Hotel & Restaurant Digital Marketing

Times have changed, we no longer need to pay publications to access their database, readership or following to promote and sell our products. Advances in technology have made it possible for everyone to market their brand or business effectively online, whilst saving some money in the process.

Although the technology has advanced, it seems our mind-sets haven’t. I frequently have meetings with restaurant, bar and hotel operators who have varying reasons for not investing in digital marketing, from “Social media won’t work for my business” to “Delivery-Dining might damage our food” and a personal favourite “We don’t have the budget for anything like that”.

9 times out of 10 these operators either hadn’t given digital marketing a chance, didn’t know how to use the platforms effectively for business purposes, or simply hadn’t gone digital because their competitors hadn’t. However, 100% of the operators were heavily discounting every month to get custom. Which begs the question, can you afford not to be getting to grips with digital marketing?

I’ve listed a few points below to help you stand out from the crowd online in 2018.

Grow Your Own Data

For years restaurants, bars and hotels have used local publications and databases to promote their business. This was tainted from the start, as the readership’s interest lay with the main brand and not necessarily yours, therefore any campaign results wouldn’t be truly representative of your advertisement’s effectiveness. Nowadays anyone can showcase a business or brand using online platforms to promote direct to consumers at a faction of the cost.

Operators can customise online targeting to find consumers in specific locations, from particular demographics, with similar interests, job titles, favourite foods and more. Access to precision targeting on this scale means you can grow your own audience specific to your business requirements, an audience who are hopefully interested in your business too. Once you’ve started to build your audience you can increase brand awareness, drive product sales, and request consumer information in order to forecast your businesses potential.

People are usually reluctant to grow their own audience from scratch as they’re worried about having a lower database count than before, but everyone’s got to start somewhere and besides, not all of those numbers matter.

Which Numbers Matter?

Now we’re able to play an active role in digital marketing, we’re starting to gain a better understanding of the numbers behind social media and email campaigns, moving toward data quality rather than quantity. This is certainly a winning strategy, as the key to success online comes down to understanding platform analytics and metrics enabling you to react and maximise the effectiveness of future posts and ads.

Social Media

Engagement and interactions are number one on the social playing field. Operators need to build campaigns that consumers want to interact with and share with their friends. Measuring you posting Reach will give you good insight into how far your message has be delivered and provides a key reference against the number of clicks you received.

In the early stages of growing your brand online don’t pay too much attention to your Following, if you focus on creative and content the people will follow. Following should represent an organic volume of consumers who are truly interested in the brand; you don’t want to pollute this by hoaxing people into following you just to get the numbers up.

Micro and macro Influencers are today’s publications, creating partnerships with local people or industry figures who have similar characteristics to your audience could be a good way to increase your reach and revenue.

Email Marketing

Email has changed; people don’t have time to read every email they receive, especially when there is so much spam flying around.

Your main email list needs to be your core fan base, similar to your Following on social; you need it to be organic and don’t want to pollute it with paid lists. Keep the list clean and remove people who aren’t opening your mail. When we’re talking email lists, I’d rather have 500 members who are engaged and reading my content as opposed to 50,000 members who don’t care about the brand and may not open the email. You can always have multiple or segregated lists to test new or purchased data.

When measuring your email performance the key metrics are open rates, click thru, shares, unsubscribe rate and feedback. If you’re using a publication’s database to access a new audience, focus on the clicks, specific to your content, against the cost to send.

Think Bigger

Just because the vast majority of operators are terrible at digital marketing doesn’t mean you have to suck at it too…

I see a lot of operators adding social media and email marketing on to a bartender or manager’s job role, or passing it to family members and friends as a part time job. This approach isn’t going to cut it… if you’re unable to put in the time but you want to get ahead you’ll need to think bigger.

In 2018, just like your customers, your marketing team doesn’t need to be on site. Pulling a marketing or development exec in to work for 40 hours a week is often less productive than letting them work from home or on flexi time. For example, I can pick up my phone and place several ad campaigns quicker than I can get a coffee, get dressed and get to work.

You don’t necessarily need to employ someone to look after your digital; there are plenty of freelancers with different skillsets who can add value to your business and be alternated throughout the year for variation. Forward thinking operators are saving a lot of time and money by working with specialist hospitality agencies capable of creating and developing strategies, whilst managing all digital and non-digital sales, marketing and creative campaigns.

Whichever method you use, it’s the results that count.

