Secret Sauce - The Restaurant Marketing Podcast

We discover the ingredients of your Restaurant's secret sauce. SEO, Facebook, Twitter, emails, coupons, yield utilization, USPs, Menu engineering, direct mail, partnerships - there are many ingredients for creating your Secret Sauce and with the right Secret Sauce you can find more customers and turn them into repeat customers. We deconstruct the recipes, so you can increase increase turnover, increase profit and maybe decrease the amount of time you spend working in your Restaurant.
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Secret Sauce - The Restaurant Marketing Podcast





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Mar 14, 2018

This podcast started with an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that described Menulog as "the business partner he never wanted".

We look at Restaurant Brandjacking and websites set up by online aggregators which look like the web

Adwords Arbitrage.  We discuss how restaurants can advertise on Google Adwords and get clicks to their platforms, not your website.  We talked about this with Kyle Welter who used to work at Google and understands how big companies use this practice.

We discuss how the margins that restaurants are charged by online aggregators and how some restaurants are dealing with the large fees that they are charged.  

How does the restaurant circle of life work and how can you avoid being of the restaurants that fails.

Domain squatting - We have issues with big companies like Menulog registering domains 'on behalf' of restaurants.  This becomes their property and they will build one of their websites, which don't have your phone number and don't havedirect contact details for your Restaurant.  Each order coming from that website is charged the commission that they normally charge.

Variable commission campaigns - restaurants are now getting a better placement in the online aggregator platforms by paying higher commission.  We have seen this with Grub Hun in the United States.  

Vertical integration risk - Are the delivery companies like UberEats and Deliveroo looking to cook their own food?  Deliveroo Editions is just one step away from Deliveroo cutting the Restaurant out of the entire picture for their business.  As they look to increase profit margins, I think that it is a really big risk for restaurants.  The restaurants are low cost with very low property costs.  If they learn to cook, they could be very difficult to compete against.

Franchise restaurants are starting to look at delivery options and online ordering aggregators.  This may squeeze out the small restaurants that were the traditional customers of the aggregators.

Is your brand at risk from other companies?  Brand risk is increasing as big companies work to build their brands, not yours.

Risks to the restaurants when using delivery companies include the lose of control over the time and delivery service that is provide.  We discuss some of the interesting stories about delivery riders from the big delivery companies.

The risks for UberEats and Deliveroo include whether the deliver rider is an independant contractor or an employee.  There will be more scrutiny on this, especially around the minimum wages.  What is UberEats long term plan - we discuss their race against time.

Are battery powered delivery scooters are viable option for Restaurants to build out their own delivery service?

Have you thought out about pick up only services for your restaurant?  It is the perfect accompaniment for a restaurant with spare kitchen capacity.

Are you using a Restaurant loyalty campaign for your online orders?  Our Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system (FROLO) provides a built in loyalty campaign that works really well to increase the frequency of customer purchases.  FROLO supports a receipt printer, SMS notifications and even a mobile orders management system.

Drive your customers to Order Direct and Save!

It's good for customers and great for you! :)





Mar 5, 2018

Oohbah Butler is a journalist who writes for Vice.  He used to be employed to write fake reviews on Tripadvisor, getting paid £10 for each review.  He had concerns about the impact that the fake reviews were having, so he created a crappy website for the Shed at Dulwich, a restaurant that only existed on the High Street of his mind and started getting his friends to write reviews for it.

In April 2017 - he set up the Restaurant and it is appointment only.  His menu was based on emotions.  He went from  being ranked 18,000 to the top 1,500 restaurants in a couple of months.

The phone starts to ring (he bought a burner phone for the restaurants).  He often didn't answer the phone, so people were thinking that they were very successful.  Nothing gets a queue like a queue!  If he did answer the phone, he said they were booked out for 6 weeks and hang up,

August - number 156.  The restaurant is getting job applications.

Gets the restaurant to number 30.  There are people looking in the street for where it is.

