23 – How to Create a Restaurant Unique Selling Proposition

How to create a restaurant Unique Selling Propostion

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We look at USPs  – Unique Selling Propositions.

Does your Restaurant need a Unique Selling Proposition, because not every restaurant really needs one.

What should a Unique Selling Proposition do for your Restaurant?

What is the process to create a Unique Selling Proposition?

Quality price, product

We go through some sample USPs and how they work.

 

Mentioned in this podcast:

Norman Hotel – Brisbane’s Worst Vegetarian Restaurant

Coravin Wine System

Brooklyn Brewery

Bevspot

New Managing Director for Menulog – Commissions to increase?

Paramount Coffee Project

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Episode 23 – How to Create a Restaurant Unique Selling Proposition

James Eling: Hey, it’s James from Marketing4Restaurants and welcome to episode 23 of Secret Sauce, the restaurant marketing podcast. Coming up with a restaurant unique selling proposition.

James: Hey everyone, welcome back. How did you go with episode 22, the great marketing ideas from the NRA show? It’s interesting, I’ve been back probably about a month now and I’ve still got a few more ideas that I want to share with you from the show. It was a great episode, it was a great trip, great show. You really should think about heading over there next year for the 2017 show. Probably the easiest way that you can listen to Secret Sauce the restaurant marketing podcast, is by downloading the app. So, it’s available in iTunes and in the Google Play store. Very easy, you can download the app. From there you can download each of the podcasts. And what that means is you don’t need to be connected to the internet to be able to stream it.

So, perfect for listening while you’re driving to work. I’ve tried to make them as short, so that hopefully just in one trip into work and back you should be able to listen to a whole episode. And the easiest way of doing that is downloading the app, so just have a look. Secret Sauce, or restaurant marketing, or Marketing for Restaurants, we come up under all of those terms in iTunes and the Google Play store. If you haven’t downloaded it, download it already. I’ve been really quite humbled with the feedback that we’ve been getting from the podcast. We’ve been downloaded in now over 102 separate countries, which is just absolutely amazing. So, yes, NRA show. A couple of things that I just wanted to touch base on briefly that I thought were really good ideas. The Coravin system, which is a system for people, so we don’t have too much of a need for this in Australia because in Australia most bottles of wine now are sold with a screw top closure. We don’t use cork anymore in Australia, it’s very rare apart from ultra-premium wins. But in the United States, still quite popular, and a lot of other countries.

So, what the Coravin system allows you to do is to sell wine by the glass where you’ve got a cork closure. Now, this opens up all sorts of interesting things. So, obviously wine by the glass is perfect for, you know, people dining by themselves. A person who’s dining by themselves is not going to order a bottle, well, they’re unlikely. I wouldn’t order a bottle, you’d have to roll me out of the restaurant after that. So, they’re only really going to order a beer probably. A system like this, which enables you to sell premium wines by the glass is going to increase the number of options that your customers have got. You’re able to sell premium wines to the by the glass, because the wine, it’s replaced it by, when the wine comes out that space is replaced by inert gas. Which means that the shelf life is a lot longer. You don’t have to open up the bottle there and then and sell it. So, all sorts of things, you can do smaller amounts which means that you could then do potentially wine flights. Which, you know, I’m quite a bit fan of. I like to try a flight of, you know, tequila or whatever it is that you’ve got going. Because I think it’s one of those interesting experiments, it adds a little bit of excitement, a bit of experience to your dining opportunity.

Have a look at that if you’ve got corked bottled. I saw a really interesting thing from the Brooklyn Brewery, and they created a beer called the Brooklyn Defender, which is an IPA. Which was the official beer of the 2015 New York Comic Con. Now, how many events are there that are going on in your town that you could be the official sponsor for? Now, for a restaurant, you know, could you be the official sponsor and do the catering in there? Could you provide meals to attendees? Is there a way that you can do an official sponsorship type deal? Particularly good, like it’s easy for a beer, but I just thought, “Wow, what an interesting way of doing it. What an interesting way of linking your business with an event to drive incremental sales.” Awesome idea. Lastly, the guys from BevSpot. I’ve been watching a few episodes of Bar Rescue and Restaurant Impossible, just based on what it was that we saw at the show from the guys in their discussion. We don’t really focus too much on bar, because of the fact that, you know, it’s certainly not our area of expertise. But one of the things that we talk to a lot of restaurants about is, you know, the menu engineering and costings of their menu items. And talking to the guys at BevSpot, they’ve got a really simple software package to allow you to track the usage of your alcohol. And so, it tweaked my interest and I’ve been talking to quite a few restaurant owners about it and many restaurants just don’t actually track the amount of alcohol that they’re selling in any real shape.

