We know anyone who ventures in to owning or managing a restaurant isn’t doing it for the long hours, working holidays, or the money. They’re in it because they love being in the food industry.
So when you’re experiencing slow business and lots of empty tables, it can be a big sock to the gut, and many times, it makes owners and managers believe they need better marketing efforts. While that may be true, you might also be in denial about the true reason your restaurant’s business is tanking: poor quality.
Whether it’s the quality in food, service, or the way you operate, here’s why those things will always matter more than marketing your restaurant:
Your Restaurant Won’t Last in Our Review-Conscious World
A huge facet of your restaurant’s online presence is on the reviews you receive through social media.
For example, Facebook has a review feature where people can rate and comment on your page. Other sites like Yelp! allow users to leave reviews and feedback, which you can respond to as a designated manager or owner of the restaurant on Yelp!, but these aspects of social media are somewhat out of your control. People are going to review the way they want to review and they’re going to give their opinion if there’s a place to put it.
And although many people searching for a restaurant to dine at in their area will take a look at your restaurant’s social media posts and menu, they’re also very likely to check out other customer reviews before committing to dining with you. Unfortunately, marketing can’t change the honest reviews from your patrons, so if quality goes down the drain, so will your acquisition of new diners.
Marketing Helps Get People Through the Door, Quality Keeps them There
If you’re a new restaurant, positive customer reviews obviously aren’t something that you can use to your advantage, which is one of the reasons why marketing, specifically pre-opening marketing, is so crucial to your restaurant’s success.
However, at the end of the day, if someone didn’t enjoy the food or the service they received at your restaurant, they’re probably not going to return.
When you’re working to build your restaurant’s loyal customer base and bolster your online presence, marketing is what you need to bring people through the doors initially, but the longer you’re open, the balance between marketing efforts and word-of-mouth reviews of your restaurant’s quality will begin to level out. And if word-of-mouth referrals aren’t favorable, it’s going to affect how long your business remains open.
Marketing is Not the End All, Be All
All of this is to say, marketing isn’t the end all, be all to your restaurant’s success.
This may sounds counterintuitive to what we aim to do, which is help market your restaurant to your community, but it’s simply disingenuous to claim that you have great food and excellent service when your customer’s feedback proves otherwise.
Therefore, if you’re experiencing negative feedback, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate how your operate your restaurant in every capacity, make changes, and then make sure you adequately market those changes to your audience so you can have a fresh start with your previous and future diners.