Tripadvisor contacts him and they are the number 1 restaurant on Tripadvisor.  

Oohbah decides to go to the next level, so he opens the restaurant for a night.  Have a listen to find out how the opening night goes.

His experiment was to see if a Fake Restaurant could be popular on Tripadvisor.  

There are important lessons for Restaurants about how platforms like Tripadvisor can be gamed and also how you can use demand management to your advantage.

This is also an example of the Emporer's new Clothes.  

This also highlights the issues with the Tripadvisor algorithm and just how it doesn't work.  I've given up on Tripadvisor because of the number of Restaurants I've been to that are rally highly rated on Tripadvisor, but the Restaurant turns out to be awful.  

There is a significant difference between Google and Facebook ratings and there could be an issue with people not given their real details making the reviews.

Oohbah's story on the Shed at Dulwich went viral when he came clean with what he had done.  

We also look at the the viral marketing from the White Moose Cafe and how their response created a different kind of viral response.  Their approach is a lot riskier, but highly effective for them.  

Our advice is to avoid Yelp entirely.  It has very expensive marketing campaigns that some restaurants have found to be nearly useless.

Feb 27, 2018

Woo Hoo! You've just done a weeks' worth of Restaurant Marketing.

Feb 27, 2018

Find out what works and what doesn't with your Restaurant Marketing plan.

Feb 27, 2018

Email Marketing - The simplest and cheapest way to fill a Restaurant on a Midwinter's Tuesday night

Feb 27, 2018

Facebook is pay to play now. This is a great thing. The budgets are low, the returns are high.

Feb 27, 2018

Some sites change every week, some haven't changed since 2002

Feb 27, 2018

When did you last post to your Restaurant's Facebook page?

Feb 27, 2018

The Menu is the critical in most restaurants, it is part sales, part marketing, part art, part science, and part soul and part passion - yet so few people work to improve it.

Feb 27, 2018

It's a management truism that gets measured gets managed, that goes for Restaurant Marketing as well.

Dec 12, 2017

Last podcast covered the trends and the megatrend for indie restaurants.  We look at the trends for restaurants we see in 2018.

5.  Experience Design – VR experience at Restaurant Lume, Saved by the Max in Chicago and now LA.  These are examples of restaurants that are doing a great job with designeing an experience.  Where there is experience, there is margin!

6.  Zero waste – decrease food costs and environmentally responsible.  Consumers are looking for more opportunities to dine at eco friendly restaurants.

7.  Meal labelling – In an effort to improve health, consumers are a lot more interested in the ingredients that are in the meals that they are eating and the carbs and fats in the meals, allowing them to make better choices. 

8.  Health – Flexitarianism and a growing trend towards people’s changing tastes as they look for a more healthy diet.  People will still want to have a great experience, but decouple it from being a ‘naughty treat’.  How can you improve the healthy benefits of your food.  Sub niching towards meals like ketogenic meals.

9.  Hyperlocal – building an ecosystem around the local area.  Food precincts, partner with other restaurants and other businesses to leverage different strengths.

10.  Fine casual – providing elements of fine dining with a casual dining type experience.  Bring those elements into a medium price point.  Expensive cutlery in a hamburger joint with table service enabling them to increase the price point that is sustainable.

11.  Cuisine – More non traditional cuisines like Israeli, Filippino and Eastern European cuisine based restaurants.  These restaurants traditionally target their expat market, but the focus will be on building that cuisines brand and building a strong repeat customer base out of locals who have never experienced that culture.

12.  Menu experimentation – more weird things are going to appear, like chicken donuts.

13.  Story telling – What is your authentic, passionate story?  How does it relate to your customers and how are you going to tell that story?

14.  Marketing – Restaurants will be forced to start taking their marketing a lot more seriously.  Running Facebook ads will become increasingly popular.  We see only 5% of indie restaurants running Facebook ads and that will increase dramatically next year.  Facebook videos – this is really the hottest marketing tool available to restaurants today.  More restaurants will look at those restaurants   killing it on FB videos and think “why not me?” and after those first couple of awkward videos, you will see a big improvement in return.  (Have a look at some of our first videos – they were awful!)


