Experience, they always say, is the best teacher.
While there are no strict, academic theories that have ever been released regarding the methods in running a restaurant, there are a lot of experiences that seasoned successful restaurateurs can impart to their fellow operators. And as Washington Restaurant Association’s Jim Laube says, there are indeed definite patterns that can be observed among the successful ones—practices that are consistently being done by the winning restaurants in the country, in the areas of business management, marketing and operations.
We have featured here last February how Laube emphasized the way successful operators get to oversee their restaurant more effectively– by working ON the business and ceasing to operate and immerse themselves IN the business. Now we shall delve on one important marketing practice that winning independent restaurants do: snail-mailing a newsletter to their customers every month.
A lot of profitable restaurants claim that one of the most effective ways to consistently increase their guest traffic, sales and profit is through a newsletter which restaurant staff, in their smart-looking restaurant uniforms, snail-mail to their customers’ homes or offices on a monthly basis.
Why? Newsletters keep your restaurant’s name in front of those people whom you are counting on to visit your place—those who know who you are and have tried your food and services in the past.
An average American family, despite having plenty of dining options in their area, would only get to think of 3 or 4 of those restaurants when they want to go out. Those three or four are the ones that customers would keep visiting over and over again—not really because they don’t like the other restaurants; it’s just simply because people only tend to remember certain ones.
A physical newsletter increases the odds of your restaurant staying on top of your customers’ minds, getting remembered and thus chosen more often.
Other than that, you get to establish a personal connection with your diners, too. One of the changes that happened in today’s modern consumer is the emotional component that restaurant diners attach to their choices in products and services. They love hearing side-stories about the food they eat, the chefs who prepare the food and the waiters or waitresses in cool restaurant uniforms who serve them. And what better way to let them in on these personal stories than by newsletters.
We have learned the ways in gathering customer data and establishing a solid customer base in your restaurant, and capitalizing on this data through newsletters will prove to do you good. This is also a great way for independent operators to take full advantage of their local “independent” status in the community, something that chain operators would find hard to duplicate.