Saturday, October 30, 2010

David VS Goliath (Independent Restaurant Owner VS Franchises)

In this struggling economy, what chance does an independent restaurant owner have against the very well branded and marketed chains/franchises like Chili’s, T.G.I.F.’s, McDonalds, High-End Steak House Chains etc.?
What chance?  NBC had a reality show called “The Restaurant” and during each episode it was mentioned that restaurants have a 10% chance to make it past one year!  What chance?  10%!
Is that really true?  Ohio State Research News did their own study and found that actually restaurants have a cushy 40% chance to be in business in three years.
Whew!  Restaurant owners can sit back, relax and smile.  A whopping 40%!!!
The problem that I see is that this includes both well funded, strategically located, heavily marketed restaurant chains.  I would imagine that it’s the mom and pop that brings this high percentage to its knees. 
Again I ask, in this struggling economy, what chance does an independent restaurant owner have against the very well branded and market restaurant chains/franchises?

If they don’t do any marketing? None.  That’s right.  I said it.  If a restaurant owner expects their smiling servers, busy location and delicious food to keep them afloat or make them profitable, they shouldn’t be in the business of owning a restaurant. 

“But we Up sell!  We up sell drinks and desserts, we’re on the right track” says the oblivious-on-how-to-be-profitable restaurant owner. 

Here’s the secret….listen closely…lean in….you need to sell to your customers BEFORE they sit down to eat.  You need to market.  You need to advertise.  You need to be Socially Aware to everyone in a 15 mile radius! 

“But I don’t have the money for expensive direct mailers, pricey newspaper ads or eccentric radio ads” says the oblivious-that-there’s-a-new-world-called-Social-Media restaurant owner.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, MySpace and many other sites are free and extremely effective. 

“I’m already online” says the I-don’t-have-a-clue-on-what-you’re-talking-about restaurant owner.
There’s also SEO (search engine optimization), strategic links, and other online marketing methods that’s available and effective.

“But we’re on and we have a website, we do online marketing” says the bare-bones-profits-is-fine-with-me restaurant owner.

Mom and Pop, let’s face it, you’re David and the Franchise Marketing Machine is Goliath.  Except you don’t have their money which means you don’t have any stones to throw.  You don’t have a clue on how to use Social Media to generate a steady clientele do you?

We do.  We think J  Ask me how to use it.  I’ll help.  Social Media Marketing is a baby still, no one is truly an expert yet because it continues to evolve.  What some of us do know is that you need to use it in order to give yourself the best shot at being profitable.  Become Socially Aware on how to market your Dream Job of owning your own restaurant.  Sure, I like the chains…but I like you too!

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