Be Adventurous

People have seen a burger and a beer before, they know you sell desserts and they can get a discount anywhere, anytime, any day of the week… so if that’s all you’ve got in your war chest then you’re in trouble.

You’ve got to stop doing what you’ve already been doing… it’s been done, people have seen it… it’s time to create something fresh, on-trend and unique to your brand. Once you start thinking along these lines you’ll achieve better results on your sales and marketing campaigns and will be able to charge full price again, yay!

Why not use digital to create partnerships with local businesses? By this, I don’t mean force selling to them every time you tweet; they, like other consumers, are bored of every operator in the city trying to ram lunch deals and after-work drinks down their neck. Why not make some friends and work together… hospitality businesses tend to have larger followings than local corporates, so why not promote them? I’m sure they’d enjoy the free exposure and you never know, the boss may return the favour by throwing a few more lunch meetings and celebrations your way.

Equally, other hospitality businesses in your area would welcome the support. If everyone stopped competing as much and started working as a collective you’d be able to attract more consumer attention, which would likely result in more people knowing about and visiting your part of town to support your businesses. This strategy needn’t apply to all aspects of your business, but organising events and working together on projects would go a long way.

Capture The Moment

Once you’ve built your audience and everyone’s having a lovely time, don’t forget to capture the moment. Most phones have a pretty decent camera these days, so make sure someone grabs a few video clips and photos from a successful corporate lunch, busy Saturday night or that event you worked so hard on. Capturing these moments will make projecting your brand in future much easier… don’t just tell people what they’re missing out on – show them!

Hotel & Restaurant Marketing

I read loads of articles online claiming to cover ‘basic marketing advice for restaurants and hotels’ – the majority of them don’t go in to enough detail, and all of them fall short of being in anyway useful. So I thought I’d give it a go… have a read of my ‘better basics’ and let me know what you think.

1. Get your stuff together

The most important area to start with, and the one everyone forgets… You’ve got to make sure you’re ready to go! Far too often I see companies backtracking or starting again from scratch because they didn’t research or plan anything before implementing a marketing campaign. You don’t want to be the business that got the price point wrong, the one that forgot to brief the team, or the one that didn’t make any money… all of these things are basic, so let’s get that straightened out first…

  • Make sure your business can cope with whatever it is you’re about to market, from having the right equipment to the knowledge and knowhow.
  • Get the team together and brief them on the campaign make sure they’re all trained and know what’s going on – after all, they’re your frontline and need to deliver the best possible customer experience.
  • Make some money! Surprisingly an area most people miss, grab the manager, the chef and a calculator and work out the right balance between an attractive consumer offer and a profitable one.
  • Set yourself targets of what you’d like your marketing campaign to achieve, use data capture and weekly financials to monitor your success and adjust and improve based on your findings.


2. Go digital

Next up let’s get everything digital in place…

  • Website – don’t spend a fortune, you don’t need anything fancy. Build a basic site with your story, menu, a booking widget and details of how people can locate and contact you.
  • Claim you business profiles: Google, TripAdvisor etc. Creating, and keeping these up to date will help optimize your online presence and search engine rankings. Online review sites are a great way to monitor your success rate, see customer thoughts and opinions and communicate directly to both positive and negative feedback – just don’t get too hung up on negatives, sort it out and move on.
  • Social Media – research what major platforms your customer base, city and/or country use and focus on them. Set up your profiles and post quality content daily. There’s a lot of noise out there nowadays so make sure everything from your copy to your creative is the best it can be. Once you’re an expert you can start to use paid media to boost your brand awareness and engagement levels – but as I said in the first section make sure you’ve planned everything first; putting money behind boring poor quality content won’t work.
  • Email Marketing – start to build a database that can be used not only to access customers but profile them as well. The key to successful email marketing, aside from quality content and creative, is producing regular structured campaigns that focus on specific areas your customers will actually be interested in, not what you want to sell them.

3. Press & influencers

Using the press and local influencers to help promote your business is a good strategy, provided you execute it correctly… inviting bloggers for complimentary food, drinks and accommodation in the hope that you’ll get some PR isn’t doing it right.

  • Do some research on your local press outlets and how they communicate to their audience, I’d advise going digital over print so you can measure your campaign’s performance. Once you’ve chosen, meet with the key people at the publication introduce yourself and the brand and gather contact details to send a press release to each month. Not to sound like a broken record, but make sure you’re sending great content and creative otherwise you’ll be wasting your time.
  • Go to social media and find the key influencers and bloggers in your area and do the same, introduce yourself open a dialog and see if you can implement a plan where you can both benefit from a partnership – of course everyone loves free food but its more important to make sure you’re getting the exposure and sales as part of the deal.