So, they may do the sales, they may be tracking the sales but they’re not actually tracking the inventory, which means that a bottle could be walking out the door and they have no idea. They don’t know who’s selling it, they don’t know how much shrinkage there is. Really important to be tracking those sort of numbers. It’s one of those numbers that you need to be across, and BevSpot is one of those quick and easy cloud-based solutions that is easy to implement and can make a massive amount of difference to your bottom line. And I just thought it was interesting. I’ve been actually quite horrified about the number of people who just say, “We don’t track that.” And it’s like, “Well, how much alcohol do you sell per year?” And some of them, it’s six figures worth of alcohol and yet, they’re not actually tracking it from an inventory point of view. Really quite scary. Some interesting industry news this week. Menulog has a new managing director Alistair Ven, who’s come across from Groupon.

Now, I think this is a really interesting and quite telling about the strategy of Groupon. And it was interesting because this week was the week that they sent an email out increasing the prices that they’re going to be charging for commission, which meant that we had like three or four times the normal inquiries for our Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system (FROLO), which is as advertised. It’s a free online ordering system. So, you can put a widget up on your website and take orders. Now, obviously commission free. The exciting thing is though that you actually get the email of your customers. So, what Menulog is they charge a fee and it’s a fee that’s getting bigger and bigger and bigger, but they also keep your customers contact details or their email address. That’s crazy because it makes it very hard for you to build any sort of loyalty with them, because you can’t email them. Menulog’s emailing on your behalf, and they’re emailing offers to other restaurants.

We’ve been talking to a lot of restaurants this week about how their online orders work and there’s an Increasing amount of pressure being put on them to offer discounts to their customers and to increase the amount of commission that is charged by Menu Log. So, what they’re doing now is creating an auction system and, as we discussed in the last podcast with Grub Hub, they’re charging up to 45% in New York and Chicago. And we’ve heard of 30 percent in Melbourne for Menulog. So, those are unsustainable numbers, unless you’ve got a really, really schmick business plan that focuses around that. For anyone else, I think that it’s crazy and a road to ruin, particularly when you’re not getting the email address. You might spend 30% of the order to get an email address for a first-time customer. But for a customer that’s going to be moved around by wherever the biggest discount is, it’s going to be very tough for you to be able to build a sustainable business out of that.

So, onto a unique selling proposition. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk about what is a unique selling proposition, we’re going to go through some examples of them, and then we’re going to talk about, you know, why it’s important that you should have one in your restaurant. I’m actually a little bit different, I don’t think that everyone needs to have a unique selling proposition. But I think that you should go through the process of thinking about a unique selling proposition because the more unique you are, the higher the margin you can charge. So, what is a unique selling proposition? As the name suggests, it is something that is unique about your business that helps you sell, okay? Now, and I’m really fascinated by this because the number of times that, you know, people who need help with their marketing or they’re looking for a new website, they come along to our website and we’ve got a pop up and people put their details in there and then we give them a call. And I always say, “So, tell me a little bit about your restaurant.” “Well, we’re an Indian restaurant in this suburb. We’re a Chinese restaurant in that suburb.” “And what makes you unique?” That’s often the end of the conversation. “I don’t know.” “Okay, so you’re the owner of the restaurant and you don’t know what makes you unique?

Why would any customer come to you?” Or, “We cook authentic Indian food. Our food is authentic Sichuan style Chinese food.” Now, I’ve got to tell you, there’s a million restaurants out there and most of them say that their food’s authentic. Most of them say, and I’ve had restaurants tell me, “You know, you’ve got to come here. You’ve got to try our food, it is really amazing.” Everyone says that. No one says, “Our food is less amazing than the guy down the road.” You need to be thinking about how you’re going to pitch your restaurant to customers. What is the core message that you want to get out? And you’ve got to remember that you’re up against, you know, Facebook, Instagram, people’s websites, their email marketing, their flyers, the way that people walk by their restaurant, all of those things. You may just have 10 seconds to get your message across, how are you going to do that? What is the message that you want to get out there? And that’s part of what your unique selling proposition is going to be about, is that it’s going to be very short and pithy because you don’t have a lot of time to get your message across.

