As part of your customer service ethic and indeed to start conveying additional promotional offers you should start to send out a monthly newsletter to all of your existing and potential new customers. In an ideal world, this would be undertaken via email, which takes less effort and saves the cost of envelopes and stamps. Topics in the newsletter may include staff profiles, latest specials, wine of the month and any current offers that are running. Be very aware that your regular communication is not considered spam. People should look forward to receiving it, as they know it will add value to their lives, by being either educational or entertaining or preferably both.
The newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with your customers, market to your prospects and ask for feedback. In this, it may be deemed as being quite unique as very few restaurants currently use this method. One editorial idea may be to do an interview feature on a client. Any costs involved in putting this together might be offset by getting one of your suppliers to start sponsoring it. Scour the Internet for ideas on how other restaurants, clubs or bars keep in touch with members on a regular basis. Try and send your newsletter at least monthly, and to make it interesting you may consider including the following:
- Seasonal food tips & recipes
- Celebrity cookbooks to read
- Upcoming events
- Sommelier’s Recommendations
- Kitchen secrets
- Monthly members benefits
- New menu items
- Partner offers
- Client testimonials
- Coupons and incentives
Sending your newsletter out by email is the most cost-effective way for you to reach your audience, you should make this activity a priority every month, and you should see a great return on your efforts. Remember to include a link for your customers to forward to their friends, and include any partners on this mailing so that they can forward to their database.
Many consultants over the years have put forward a host of different business models to small and medium companies to follow for success. Well, I am of the view that one can really fit all. This model is used by some of the United Kingdom’s largest successful companies and I cannot recommend it highly enough for hospitality businesses. It goes as follows.
Financial Health = Operational competence + Marketing performance
Financials would include cash in hand, debtor and creditor days, gross & net margins, liquidity ratios etc
Marketing includes new customer acquisition programs, customer retention, repeat business, market position, brand perception of both competition and customers, selling effectiveness, return on your advertising spend amongst others.
What is fascinating is how the vast majority of restaurants score themselves so similarly out of ten for each of these business measurements. Experience says that most people put themselves in the region of sixes and sevens for financial health. In other words, not bad but definitely room for improvement. Marketing normally witnesses the lowest score around five or six. This would appear to highlight that if restaurants are going to dramatically improve their financial positions, by far their largest opportunity lies in getting better at marketing their food and service offer.