You’ll need to do some chasing to make sure you get the most out of the press and your influencers, the key is to build a relationship where they can experience, enjoy and talk about your products on a regular basis and you gain access to their audience and analytics in return.

4. Get known in the local community & corporate scene

You’ll be doing yourself a massive favour by introducing yourself to the local community and businesses… if you think about it targeting corporate provides you with weekday: lunch, after-work and business traveller trade whilst the local community will boost your evening and weekend trade.

  • First up local basic brand awareness – you’ve got to get out there and meet people, find out what’s going on in the local community, attend events, geo-target through social media, meet local influencers and implement residential mail drops to get people talking about your brand.
  • Then do your homework on local businesses, research the company and their key decision makers… introduce yourself, create a relationship and keep in regular contact to see if there is anything you can do for them. A great way to make contact with key people in an organisation is at networking events or through business clubs – you don’t need to become a member or pay to join, there’re plenty of free events that’ll get you started. Aside from corporate events you can plan a more direct approach with printed material and food/drink samples to get you through the door (old school I know – but it works) and build those relationships internally.

5. Get Proactive

In last week’s blog I talked about the importance of balancing pro-activity and reactivity to get ahead so you definitely need check that out. If you start to research, plan and get proactive you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money and headaches futher down the line.

6. Do you!

The best piece of advice I can give you… Stop watching other people; it’s the quickest way to lose.

  • Don’t look at a leading restaurant/hotel chain and think you need a nationally known marketing agency because they have one…. You Don’t. Do some research and get a small agency or freelancer that’s going to work for you.
  • Stop copying your competitors… Get proactive, get ahead of the game and start creating the trends.
  • Do you! Focus on what you want to achieve then work backwards by planning how you can achieve it… all of a sudden you‘ll have the answers right in front of you.

I hope these six points were in someway useful to you… they’re all super easy to implement yourself, however if you’re awesome at operations but clueless when it comes to back office marketing, or simply don’t have enough time, grab a business development manager to help – or get in touch with me and my team over at HRC Hospitality Group and we’ll sort you out.

P.S. did you notice research and planning featured in all six points?! …time to get your stuff together!

Hotel & Restaurant Business: Proactive x Reactive

When I start working with a client one area that’s really important is to introduce the right balance between being proactive and reactive. I find a lot of restaurants, bars and hotels, particularly independent businesses, are incredibly reactive to situations and therefore aren’t able to achieve the best results – it’s my job to provide the support required to find a balance in becoming more proactive to achieve the best return for their business.

I’ll explain… in order to be successful in the hospitality sector everything comes down to planning and execution, if you don’t plan properly or you execute badly you’re not going to see the returns you had hoped for. To plan effectively you need to be proactive, you need to decide what you want to achieve months in advance and plan how you’ll gain the best results for the business.

Let’s use an event as an example, since they’re the most common cause of reactive behaviour. Take Valentines Day– everybody knows Valentines Day is going to happen and it’s a great opportunity have a bit of fun with your team and customers whilst adding additional revenue. The problem is far too many people let events creep up on them, they forget to plan, leave no time to market effectively and end up throwing a last minute deal together or copying what a competitor is doing. Following the event they’re disappointed with the result, blame it on X, Y & Z knowing they could of done better. A subsequent problem then occurs when operators don’t allocate time after an event to analyse and react to it’s success or failure, this would’ve enabled them to enhance their proactive behaviour before next year’s event, but in the case of this example there’s no time as no doubt they’re already late planning Christmas Day – and so off they go with another last minute deal and ultimately another disappointing event.

It’s important to avoid these simple mistakes by finding that balance between proactive and reactive to drive the business forward year on year making the most of all opportunities no matter how small the additional revenue may be, continuing with the events example this would help grow brand awareness and attract more consumers over time. Getting proactive will both save time and create time to react smarter and improve on pervious events, whilst usually saving money by enabling the business to book paid media or equipment hire etc. in advance – not to mention the stress reduction for the team and ownership knowing everything is in hand.

Although most of the calendar year can be proactively planned they are some situations you have to react to, these are usually news related or the outcomes of sporting fixtures / local corporate awards etc., the trick is quite simply to get ahead wherever possible – whether that means reallocating your own time as the manager/owner of the business or by recruiting a sales/business development executive it’s crucial to start planning, marketing and selling events well in advance to get the best return.

