FORTUNE Small Business:

Tips for promoting a new restaurant

Try these tried-and-true methods, and a few more.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)

beer_for_bags2.03.jpg
Ask FSB
Get small-business intelligence from the experts. Here's a chance for YOU to ask your pressing small-business questions, and FSB editors will help you get answers from the appropriate experts.
Your name:
* Your e-mail address:
* Your city:
* Your state:
* Your daytime phone #:
* Your questions:

(FORTUNE Small Business) -- Dear FSB: What are your suggestions on promoting a new bar/restaurant?

- Peter Jovanovich, Hamilton, Ontario

Dear Peter: The first thing to remember is that the competition is stiff in the bar and restaurant industry. In the United States alone, there are 1 million restaurants.

So it's important to focus on what's unique and different about your business, says Aaron Allen, CEO of restaurant consulting firm Quantified Marketing Group in Orlando, Fla.

Like people, every joint has its own personality that must be communicated to your target market.

"Define how the brand should walk, talk, act and behave," Allen says. "It will be easier to align the operations and marketing with this in place."

Your employees should be "walking billboards" for your brand, adds Ron Yudd, a restaurant consultant based in Gaithesburg, Md.


Hire "outgoing, passionate people who love to pass the word about something new and exciting," Yudd says.

Once your brand identity is firmly in place, it's time to educate the market about your property. Transform your customers into friends and unofficial consultants who help sell your business.

Collect patrons' contact information and keep them updated on restaurant happenings via email. Create special promotions around themes or events important to your loyal customers, advises Yudd.

That strategy worked well for Campanile restaurant in Los Angeles, which is frequented by Hollywood film and TV writers.

When the Writers' Guild of America went on strike in November, Campanile chef and owner Mark Peel launched a promotion to draw midweek crowds. On Wednesdays, anyone with a writers' union card could bring in a table full of guests, and everyone got a three-course meal for half-price.


"It's definitely our thank-you back to our community," Peel says. "Wednesdays have been packed ever since."

Yudd also advises restaurant and bar owners to get involved with charities and community outreach events. Supply the food or give away promotional items at these events.

And then there's advertising and marketing. Allen says you should direct at least 10% of your marketing budget to public relations. Anyone with a checkbook can buy an ad, but not every restaurant gets free press coverage, he says.

Another 20% should go to digital marketing, which includes email commercials, viral campaigns and (well-produced) videos for your website, Allen says.

And of course, word of mouth - whether in person or online - remains the Holy Grail of restaurant marketing.

"Turn your brand into a story so it travels well," Allen says. "He who has the best story wins!"  To top of page

How can Peter promote his restaurant? Give him ideas here.

A quick question from FSB: For a future story, we would like to find business owners who routinely sleep no more than 4 to 6 hours per night. If you're a night-owl entrepreneur, write to Anne Fisher at afisher@fortunemail.com and tell us how you adapted to your current schedule.


Targeting local prospects for direct marketing

How to bring more customers to your store

Iron Chef Symon gets back to business
Features
They're hiring!These Fortune 100 employers have at least 350 openings each. What are they looking for in a new hire? More
If the Fortune 500 were a country...It would be the world's second-biggest economy. See how big companies' sales stack up against GDP over the past decade. More
Sponsored By:
Want to buy -- and live in -- a piece of history? It's not that far out of reach. These historic homes are not only for sale, they are incredible bargains. More
5 ways retailers are tracking you If you think pesky salespeople are invading your personal space, check out these 5 technologies that are tracking your movements throughout a store. More
Moto X vs. Droid Turbo: Which Droid should you buy? Motorola has made the two best Android smartphones this year. Here's how they stack up. More


Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.