Last week I was flooded with emails requesting opinions on the art of the Internet and how important it is to do online marketing and have an online presence.
The comments and questions reminded me of an incident that occurred when I had just opened Chez Foley in
In his loveable
His first comment, “Are you serious, joking, or stupid? Mother’s Day. Are you an as—–? Because you’re certainly not a restaurateur”.
“Well, I wanted to know how busy I would be”, I said.
“I know one thing”, Morse said, “If you open you’ll do more business than if you’re closed. I can guarantee that. Maybe.”
Having an online presence is as important as opening on Mother’s Day. Whether you have a web page or not doesn’t mean that you cannot do other marketing that will keep your customers informed and enticed. And, that is the excitement of online marketing 101. It costs very little.
I continue to believe that the winners of the game are those that continue to communicate with their customers on a regular basis. Restaurant owners are celebrities in their own little world and they need to parlay that image to their neighbors and customers. Let’s face the facts: the reason we are at times considered celebrities goes back further than the Food Network. Everyone loves to shake the hand of the person who can get them a better table, a complimentary drink, a larger piece of pie and an invitation to a party they never thought they could attend
That celebrity and notoriety can easily be used to spurn interest in emails, newsletters and websites. The new age of the Internet allows every person with a community to become part of a cyberspace community. By publicizing your restaurant, your menu, your great food and your ability to shake a hand, buy a drink, and offer something others can’t offer, you can easily develop a marketing program that will attract customers.
Online marketing has become a standard industry practice for many restaurants. It is imperative that we all move to what some still consider a frontier and begin using the Internet as a standard operating tool. It’s cost effective, results can be immediately monitored and it is a very simple form of marketing and advertising.
The facts are basic. If you don’t open your doors you can’t serve any customers. And, if you don’t begin to think of online marketing as a way to attract regulars and new customers it may become more difficult to open your doors.