It’s not that people don’t understand this approach or don’t agree when I pitch it, it’s more they see the idea as an additional cost, something they don’t have time to do, or they take it on board and implement it for one or two events then forget about it… the thing is, it’s important; with heightened competition and the imminent uncertainly of consumer spending, not getting the right balance of proactive x reactive behavior now will cost hospitality businesses lot more in the long run.

Two months ago I introduced our new brand HRC Hospitality Group brand HRC Hospitality Group… which will support hotels and restaurants to help them become more proactive, we will act as an extension to the business and provide sales and marketing tools to ensure our clients get ahead and stay ahead, achieve the best possible results whilst having more time to focus on operating their business.

If you’d like to know more about the support HRC Hospitality Group  could offer your business, get in touch and get proactive.

Discount Addiction

It seems restaurants have become addicted to discounting to get their fix of covers through the door, without much thought having been given to the value of those covers or the damage continuous discounting is doing to their brand image and business’s long-term health.

Sure, discounting can be used as a quick fix to get through a trough, attract or re-attract customers, however, operators encounter problems when there is no clear strategy in place or when discounting becomes a habit.

Let’s take a look at the cost of discount addiction and its symptoms…

Perceptions

Price points are a form of communication with consumers; cost will often set the stage for a brand and the quality of its products. Higher pricing structures tend to sit with more upmarket brands and are usually perceived to be of greater quality.

So when a restaurant offers a discount it sends a message to the consumer, usually that the operator is trying to attract more customers, although it also indicates that there are deals to be had and therefore entices potential consumers to shop around.

Expectations

Consumer’s expectations don’t, and shouldn’t, change because there’s a discount in place. In fact I’m sure many restaurateurs will agree that guests dining on a deal are usually harder to please than those paying full price.

Once a restaurant starts continuous discounting, consumers come to expect to pay the discounted rate moving forwards, they’ll rarely return to pay full price and will most likely wait until there’s another promotion.

Relationship Problems

When appealing to consumers by price point rather than brand message, restaurants will start to attract a different type of guest than the intended target audience. This could damage the venue’s profile, database and overall customer experience, not to mention the difficulties of encouraging repeat business among consumers who have no interest nor loyalty to the brand.

It’s not just customers who may be difficult to retain; as discounts become the norm payroll tends to be reduced, sales incentives are less, as are customer tips, so restaurants may find their front and back of house teams start looking elsewhere too.

Financial Difficulties

With rent, rates, national living wage and costs linked to inflation all rising, a restaurant’s margins are already incredibly tight without throwing a profit reduction due to discounting into the mix. Particularly in January, we see operators competing with heavy promotions, which inevitably leads to a price war to see who can better 50% off, who will discount drinks as well as food and so on and so forth.

Price wars occur when a competitor feels threatened by a rival price point. To counter the threat they will most likely match or undercut it, but then what happens? Does the rival reduce their price again? Yet again the competitor is likely to counter the rivals price. It’s a downward spiral that erodes profits and eventually puts people out of business.

Cutting Corners

Cutting corners is a common symptom of discounting and a major area of concern; operators try to claw back their profit margin by reducing costs elsewhere in the business. This strategy may have worked in the past but nowadays customers are better educated when it comes to product quality and are used to high levels of service, so trying to cut back in these areas only leaves operators exposed.

The restaurant’s prices may be lower but will customers still required the same level of services and the cost of preparing and delivering the product remains the same so cutting staff hours is out of the question. Reducing the quality of ingredients to save money is an absolute no go as it doesn’t provide a true reflection of usual brand standards, therefore ruining the operator’s reputation and ensuring customers leave unimpressed with no reason to return. Equally diluting portion size in the hope of upselling is an awful idea and people are wise to it, restaurants should be adding value to customers plates not forcing them to pay extra for necessities.

Customers will spend more money when they’re enjoying themselves, so by adding value to their experience they’re more likely to stay for another round, book another table and recommend the restaurant to their friends.

Health

It takes a long time and a lot of hard work to design, build and communicate a brand image; discounting is one of the quickest ways to reposition and deconstruct a brand, infecting most internal operations, causing damage to the overall health of the business.

It may not just be the business’s health that suffers; running restaurants can be pretty stressful at the best of times, with today’s rising costs and heightened competition, inflicting the strain of having to work harder for reduced profits isn’t going to help.

