Another restaurant closes down – could it have been avoided?

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November 25, 2013

Another Restaurant Closes Down


Sad news today.

About 4 months ago, we put some proposals together for a restaurant who had just spent a large amount of money on a refurbishment.

The proposal covered direct, digital and social media marketing for the restaurant, aimed at building a community of loyal customers and cost less than 5% of the money invested in the refurbishment.

Unfortunately for them and us, they took our proposal and asked other people they knew to deliver a few of the elements at lower cost. It is really difficult to integrate other people’s work into our strategy, particularly if it has been done badly, so we didn’t end up working together.

Just 4 months after reopening, they have closed the doors again, for good and it is a real pity, as well as a huge waste of money.

There are some lessons to learn from this for all restaurants.

Marketing is like food

Anyone can buy meat and vegetables and put them in a pan, heat them up and serve them on a plate. If anyone can do it, why do people visit a restaurant and pay a large premium to have someone do it for them?

Why are some restaurants able to charge a HUGE premium for fundamentally the same ingredients?

The answer is the way their chefs put the ingredients together, their experience, their previous results and a dozen other reasons. The restaurant adds an ambience to this and the customer gets a better experience.

An experience they are happy to pay a large premium for and come back for time and time again.

You are adding major value to what naive people think are ‘basic ingredients’

If you are in the restaurant business, you must believe that your restaurant adds value to the food you sell, which enables you to charge a higher price than the raw ingredients aloe.

Why would you then try and find a cheap poorly put together option when it comes to marketing that business?

Trust us, anyone can build a website, set up a Facebook page, send some emails. We know, you are being bombarded by them every day – so are we!

Understanding how to put these ‘basic ingredients’ together in the right way, guess what – it takes a lot of time, works better and it costs more to deliver, but it generates more sales and more loyal customers – the lifeblood of your business.

Like great food, marketing isn’t simple and straightforward

The final conversation we had with the restaurant above, after they told us they had ‘got our proposal done for much less money’, was that if building up a successful restaurant was as simple as building a website, we would all be running one.

That response still stands, though now it is a fact, not a claim.

The take away from this

  1. It doesn’t matter whether you use us or another company, don’t spend tens or hundreds of thousands on a refurb, with no money left for marketing and finding new customers or retaining the existing ones.
  2. Marketing is not just about setting up a website. Restaurants are not baseball grounds. If you build it, trust us, they won’t come unless you let them know you are there.
  3. Don’t be swayed by someone who offers to ‘do your social media’ or ‘do your website’ for a few hundred quid. It is a waste of money and it may even accelerate your demise if done badly.

If this helps just one restaurant owner avoid losing their business, it will be worthwhile.

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