One of the things about a unique selling proposition is that it’s going to help you to get cut through with your customers. So, the first that you, and, you know, this is the sad reality of it is that to come up with a unique selling proposition is not a simple thing to do. It’s actually quite complicated. You don’t have to have one and there’s a lot of people out there who are very successful without having a unique selling proposition. But I think you really need to go through the process of coming up with a unique selling proposition, because going through that process is going to help you look at your competitors, look at your product, look at your team, look at your strategy, look at your marketing, and work out where you sit in that. There are some people who are really crushing it when it comes to this sort of stuff, you know. We’re working with some really, really innovative restaurants who really know the demographics that they’re targeting, they really know the competition, and they’re all over this stuff.

The biggest concern that we have is the people who’ve been running a restaurant for 10, 15, 20 years and they’re saying, “It’s a lot harder to find customers than it was 5 years ago.” Well, of course it is, because the internet has changed everything, you know. There’s now Instagram, Facebook, you’ve got all of these other ways that people are using to find customers. And there’s no new customers. There’s the same amount of customers. I mean, you know, obviously over time, you know, a suburb might get more customers, you might get more walk-in traffic. But generally, you can’t go and create more customers, it’s a zero-sum game. If you’re being outmarketed by somebody else, if someone’s get a better unique selling proposition that wins more customers for their restaurant, those customers will be your customers who are going to their restaurant. And that’s the thing I think that is really important to understand is that it’s a zero-sum game. You can get some people to come out more often. But there’s only so many customers.

Where are they all going? Because some restaurants are really, really successful and they’re the ones who have really thought about these questions. And far too often, like, people come to me looking for marketing help and you say, “So, what makes your restaurant unique?” “We cook Indian food.” “That’s not unique.” “It’s really, really good food.” “What makes you say that?” “Well, you have to come here and try it.” “No, no, no. You’re pitching me, like seriously.” You can’t tell me to go to your restaurant because you’ve got the best food, because everyone’s saying that they’ve got the best food. I’m not going to go and eat at all of them. Back it up. In the next 10 seconds, “We are the best Indian restaurant in this suburb.” Back it up, you know. Have you been on TV? What awards have you won? And we’re not talking about those crazy Menulog or Trip Advisor awards. Everyone sees through those. What real awards have you won? You know, do you have your own TV show? Have you got a million people who’ve downloaded your recipes on YouTube? Do you have, you know, 100,000 followers on Instagram? They’re the kind of things that, you know, “Maybe it is the best Indian restaurant in your suburb. Maybe.” But too many people just leave it at that, “We’re the best Indian restaurant. You know, at least, that’s what my mum says. And she hasn’t eaten at the other ones, of course, but she’s pretty sure that it’s the best food.” That’s crazy talk and that’s the thing that really, I think it’s this laziness in people’s marketing plans that leads to the decreasing revenue.

And I find it really frustrating because you can see these people, you can see the pain that they’re going through and you’ve got someone who has, you know, 10 years ago had a really profitable, really successful restaurant and they’re now going, “What’s gone wrong?” And they haven’t thought about the marketing at all. So, unique selling proposition, it’s got to be unique. And it’s going to help you sell. So, at the end of hearing your unique selling proposition I will want to go, “Wow, okay, give me more information.” It’s more than a slogan, it’s going to be something that makes you stand out, it raises the bar, it plays to your strengths. We’re going to talk about doing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis in one of the next few podcasts that we’re going to do. What are the strengths about your restaurant? You know, I’ve seen people that say that they have the best Indian food and yet, there’s no one Indian in the restaurant. You know, that is not a strength. You’re now going to struggle. I personally think what I’m looking for, and I’ve said this before, often you know the best food comes from the restaurants where they don’t speak English, you know.