It’s difficult to stop discounting once a business has developed a dependence, restaurateurs often become paranoid believing it’s the only way to attract customers and keep the business alive. Luckily that paranoia isn’t true and with a clear strategy in place restaurants can be weaned off discounts.

Rehab

It takes time to rehabilitate a brand, however, by re-evaluating pricing strategies, creating demand through engaging content and investing in brand marketing to distribute campaigns, it’s possible to restructure a restaurant business and attract full price consumers once again.

The key areas for restaurateurs to remain focused are: bringing additional value to consumers, creating memorable experiences and resisting the cravings of getting that quick discount fix.

Take the Next Step

Find out what our team of hospitality professionals can help you go about discount and promotions. Take the first step and get in touch. Contact us today to schedule a free consultative meeting.

Call us on +254710263910 or E-mail to info@hrc.co.ke

How To Increase Your Restaurant Sales

Everyone is keen to improve their restaurant sales although few are planning how they will achieve their financial goals. For years the restaurant industry has relied upon similar techniques to attract business, whilst sectors such as retail, music, film, publishing and travel have been adapting to advances in technology, changes to consumer lifestyle and the heightened demand for convenience.

The restaurant industry needs to modernise too, as continuing to rely on dated methods and complaining about how the market is changing isn’t going to help anything. In order to win in 2018 restaurateurs will need to stop relying on offers, walk-ins and publishers to attract customer spending and start to make use of the incredible sales and marketing opportunities that are at their fingertips to allow them to redefine every element of their operation to ensure they’re performing in an efficient, modern way.

Quick fire points of how you can improve your restaurant sales today…

Don’t Wait on Walk-ins

‘Let’s hope we have a good weekend’ is one of the stupidest things I hear every week… if restaurateurs got proactive and spent more time devising a strategy to actively sell tables, seats and tickets each week, the gamble of being busy would be more of a dead cert.

Ready? Get Tech, Go!

Technology is forever moving forwards, restaurants need to pay attention and get involved with advances that could work in their favour to strengthen their business. Here are a few examples:

Online Reservations – get reservation tools with marketing capabilities, that way it’s not just managing your diary and maximising turnaround times, it’ll be reaching new customers and selling tables via email, social, desktop and mobile search too.

Delivery Dining – extend your dining room cover capabilities by introducing delivery. With the huge increase in convenience spending and takeaway market exploding why wouldn’t restaurants join the party? Unfortunately, Fine Dining isn’t invited.

Customer Profiling –learning about customers is a sure-fire way to increase sales. Using data to dig into demographics, trends and spending patterns will add significant value, but why stop there, why not use your systems to remember more specifics about customers? It’ll improve service, make operations more efficient and really impress guests on the night.

EPOS –updating to a modern point of sale kit will really help save time and money; from remote cost control, ordering and integration, incentives and loyalty, to payroll and inventory control, these industry basics are vital for operators to manage.

Your Social Sucks

I live in Manchester, UK, where the food and drink industry is booming, although I can count on one hand the number of restaurants with quality, engaging social media who are doing it right, and as a result, cashing in. There are currently three types of restaurant social media…

Smart –brands with great creative, copy and personality, who are dedicating time and resources to structure their content, tell their story and engage with consumers. They are actively looking at metrics to improve results – even if reviewing analytics isn’t as frequent or in depth as it could be, at least they’re aware of its value. 

Amateur – operators who have someone within the business, a bartender, BDM or manager, posting like it’s a personal account. Typically this results in infrequent messaging (‘because it got busy’ or they ‘forgot’), unprofessional phone photography and inspirational quotes, hashtags and boomerangs all over the place.

The positive being that they’re on SM, however if the outbound messaging isn’t on brand it’ll be putting people off rather than turning them on – it’s important to remember that social is capable of projecting to millions of people; it’s an equally quick way to damage a brand as it is to build one.

Non-existent – theses are the operators who aren’t on social media or who post infrequently over long periods of time. They can’t possibly understand how far behind they are, or the volume of brand awareness and sales they are missing out on. A jump in class from ‘non-existent’ to ‘smart’ would add %£ to their bottom-line quicker than anything else they could do this year.

Stop Selling

Broken record selling is a real turn off for consumers; they don’t want food/drink offers and pictures taking up valuable space in their social feeds and inboxes every day. Restaurants need a story not a sales pitch. Get people engaged with your brand, your people and your culture, it’s what ultimately sets your restaurant apart from the competition.

