Friday, October 29, 2010

Modern Day David (mom/pop restaurant owner) vs Goliath (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!


  1. These are very discouraging statistics to the restaurant owners that are not part of a big chain ans system that will support them in their marketing efforts.
    Let's be honest most if not all of the owners of these small restaurants start their own business because they truly have a passion for cooking and food, however, they have little or no experience running a business or how to market their restaurant to the community.
    I think it's safe to say that these guys really know what they are doing in the kitchen and ow to produce food that can get your test buds on fire by just smelling it or looking at it, but why does it matter if they don't have enough traffic coming through the front doors.
    They really have a need for marketing help to keep them afloat and be competitive with local chain restaurants.
    And even if the know the most basic advertising methods, they need to be more social media aware, they don't even know that there's a new way of advertising called social media that is the next revolution on how marketing is done.
    These guys need help and they need it fast

  2. This idea does work. I see the result in multiple applications across the web. Pursue this!

  3. This is a great idea! I myself was a restuarant manager/owner. We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Great food, with great service, can't beat that, but for some reason my restaurant was not picking up the traffic I needed to keep my head above water. I had experience from the bottom all the way to being a restaurant manager, but I didn't have the experience needed to MARKET my business. I didn't have time. Payroll, schedules, inventory, deliveries, and order placements were just the few responsibilities I had to do. My time was consumed by these activities that I had no time to focus on MARKETING!! Spending between 12 to 18 hours a day at the restaurant, one would think that I had time. NOT!!
    If someone presented ME with the idea of MARKETING my business for me at a great price, I would certainly set-up an appointment!
    If I had to take it all back, I would certainly hire a professional with creative ways to draw the guests into my restaurant.
    Now, if you manage or own a family oreinted restaurant or any other type of restaurant for that matter, you know that to survive in these times against the big GUYS (corporate chains) you need repeat guests, new guests, and then more repeat new guests!!! Great Blog, Great Blog!

    Side note. I have friends in the restaurant industry. Some started there business and some have been in business for a while, but they are struggling to get that repeat business or even new guests. If you know a company that might help with their marketing please let me know. Remember, I said they are just started or struggling so the price needs to be affordable. Thank you!

  4. What a fantastic idea! Though I am not a restaurant owner, I do know a bit about running them, and aspire to start one up of my own one day! My Dad owned two very popular restaurants back in the day in which I have gained some of my knowledge. I don't believe this Social Media Marketing even existed back then, but if it did I'm convinced his restaurants would have been even more of a success!
    Now, I do know a thing or two about the beauty industry. Back when I owned my salon, I would have jumped on this idea! Like a restaurant, running a salon is very similar in many ways. This is a fabulous marketing tool for all who chose to use it! God Bless this company, (SOCIALLY AWARE)!
    Ps: LoVe the analogy!