Dec 10, 2017

The changes we are seeing are:

Changing / Evolving consumer tastes - looking for new experiences.

Workforce management - the skills shortage is will drive significant change as restaurants look to manage their teams better in the face of declining numbers of people choosing hospitality careers.

Profitability will be the mega trend for the next 5 years.  More restaurants are saying that it has never been harder to run a profitable restaurant.

Profitability is becoming increasingly important with increasing costs in a lot of areas and some tech companies becoming increasingly aggressive in the fees that they are charging.

 Culture driven dining will become increasingly important with Restaurants looking for better ways to hire and retain the best staff in order to create the experiences for consumers that they need to create in order to be competitive.

 More technology in Restaurants, especially as there is more tech available that is no cost or low cost that can make a big difference for a small business.

 Ordering Commoditisation – Menulog, Just Eat, Delivery Hero, Deliveroo and UrbanEats are changing take out and delivery fundamentally and it is creating massive cost pressures for Restaurants.  This will see more restaurants leaving the platforms as well as a consumer backlash as they see decreasing quality from financially struggling restaurants.

 Lease Innovation – Restaurants will look for different solutions to the traditional lease.  Looking at different spaces and an increasing in the ‘shipping container’ kitchen that Deliveroo has pioneered, but with the Restaurants in control of the process.

Nov 26, 2017

6 - Marketing is all about discounting.  A lot of Restaurants already discount, especially if you are doing lunch or breakfast meals.  We look at dynamic yield pricing for Restaurants.

7 - We are killing it on Instagram, (or Twitter or Snapchat) - we don't need any other marketing.  Marketing must, Must, MUST be tied to revenue and too many people think that having 100,000 people following them on Instagram, but you can't meet payroll with Instagram followers or likes. 

8 - Our third party provider does all of our marketing.  Restaurants using people like Menulog, Dimmi, OpenTable, Just Eat, GrubHub, think that they are doing marketing on their behalf.  The 3rd parrty providers do marketing on their own behalf, not yours, especially, 

9- We can't afford a $1,000 a month marketing budget.  We have restaurants doing 1,000 seats a month.  With Dimmi that is $1,000 a month!  We recommend spending $3 - $10 a day on Facebook marketing.  We are also looking at a results driven marketing campaign as well.  Too many people are spending $3,000 a month with companies that aren't focused on revenue.

10 - We need to do brand marketing.  You should always be looking at your sales funnel and drive people into the funnel.  Great social media driving customers to websites that tell an engaging story and convert with great photos and menus and customer experiences.

11 - I am too old to do the marketing for my Restaurant.  This is a poor excuse.  If it is your restaurant, it is your story that your customers want to hear and Restaurant Marketing isn't Rocket Science.  Anyone can learn the basics of the tools that work really well to help you tell your Restaurant's story.

12 - I already have a website.  Restaurant owners don't want a Restaurant Website, they want a Restaurant eCommerce machine that generates revenue.  Don't let your main sales person in your team (your restaurant's website) do nothing - it should be working really hard.  Make sure you know the metrics, make sure it is fast, make sure it is optimized for mobile, make sure it tells your story.

If you need help with your Restaurant website, have a look at our Restaurant specific way of helping you to tell your Restaurant's story.


Nov 20, 2017

Wouldn't you be sad if your Restaurant was missing out on $100,000 a year in revenue because you believed a couple of these myths.  We discuss what we hear from Restaurants vs what we actually seeing as working for Restaurants around the world.

We look at Restaurant Dark Kitchens and how they are starting to change the way that food is delivered to Restaurants.

1.  SEO is a monthly ongoing cost - what is this all about?  Restaurant Keyword Optimisation - can be a can of worms and often it comes down to a monthly report only a lot of the time.  Some restaurants are paying thousands of dollars every month for no real services.