Email Ain’t Dead

Email was the best direct consumer communication method until social media came around, but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. Mailing lists are extremely effective when executed correctly, besides not everyone has social media. Just make sure your message conveys your brand, not your desperation to sell.

Get Down with the Locals

Friendships, partnerships and collaborations with local people and businesses will create opportunities to sell product and build brand awareness. Bringing local people together to build meaningful relationships will provide the core foundations to build your business and improve sales in the long term.

Hostess with the Mostest

Hosting events and creating experiences currently provides the most value for both operators and consumers. Whether it’s a ticketed tasting experience or providing space for a community get-together, make sure you’re hosting strategically to get the most brand awareness, sales conversion, or combination of the two.

Upselling

Enhancing a guest’s experience whilst improving your bottom line is a bit of a win-win. Tiering product upsells, pairing foods and training front of house teams to provide recommendations is a flawless strategy, providing your guests want to be sold to. It’s great for team motivation and incentives and provides an opportunity to try new products and increase knowledge.

Biz Dev

Employing someone to look after business development can be pretty handy. Make sure you create clear, realistic targets and expectations for the role and don’t blur any lines; they’re not a receptionist or there to wait tables, you need them 100% committed to driving the business forwards, even if that means working off site where there are no distractions.

It Takes Time

Increasing sales, in the right way, takes time. You need to put in the work behind the scenes; get proactive, create a killer strategy, plan for distribution and conversion. It won’t happen overnight but the full price guests, demand for your products, and heighted brand popularity will make it worthwhile in the long run.

Lunch Scape

The lunch landscape has changed over the last few years, with everything from healthy trends, delivery dining, cost of living and increased competition all factoring in to our daily lives.

Lunch is certainly an area most restaurants are struggling with at the moment – it’s not that people aren’t eating lunch any more, rather that they’re busier, have different priorities and are finding alternatives to suit their needs.

Healthy eating continues to have an effect on buying behaviors especially on weekdays with more and more people becoming conscious of the way they look and what they are consuming, often opting for low-calorie/protein rich items or vegan dishes. Vegan is an interesting area as it’s become both a trend and a lifestyle, years ago vegan was either unheard of or seen as a bit strange, but nowadays people are taking it seriously and it’s more popular than ever, with vegan diet plans creeping in for non-vegans and vegan restaurants starting to appear in all major cities.

Increased sales of gym memberships and meal plans are also responsible for the decline in lunchtime trade with consumers opting to squeeze a quick session in at lunch and grabbing something quick and easy as a result. Meal plans are no longer just for people dedicated to fitness, they’re becoming popular with busy professionals who don’t have time to dine out or prepare something at home – I see this becoming a much larger sector and an area for restaurants and delivery services to take advantage of over the next decade.

It’s not all healthy; takeaway sales have seen a huge rise over the last two years with people favoring lower costs and the convenience for working meal times around their day – of course we can’t forget the lunch box crew, often a mixture of saving time, money, eating healthy and the convenience of being able to eat wherever or whatever you want.

There’s now a middle ground between leaving the office for lunch and not, and it’s a sector I’m hugely interested in, “delivery-dining” (no one seems to use that phrase, so I’m coining it as my own). Over the past 24 months we’ve seen the explosion of Jumia Food, Yum & UberEATS in to the market, which makes dining at your favorite restaurant without leaving the office a reality. This technology lead sector is growing in popularity and expanding faster than any other F&B concept I’ve ever seen, it’s 100% something I advise every operator should be involved with – I’m particularly interested to follow developments U.S. following Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods earlier this year.

For consumers who are venturing out for lunch the amount of restaurants to choose from is immense, making it difficult for operators to capture covers let alone retain them on a regular basis. In order to maximize on lunch trade it’s crucial to look at what the brand’s target customers need, the product and price points they require and partner with a delivery service to increase accessibility where possible.

Of course with fierce competition come heavy promotions, but I don’t believe every venue should adopt these promos just to get bums on seats. You need to stay true to your brand and not damage your reputation by cheapening it or changing tact too much, that’s why I suggest researching what your customers actually need and work backwards to attract them. Maybe they need speed, so an express menu would be the way forward… maybe you’re a family venue and implementing a kids offer would help attract more clientele… if you’re looking to attract a more premium/occasional crowd, champagne and afternoon tea could do the trick… or at the end of the day, maybe it really is just price – so hit that heavy promotion button and go for gold – but remember even the cheapest restaurant deal in the city isn’t financially viable for most guests on a daily basis, and it’s no fun if you’re not making profit either.