They’ve literally been in the country for less than 12 months and they’re cooking the food that their mothers were cooking them, you know, when they were growing up. You know, it’s real native food. If you’re doing a cuisine play, like Indian food, how do you, you know, how do you get that message across? You know, where are the photos of you cooking in your homeland? How do you tell the story of the spices that you use? These are the kind of things that are going to start to slowly tease out in your broad-based marketing strategy when you think about them. But too many people say, “You know, we’re a pizza restaurant.” “Okay.” “It’s the best pizza.” “How do you know that?” “Well, it tastes really good.” “Alright, we’re running into problems here.” It’s designed to put you in a league of your own, it’s something that people can’t compete against. You know, and I see it all the time, you know. “We’ve been in business since 1940.” Who cares? You know, there’s a restaurant in the town that I grew up in, Frankston, there’s a restaurant and it’s currently empty at the moment. And people would say, you know, “We’ve been around for 40 years.” Which was crazy, because there was a new owner every, you know, three or four or five years. It’s probably had 10 owners in the time that it’s been there. So, and people kind of know that. What’s in it for the customer? When you’re looking for a unique selling proposition, I think one of the things that you need to look for is it needs to resonate both internally and externally.

So, what do your customers want? Now, if you’re in an up-market suburb and you’re selling the cheapest pizza, that’s probably not going to work too well. If you’re in a low socio-economic area and you’re doing fine dining, that’s probably not going to work too well either. So, the first step of coming up with your unique selling proposition is to think about your customer. And don’t just say, you know, “It’s all of the people who live here.” It’s not going to be all of the people who live here. You’ll have pensioners, you’ll have people who are close to retirement with no kids, you’ll have families, you’ll have teenagers, you’ll have people who want dine-in, you’ll have people who want takeout, you’ll have people who want food delivered, you’ll have people with various dietary needs like vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten free. Which part of that market are you going to be targeting? You know, the people who want to spend $200 on a night, or the people who want to spend $50 on a night.

The people who want to be in and out in 30 minutes, or the people who want to spend two hours in your restaurant. Who is it that you’re targeting? Because too many people say, “Everyone.” It’s not everyone. If you try to appeal to everyone, you’re going to appear to no one. So, that’s about resonating externally. You want to pick a part of the market and you want to come up with something that’s like, “Hey, you know, this is for you. This is for the hip crowd. This is for the retirees. This is for the pensioners.” And, you know, like I’ve seen a restaurant in Toorak which is a very well-off suburb, he appeals to retirees. They sort of, they toddle in, they have their lunch, they take their time, and he cooks the meals that they like and he’s really quite successful with that. His marketing is all around the kind of marketing, so his website’s really ordinary. And he goes, “Well, I don’t really care. I don’t think any of my customers go to the website.” And, you know what, he’s probably right. He’s got a really clear idea of who his target market is and how he is. This is the rigour that you want to have in your marketing plan. And, you know, he doesn’t have a unique selling proposition, but he’s got a really clear idea of who his customer is. Now, internally, this is the kind of thing that you want.

Your USP (unique selling proposition) is going to unite everyone within the team around creating that experience or that product. So, it’s both internally and externally that you want to be focusing your unique selling proposition. When you look at unique selling propositions they usually come down to three different types: there will be the people who talk about quality, the people who will talk about price, and the people who will talk about service or the product. So, the quality, you know, “Ours is the best,” and that’s one way of doing, you need to back it up though. Price is often, you know, so, “The cheapest $9.95 pizza,” something like that. “Wow, you know, yes, I would have a pizza for $9.95 that sounds pretty good. Sold.” That is unique, you’ve obviously worked really hard on getting your cost base down, and you’re able to offer a pizza for $9.95, it’s the cheapest pizza in town. That is a unique selling proposition. Or, the service or the product. And in some areas, you know, there’ll be satisfaction guarantees.

For a restaurant is it going to be something like, you know, “We have the hottest Vindaloo.” Is it some sort of challenge type thing, you know, “We have the largest meat offering, you know? Come in and get our 1.5-kilogram steak, you know,” how many pounds is that, “three-pound steak. Our two-pound burger.” Is it a signature item that is going to create that interest? And we spoke last week about the ramen noodle burger that one of the hamburger chains came up with, and they said, “Very few people order that, but it brings the people in.” And then they’ll say, “You know what, I’ll just have a cheeseburger.” Is your USP around a signature dish? So, we’ve got a couple of examples that we’re going to go through, and some of them are fairly, it’s interesting because it’s hard to actually find good examples of unique selling propositions. There’s a few of them that float around. So, obviously, Avis, “We’re number two, we try harder,” that’s an oldie but a goodie. FedEx corporation, “When it absolutely positively has to be there overnight.” And that was a great unique selling proposition, talking about the product as being overnight delivery, and that really cut through. It was something that their competitors couldn’t compete against, and it was sold very simply and very quickly. M&Ms, “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” Dollar Shave Club, “A great shave for a few bucks a month.”