2.  If your Restaurants name comes up number 1 when someone searches for it, you have great SEO.  There are 2 types of people out there and you are only reaching 1 group (the much smaller group) if you are only getting traffic when people type in your Restaurants name.  We discuss the secret of SEO and how you can use that secret to dramatically grow the number of people going to your restaurant.  If someone doesn't know about your Restaurant, how many will find your Restaurant in Google - the answer should be lots!

3.  Great restaurants don't need marketing.  Too many times great restaurants with great food are outdone by crappy restaurants with great marketing.  You don't want to be the best restaurant that no one has ever heard of.

4.  Restaurant Email Marketing doesn't work.  Email marketing is great because it goes to people who know your Restaurant and it is very cheap to run and they are a great part of the yield utilisation process.  The hard part is building your marketing database.  

5.  Facebook no longer works.  Ongoing changes to the Facebook platform have meant that some restaurants don't think Facebook works any more.  Listen to last week's episode about Mama's BBQ Chicken and Salad Bar and how they got 1,000,000 views on Facebook.  For everyone who can't dance like Wally, :), it has become pay to play, but the budgets are often just $3 per day.  We talk about our new Marketing University course on running your first Facebook Marketing ad campaign.


Nov 12, 2017

We talk to Wally from Mama's BBQ Chicken and Salad Bar and the process he has used with Facebook Live videos to turn around his business.

The Chicken Shop wasn't doing too well, some weeks needing to put money in to keep it running.  This is a problem that far too many Restaurant owners are all too familiar with.

To try and turn things around, Wally started doing some Facebook Live videos.  More people started watching and he started dancing on the videos.  Over time his followers built up and he now has over 2,000,000 views for his videos.

He has been on TV multiple times and dramatically turned around the his business.  

He has grabbed the slogan 'Flavour, flavour, flavour', after mentioning it in one of his videos and seeing the reaction that people have had with it.

No script - just Wally's passion for his food, his business and his customers.  This and Wally's epic dancing skills :) have created content that has gone viral with very little marketing spend.  Very few of the videos are boosted, which is a testament to his passion and how he has tapped into what people want to see.  His videos have even been made into a rap song by one of his fans!

The effect on the business has been massive.  He has turned a business around that was late on making payments to tripling revenue and being a lot more successful.

This is a powerful story about how your Passion can really be the big difference in your Restaurant when you match it up with technology like Facebook Live.


Nov 7, 2017


Processes - How do your team know what it is that they are meant to be doing and how do you ensure consistency across visits for customers.  Work out where the problems are and create a system around that procedure.  This is a part of winning back more of your time.  There will be less questions for you and less time fixing up mistakes.

Restaurant Business Plan - Lets review the Business Plan that you had before you opened and update it with the reality that is your restaurant.  Look at the numbers and start to think about how you are going to make them work.  Once you identify your current numbers and what you need, that will start to create some of the action steps that you need to take.

KPIs - what are the numbers that are important for your Restaurants?  Customer numbers, average check size, food costs, delivery vs pick up orders.  These come out of your Business Plan and help everyone on the team understand how they are tracking.

Finances - you need to understand the finances because if you don't you are never really going to have control over your restaurant, you'll never be able to manage it.  What are the levers that you can pull to increase profitability.  Understanding the finances can help you with things like negotiating the lease.

Menu - Your menu is an important sales tool for your Restaurant.  How hard is your menu working?  Have you ever costed the menu?  Too many restaurants don't cost the menu and go out of business as a consequence.  COST THE MENU!  Do it today.  How many items are on the menu?  How long do they take to prepare?  How much of the throughput of the kitchen do some items take up?  Marketable, costed items that can be prepared quickly are critical to the restaurant.

