Word of mouth is known to be by far the easiest and the most effective way to drive your sales, profits while building guest loyalty. But, evidence abounds that it’s the least understood in the restaurant marketing process. First, every restaurateur should understand that word of mouth just doesn’t fall out of the blue sky.
As a restaurateur, you are generally obsessed with coming up with all sorts of promotional and seasonal offers and giving deeper discounts to lure diners in and drive bookings over the short term. But, giving discounts - every discount deeper than the last - is rarely a sustainable marketing strategy in the long run. What you should instead do is get your diners to talk about your restaurant and get them to visit you over and over again.
A diner won’t bother to walk the extra mile for you unless it occurs to him or her that there’s something absolutely unique and remarkable about your restaurant. Hence, you’ve got to look on word of mouth as an integral part of your sales-building marketing program.
Here, to begin with you need to stop taking word of mouth for granted. While there may be some elements about it that develop over time, be determined to ensure that every diner touch-point in your restaurant is sufficiently remarkable.
It’s none other than Benjamin Franklin who said “human felicity is produced not as much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen as by little advantages that occur every day.”Little else rings truer when it comes to creating good word of mouth, because it’s inevitably an everyday exercise for the long run. Just give them something to talk about your restaurant.
Emphasizes Joel Kohen, blogger and restaurant marketing specialist “..it [word of mouth] is not just one thing. It’s many different things to many different people. Some people will remark about your parking lot, your landscaping, your exterior, your décor, your greeting, your plate presentation, your washrooms, and your attentive server who describes how your entrée was made. Some will even remark that they met you – because every guest wants to know the owner of the restaurant.”
You can get them to talk about your restaurant only if you can impress them enough. Remember every sense - sight, sounds and even smells – counts. Once they start talking about you, they’re doing your marketing for you.
An age-old strategy to create good word of mouth is to under-promise and over-deliver. No matter how intuitive this sounds, many restaurants tend to handle it the other way round.
Then and only then will your guests have something to talk about place and also become your most reliable, trusted and effective marketing ambassadors. Or else, your restaurant tends to fade into oblivion.