Now, I reckon that’s great. A great shave, is it going to be the best shave? Probably not, but it’s for a few bucks a month. Very simple, very quick, gets to the point quickly. Cards Against Humanity, so this is a card game that’s quite popular, “A party game for horrible people.” Now, this is really quite an interesting one and I’ve put it in here because of the fact that, “A party game for horrible people, well, should I buy it? I’m not really sure, because I don’t want to be a horrible person.” And this is where we’re starting to see people who are having fun with their unique selling proposition. And this is one of the things that everyone needs to think about, a lot of the people who go out on a limb are appealing to a narrow audience.

That message that appears to a narrow audience really resonates with that audience. So, is there something that you can have a bit of fun with your unique selling proposition? You know, can you have something that’s polarizing? And we’ve talked quite a few times about people who take a very hard line on whether kids can come into their restaurant, and that’s been an old tactic for, you know, for decades of saying, “No, we don’t want your kids to come into our restaurant. This is a fine dining place, and you can’t have fine dining with kids.” Now, that’s one view, it’s a polarizing view and it work really well with people who want a fine dining experience without kids. If your demographic supports that, and you’re offering a real fine dining experience, you’ve got the ambiance, you create the experience, your staff are trained up in that, then that’s the perfect kind of unique selling proposition, or even just messaging that’s going to really help resonate with your customers.

Now, one that, I know that many of our customers are quite familiar with, Mailchimp, “Send better email.” Nice, quick. You know, hey, how many emails are you guys sending out? You should all be using something like Mailchimp because it’s the legal way of doing it, it’s got an unsubscribe function. It manages your email list for you. Perfect, really quick and simple for you to be able to do. Now, let’s have a look at a couple of restaurants. So, Domino’s pizza, we all know Domino’s pizza, “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it’s free.” So, their value proposition is that they can get pizza to you in 30 minutes. And so, what they’ve done is they’ve done a whole heap of work around the logistics required to be able to ship pizzas out to you within 30 minutes. And because they’ve done all of that work it then makes them unique. They’re the only people who can offer that guarantee, you know, so if it’s not there in 30 minutes it’s free. There’s a guarantee.

It’s around the service, and you know, I keep, you know, imploring restaurant owners to think what is it that you sell? What is it that you provide? “Well, we provide Indian food.” Do you? Do you? Now, we went out to our local Indian restaurant last week. What was the product that we purchased? It wasn’t Indian food, because I could have had that at home. What we wanted was some, Tina and I, we need to have a big conversation about work, go through some strategic questions, and we wanted an hour and a half away from the kids to be able to go through that in peace and quiet. And because we were doing that after hours, we didn’t want to be messing around with food preparation, and we didn’t want to be messing around with cleaning up.

So, we wanted time away from the kids, that was what we purchased, not the Indian food. And it’s interesting, in the old, we used to be in our old office, the local coffee shop the only time I would ever go there was when we needed to have a meeting and our meeting room had someone in it. And yet, they played really loud music. Now, I would have gone there more often if the music wasn’t as loud. But they didn’t understand that the product I was buying was a meeting room. And you can see it, you know, a lot of cafes are like that. There’s people with laptops out, they’re having meetings, they’re doing job interviews, they’re doing all sorts of interesting things. But they don’t understand what the product is so they’ve got music that’s blaring, it makes it hard for you to be able to understand that conversation.

