  4. Step up your marketing to drive traffic and build loyalty.
  5. Analyze your POS Data to find opportunities for growth in your dayparts.

The recommendations above are important for any restaurant to follow to profitably grow their business. While some communities will not be impacted by government actions, each of us are affected by the payroll tax and rising gasoline prices.

For more information on “Driving Traffic For Your Restaurant” please download our white paper.

Restaurant Marketing Coach; Can They Bring Value To My Business?

When you look at everything that is going on in the restaurant business, it is easy to understand why restaurant owners are overwhelmed. Competitive challenges, human resource issues, technology changes and rising food cost are just some of the many issues that are faced every day. The list keeps growing and the ability to keep up with everything seems to have most independent restaurant owners at a loss.

There is a solution to help the restaurant owner deal with these issues. Restaurant Coaches are an invaluable asset to help and mentor restaurant owners through the day to day issues of running the restaurant.

With every business it is best to establish both short and long term goals. The Restaurant Coach will help you understand your current baseline statistics and set goals for the future. In the achievement of these goals, action steps and task accountabilities are established for specified time periods. The goals are established based on performance and financial metrics with the end result being improved profits for the restaurant.

Does it get results? Many of our clients are achieving performance statistics well exceeding the industry norm. “It makes sense” says one of our clients. “I can only focus on so many things at a time and my restaurant coach helps me balance everything out”.  Some of our clients have seen sales increases in excess of twenty five percent annual growth by implementing strategies recommended by the restaurant coach.corecoachpix

Not only do coaching strategies impact topline sales, but they also impact bottom line results. Focusing on data from the POS System, the coach can identify trends in your business that impact different aspects of your daypart sales and labor trends. The restaurant coach can also assist in food costing solutions that impact inventory and recipe costing that lead to increased profits.

Many of our clients take advantage of our “Pay for Performance” program in which payment for services is based on goal achievement. This unique program truly puts performance improvement as a joint goal for both the business owner and restaurant coach.

If you would to learn more about how a Restaurant Marketing Coach can bring value to your business, please contact CORE Restaurant Marketing at 888-890-9492 x 101 or visit www.corerestaurantmarketing.com to learn more.

Rising Commodity Cost Impacting Your Restaurant Profits?

With a projected rise of 3.5 percent in food commodity costs in 2013, an increase of ten percent from only three years ago, restaurant owners are at a crossroads of adjusting for market changes while still meeting consumer preferences. To stay ahead of the game, restaurant owners need to hone in on data from their point of sale systems (POS) to measure what is selling and what is not.

“It is a tough time to be in the food industry and it is not likely to easier in the near future,” said Joseph Welsh, partner with CORE Restaurant Marketing. “Taking a strategic approach to menu design and engineering based on what customers are actually buying is a best practice that all restaurant owners should employ.”What is Driving Food Prices?   Corinne Alexander     cealexan@pu

Preferences for menu items and food tastes are constantly changing and by mining their POS data restaurant owners can make sure they cross utilize products they purchase and create the best possible customer experience while maximizing the restaurants profit potential. Welsh recommends that menus and data from POS systems be reviewed twice a year to determine popularity and profitability of their menu items. The results will allow for purchasing of the correct products and ensure the lowest cost for highest return. This will make sure that consumer’s needs are being met, while simultaneously increasing restaurant revenue and economic value for the owners.

Reviewing menu layouts is a key component to profitability. As consumer behavior changes, so too should menu design, pricing, and images. Restaurant owners have reported up to a 17 percent increase in sales, higher check averages and increased profits as a result of utilizing proven design techniques.

In addition, pricing is a key aspect to maintaining profitability. Restaurants can benefit from retail pricing strategies that promote value while staying competitive in the marketplace. Owners should review their competitors’ menus and make sure that not only are their prices aggressive, but that they also use tactics to maximize their profits. Studies show that prices should end in a nine to maximize profits and that certain menu items should highlighted and called out perform better. Take-out menus should also be assessed and utilized as marketing materials to increase revenue.

More and more restaurant owners are teaming up with restaurant coaches to combat these rising food costs and implement a profitable game plan for the years to come. CORE Restaurant Marketing provides restaurant marketing services that enhance the profitability of restaurants. With over 30 years of experience in the food industry and more than a decade in customer rewards programs, CORE Restaurant Marketing has gained a vast amount of knowledge and built an extensive network to make these challenges just another bump in the road, and nothing more.

If you would like to see what you can do to improve your restaurants branding and profits, sign up for a free menu consultation visit CORE Restaurant Marketing or call 1-888-890-9492, extension 101.

Resolve To Be Better

Resolve To Be Better

Happy New Year!

2013 is upon us and many of us have taken stock of the past year and are setting plans to make 2013 a better year for our restaurants. Sounds like a tall order, but much like anything you need to break it down to manageable chunks. Here are three steps to enhance your restaurant marketing.

Improve your restaurants performance.

Your restaurant menu is the first place to look at for profitability improvement. Every customer that comes through your door looks at this to make a decision. Does your menu have the right items at the right price? Food commodity costs have been rising, when is the last time your menu was updated. Proper pricing along with design tactics can significantly improve your profitability.

Customers are the mainstay of any successful restaurant, do you have a way of communicating with customers when they are not at your restaurant.  Customer loyalty programs can be a great tool to communicate with your customers as well as rewarding them for choosing your restaurant. Many programs come with email marketing and text messaging to help facilitate communications with your loyal customers.

Now that you have driven traffic to the restaurant, are your servers prepared to be your brand ambassador? They can make or break any restaurant and should be trained to present your restaurant in a way to generate referrals and positive reviews.

Three steps to improve your restaurant marketing for 2013. Will you resolve to be better?

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Do You Have Time for Restaurant Marketing

It’s mid-October and the leaves are falling. Some parts of the country have already seen the first snowfall. You know what this means, your restaurant is entering into the busy season with the upcoming holidays.

Great News… maybe. Are you prepared to do everything that needs to be done?

This is the time of year to strike while the iron is hot. The competition will be tough; everybody is competing for the consumer’s discretionary dollar. Your competition is not just the restaurant down the street; it’s the club stores, the supermarkets, the gas companies and the online retailers. The consumer only has so much money to spend and everybody wants it.

You will be swamped with so many activities to do, but you will need to ramp up your marketing efforts to be competitive. Time organization is a must to do all of the activities. Here is just a small snapshot of what needs to be done:

  • Create awareness with a stepped up email marketing program.
  • Aggressively promote your restaurant with social media.
  • Train your servers to be your marketing ambassadors with a great guest experience.
  • Make sure your loyalty program is running at full speed.
  • Prepare a program for marketing gift cards.
  • Have a profitable seasonal menu designed to increase sales.

So much to do with so little time. These are just some of the reasons why it makes sense to have a partnership with a restaurant marketing company to let you focus on running your restaurant and let them drive sales for your business. A carefully structured program can be a win-win for all in which their services have a substantial ROI for your restaurant.

For more information on restaurant marketing programs that generate sales and have a significant ROI, contact CORE Restaurant Marketing for more information.


CORE Restaurant Marketing

Joe Welsh

Joe Welsh

Joe Welsh is a Partner with CORE Restaurant Marketing Solutions which is a national restaurant marketing agency focusing on helping restaurants improve their sales and profitability. Joe has worked with restaurants on a local and national basis. He has developed and implemented programs for US Foodservice, Gordon Foods and Performance Food Group. Joe has his Master’s Degree in Food Marketing from St. Joseph’s University and over 30 years’ experience in the Food Industry covering both the retail and foodservice sectors.

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