Promotional collateral used to increase business, exposure, image and brand is more essential to making a profit than ever before. The bar and the standards it reflects are set high and as virtual wizards continue to enter the world of cyberspace, promoting business, tastes, style and ideas, every owner needs to be able to multi-task when it comes to creativity because the playing field is no longer limited to the kitchen and the dining room.
Many restaurant owners are finding their flavors sell not only to those with great palates but also to those who avidly live online.
As the high tech adventurers continue to trek through undiscovered lands of innovation, creativity, marketing and community, what once was innovative and creative becomes outdated and stale. And although we all love to assume we are “thinking outside the box” we only put one foot outside and then jump back in for the safety of the comfort zone.
As community websites prosper and become an avenue of information and an expressway for entertainment, it is time to jump into the midst of community and stop wondering how to develop name recognition.
Once we only concerned ourselves with the likes of famous food critics. Whether
Now, however, every Benny, Buffy, Brianne and Bob has a big mouth and a web following to influence. If they love your food, you in turn will love them. If they dislike what they ate they are going to leave a bad taste in the mouth’s of readers while leaving you bitter and upset that someone you don’t know just poured salt in your wounds.
It may be time to be positive in your approach to random online reviewers. Eventually owners will realize that if you eat a meal, you have a right to comment on it. Be positive and leave a sweet taste in the mouths of these new culinary frontiersmen.
1). Accept the fact that everyone that dines in your restaurant is a reviewer.
2). Acknowledge that word of mouth is now word of web.
3). Ask which sites your customers use to find you. Whereas CitySearch was the Grand Pooh-Bah of websites, now community sites such a You Tube, MySpace, and the other icons are nudging out sites that are now established. Curently,Yelp is a hot review site and soon, Foodio54.com will rise to the top of the cream and possibly give Yelp a nudge.
4). Once you establish your site selections begin posting on those sites. Specials, menus, ambiance are all important factors to have under your umbrella. MySpace and YouTube allow for a number of criteria important to marketing and branding.
5). Have a review night. Once a quarter, invite guests to sample your menu and review it online. The program is simple – assign the invitees a site to post on. When they arrive explain the review process, present a form explaining which site they are required to post on with instructions for posting on that site. Do not attempt to influence their revenue. The food, service, wine and dessert should accomplish that.
6). Before every shift meeting make sure your staff realizes that everyone is a food critic.
7). Before every shift meeting make sure your staff realizes that everyone has an outlet for their critique.
8). Spend more time on the Internet researching sites.
9). Develop an advertising program that includes Internet advertising.
10). Go out and have dinner at a restaurant and post a review.