Understand your customers. Now, a great one that I’ve seen a few times pop up is the Norman hotel in Brisbane and their unique selling proposition is that they are Brisbane’s worst vegetarian restaurant. So, this is one of those great unique selling propositions where people are trying to have a bit of fun with it. Because they could have said, “We’re Brisbane’s best steakhouse.” “Okay, so prove it to me. How does that work? You know, what awards have you won? How is it, is it the best meat?” I’m asking all of these questions, I’m not believing you. “Brisbane’s worst vegetarian restaurant. Wow, hang on, what?” You’ve stopped me in my tracks, and I’m really trying to figure out what’s going on here. The worst vegetarian restaurant, well, you know, vegetarian restaurants serve vegetarian food so obviously it’s got to be pretty bad. And it’s really interesting, I was doing a little bit of research about the Norman hotel, it was sold least year for seven million dollars, which is a great result.

Interestingly enough, the pubs been around for 125 years, and they served 200,000 steaks annually. Now, it’s actually got a reputation as one of Brisbane’s best steak restaurants but rather than marketing that, rather than going down that rabbit hole of having to prove that, they ran with, “Brisbane’s worst vegetarian restaurant.” And so, great location, too, it’s near the Gabba which is a big sporting ground, so a lot of people coming by. An iconic place, sold for a really good price, partially because of a great unique selling proposition. And just a quick reminder of one of my favourite little marketing ploys that worked really well for the Paramount Coffee Project. They named one of their desserts ‘Diabetes’ and created a huge uproar. But the thing about the Paramount Coffee Project is they’re often doing interesting desserts. That’s one of the things that makes that little café a little bit different to all of their competitors. A little bit of menu engineering, a little bit of innovation. And this is the kind of thing. A lot of people say, you know, “We’re just an Indian restaurant. We can’t innovate at all.” You can.

There’s lots of things that you can do to be able to better tell your story, that creates that degree of uniqueness that makes it easier to sell. And you got to remember that marketing is the sales process without you actually being involved. So, “Brisbane’s worst vegetarian restaurant,” that kind of makes me, “So, it’s a steakhouse. Well, it’s got to be pretty good to have that kind of thing. I will go there.” Now, no sales has been involved with that, the marketing has done all of that for you. This is the power of really having a think about your marketing plan. And there’s plenty of things that you can do, if you’re looking for inspiration, you know, there’s plenty of TV shows. Man v. Food, how many unusual items are there? Now, I’m not saying that everyone should be cooking, you know, five-pound steaks for people or, you know, the world’s biggest lasagna or the world’s largest garlic pizza. But there’s plenty of things out there that, there’s plenty of inspiration when you look at what other people are doing.

And don’t forget, you can take something from another city, another country, another cuisine, and put that into your restaurant because you only really need to be the best in your town. You only need to be the best in your catchment area, that’s the thing. You don’t have to be unique across the world, that’s going to be really, really hard. If you can demonstrate that you’re the best in that area, and we see in the suburb that we’re in the best fish and chip shop. There’s only three, but they do a lot better than the other two because they have built, and they’re the ones who have got this queue. You know, if you’re unique selling proposition can help you get a queue then, you know, nothing begets a queue like a queue. Everyone goes there because everyone goes there. Now, I know that that’s a little bit of unusual logic, but you see it time and time and time again. I see people queueing up for restaurants where the food isn’t that good, or it’s not that cheap, or it’s not great value, but they’ve got that queue. And the people go along because there’s a queue. Your USP should be trying to feed into that.

So, you know, hottest burger, hottest Indian, authentic, “We use these seven authentic Indian spices to bring you the real flavour of India.” Now, automatically, I don’t think that that’s particularly strong but most Indian restaurants don’t do that. They won’t say, you know, what it is that makes their food taste better. So, just that one little catch phrase, you know, “We import our blah from India,” or, “These are the seven spices that most restaurants don’t use that we put in ours.” You know, you could start a YouTube channel and then you could be the chef that cooks Indian, who has a restaurant. People will then want to come to your restaurant. There’s 101 things that you can do, and that’s the thing that’s really exciting. Particularly, when you think about it, because technology has given everyone the capability to be able to go out and do this.

Five or ten years ago you couldn’t set up a YouTube channel. Well, YouTube may have been around but it doesn’t have the results that you get now. Instagram wasn’t there, so you could create a gorgeous looking meal and there was nowhere, it was just literally relying on word of mouth to get that out. And that’s a tough sell back in the day, today a lot easier. Unique selling proposition, not everyone needs one but I think everyone should have a really good think about coming up with one. Think about your competitors, think about, most importantly, think about your customers. Think about what you do well, think about how you’re going to sell what it is that you do well that your competitors don’t do well, and how are you going to try and put that down so that the benefits of eating in your restaurant come across to the customer. That way, it’s going to be easier for everyone in your team to understand what it is that you do that makes you unique. And it’s going to be easy for you to get that message across to your customers.