Marketing - last but least, marketing.  You need to fix the other issues before you look at the marketing.  If the food is not great, you don't want more people coming in.  You want your product and experience to be great before you start marketing.  What is the USP, what is your story and how are you telling it?

Have a listen to the low cost and no cost ideas to help you build the restaurant that you always wanted.




Oct 30, 2017

This is a self first aid program for Restaurant Owners to help you build the restaurant that you always wanted and that you can be proud of.

We are focusing on small iterative steps that are low or no cost for Restaurants 

How do you know if you need to do a Restaurant Rescue?

  1. Are you happy coming to work each day?
  2. Are you proud of the restaurant?
  3. Are you spending enough time with your family?
  4. Are you taking holidays?
  5. Are you making enough money for the hours you work?
  6. Is this the Restaurant that you thought you would run when you started the Restaurant?

If are working 60 -70 hours a week and not loving every minute of it, then you need to think about Restaurant Rescue.

Once you've made that decision, you need to write down the kind of Restaurant you want to run.

  • How many hours do you want to work?
  • How much money do you want to make?
  • What kind of reputation do you want to have?

This is your Restaurant Gap Analysis.  What is happening now and what do you want it to be.  This is the first step to start on your Restaurant Rescue.

Start writing down all of the problems that you have.  

  • Food, money, front of house, stock control, customer service, cash flow, customer numbers, repeat customers.

Talk to your customers and your staff and get some honest criticism and feedback.

The next thing to do is to look at the appearance of your Restaurant.  Are you attracting walk - ins.  Honestly, how does the Restaurant look?  What is the interior like?

Start to look at the Culture of the Restaurant.  What is the vision of the restaurant, what are the values and how does your team know what those values are?  How do you turn around the culture of your team?

Look at the team.  How do you hiring and firing processes work?  How does someone know if they have had a good day or not in your Restaurant?




Oct 16, 2017

We look at how Restaurant Innovation can help you build a more profitable Restaurant business.

What is the link between Innovation and Creativity.

We look at the Triad   Technique, Inputs and Creativity and how that feeds into creating an innovative menu, an innovative restaurant and an innovative business.

We look at the approach to the ingredients that Shaun uses with sourcing ingredients.  How does the selection of ingredients interact with the menu and the guests?

We walk through the process of how Shaun creates one of his amazing dishes, the Sea Corn Taco.  What is the problem that he is trying to solve with it?  What techniques did he use and how did it evolve to being the item that can open the Menu?

How can technology change the dining experience?  What is Lume doing with Virtual Reality?

We talk about the work of Charles Spence.

We look at failure in the Restaurant.  So many people shy away from failure on the menu and in the Restaurant, but it is a critical part of the Innovation process.

We talk about how you innovative when you've got a menu that works.

If you aren't innovating, then you are probably dying. 

Oct 2, 2017

The team at have been busy creating our first courses for Restaurant owners. We are about to open the Marketing4Restaurants University.  We are creating a series of online courses to take you by the hand and skill up you and your team on how to run your own Restaurant marketing campaigns.  This is a really exciting development.

We cover what is the story for your Restaurant, what it impacts and why you need one and how to create one.  We go through so examples of Restaurants with great stories.

Is the story for your Restaurant tie in with your Restaurant Business plan?

We look at Paymasters whose story is about great food.  The same with Aangan in Melbourne.  These are Restaurants based on great food.  Too many Restaurants have a story based on great food, when in reality the food isn't that great.  Not having great food isn't a big killer, unless that is what your story is.  

Jestine's Kitchen has an amazing example of the kind of story that can work really well.  It has a great reputation and that story really closes the deal when you think about a place to try some real Southern food.  (I loved the Oyster Podboy! and Grits!) :) 

We talk about the story of Fergburger and who a story can really help your great food get noticed and to really take your business to the next level.  This is the best burger I've eaten anywhere and it has become synonymous with with Queenstown.

Stratosfare also in Queenstown.  They have good food, but the thing that makes them a must do destination is the view from the Restaurant.  It is absolutely amazing.  