And I think that once you’ve gone through that process then things become a lot easier for you from a marketing point of view. Just a quick thing on competitors, a lot of people talk about competitors, “There’s too many restaurants in this street.” I think that your number one competitor is people sitting on their bum and cooking up a toasted cheese sandwich. If you just sell food, you’re competing against supermarkets. Supermarkets are now doing ready to heat meals, so a lot of the convenience is now there. So, they’re doing a lot of the work for you. They’ll be cooking the food up and they’ll be, you know, someone can just come in, they’ve got the choice, “Yup, I’m going to cook up that, microwave it for five minutes. Good, done.” So, it’s almost as convenient as delivery. But I think that the main competitor is people just eating at home.

What are you going to do tonight to try and drag people either into your restaurant or to order online from you? And far too many restaurants don’t do anything at all ever to try and drag people, and, you know, there’s some restaurants that I really love and half the time I’m just thinking of an excuse. And I often, I’ve said this before, I sign up to a lot of email lists for restaurants, for some of our customers and some just restaurants that I’m interested in or ones that I like. And I get very few emails from those restaurants, and I think that that’s madness. You should be emailing out, you should be trying to do something every day to try and bring people in. There’s a battle fought over where every person is going to eat dinner tonight. And most restaurants, 99 percent of them, never turn up to the fight. And that’s one of the big reasons for decreasing revenue in restaurants. So, a USP will go a long way to help you fight that battle better. But you do need to actually go out and make an effort to fight that battle in the first place.

So, there you have it. Hopefully you’ve got something out of it. Really just have a look at your marketing, have a think about it. If you don’t have one, you don’t need to have one but at least go through the process. If you’re looking for more customers, you know, visit our website. We’ve got lots and lots of tools, many of them are free. So, we’ve got our free online restaurant booking system which we’re signing up more and more customers to, because, you know, restaurants are really keen to put more margin in their pocket than in somebody else’s. And, of course, building your database, which makes it easier for you to turn up to that battle. There’s no point sending out an awesome email with an amazing USP if you’re sending it out to five people. If you’re sending it out to 5,000 people that is a dramatically different economic statement.

And whether you’re running the restaurant for profit, or if you’re hoping to exist the restaurant, how much better is your exit price going to be if you’ve got an email list of 5,000 people? Our Free Online Restaurant Booking System (FORBS), we’ve taken over 15 million dollars’ worth of bookings on behalf of our customers. And, of course, both of these products are obligation free. You don’t need to have a website with us. Of course, I always stress with people, have a look at your website, and how is it going? If you’ve got any questions, ping us an email. We’ll often say to people, “You’ve got an awesome website, I wouldn’t really touch too much about it.” But there are some people out there who think they’ve got awesome websites and often they don’t, and there’s people out there who don’t even have a website, they’ll be using one that’s provided by a third party which is quite mad. Because it’s not helping you in any way, shape, or form.

You need to be controlling that message. I think the big thing that sets us apart from a lot of our competitors is that we’re very data focused. So, we have over four million data points now from restaurant marketing that have been done by our customers, which means that we really know what works in restaurant marketing and what doesn’t. And every week I get an email, it’s Sunday tonight that I’m looking at this, and so tomorrow morning there’ll be an email for every one of our customers and we go through and we have a look at it. And we’re looking for the people who are doing really successful because we want to work out what that secret sauce is, and we also look for the people who are really struggling because they’re the ones who we’ll often offer just a free bit of marketing advice. Not trying to sell anything, in fact, if they’ve got a website with us they’ve already bought the only product that we really sell. It’s more about coming up with, you know, “Maybe we should put some new photos in, maybe we should target a new niche. Here are some things that, you know, we want to help you with,” because we’re really focused on helping restaurants find more customers and turn them into repeat customers. That is about it. Hopefully you found a couple of ingredients for your secret sauce in this podcast, and I hope you have a busy evening. Bye.

 

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