Another great story is Cinnanmon Snail.  An amazing business with ridiculously good food.  Adam is a Vegan and he wants to introduce meat eaters to Vegan food by cooking the tastiest Vegan food ever.  Check out his videos, the food is really amazing.

We talk about how to come up with a story for the local Thai, Chinese or Indian restaurant and how you can bundle that into a story that will help you to attract customer.

We talk about integrating sub stories into your story, so that you can attract more targeted markets in your local area.

Finally we look at Mama's BBQ Chicken and Salad bar and Waleed Khawli. Waleed runs a local Chicken and Chips shop.  Check out his video that has been seen by 882,642 people.  I think the music is a big part of the virality of this as well as his great dancing skills.

Sep 25, 2017

We talk to Restaurant Sales expert Robbie Doyle from Buy Grow Sell.  We look at the tactics that you can use and how you can best plan for the restaurant sale so that you can get the best sale price for your Restaurant.

We discuss:

  • When should you start to think about selling your Restaurant?
  • How to prepare to sell your Restaurant?
  • How do you work out the sale price of the Restaurant?
  • What kind of buyers are out there?
  • Which one is the best one to attract?
  • How can you maximise the price that you get?
  • How to select a broker?
  • What are the risks in selling a Restaurant?

There are lots of tips on how to maximise the sale price for your Restaurant in this podcast.  If you have any questions, reach out to Robbie and he will give you some great advice to help you understand the process.

Sep 11, 2017

The Restaurant industry is often a very tough 

Today we interview Chef Shaun Quade from Restaurant Lume, and how his journey with mental illness has interacted with his journey to opening Australia's most creative Restaurant.

This is an important subject for anyone who is travelling with mental illness issues (which is a lot of us), and also really important for anyone working with or employing people with mental health issues.  The outcomes of mental health can be incredibly tragic, so this is a very important topic to talk about.

The impact on mental health is exacerbated in the Restaurant industry because of a lot of the factors particular to hospitality, the high paced work environment, the incredibly high standards that restaurants strive to attain and maintain.  For owners, these pressures are multiplied by the pressures of running a business, payroll, finance issues and managing people.  We talk about the impact that reviews platforms have in some of the issues that are created by some of the reviews that are written about Restaurants.

Chef Quade has worked at a number of highly successful restaurants in the country and has used his work in the kitchen as a kind of therapy that has helped him.  He has also accepted that his mind works differently to other peoples and we discuss how this accentuates his creative talent.

Everyone has a different road to travel and Chef Quade's is jut one, but I think that there is something for everyone to help them get a better understanding of what it can be like living with mental illness as well as for those in a team environment.

Please listen to this podcast and have a think about how we can all work together to destigmatise mental illness and help out our mates who are struggling with mental illness.

A massive thank you to Chef Quade for sharing his story.  It is a difficult topic to talk about particularly if it is your story and Chef Quade has shared fearlessly his story as a part of an effort to help others out.  Thank you!

Sep 7, 2017

We look at the role that wine plays in a restaurant as a part of the experience that you are creating for your customers.

What is the process that you should use in building a wine list and how does that reflect on the customers that you are looking to attract to your restaurant and what the menu is like.

How can you use dynamic content on the wine list to increase the number of times that a customer will return to your restaurant.

The linkage between wineries and restaurants are increasing to get closer as wineries look for wide distribution channels and restaurants look for ways that they can create new experiences for their customers.  Partnering with a local winery can give you access to the wine makers and enable you to create bespoke dinner events like paired degustation menus, which are perfect for the quieter nights of the week to drive higher revenue.

Should you be dealing with a wine rep or direct from the winery?  What are the benefits of dealing with a wine rep?  How can a wine distributor.

As a chef who doesn't know a lot about wine, how can you take your first steps in creating your own wine list?  There are a lot of resources available to help you skill up yourself and your team around your wines?

What are the important things to train your FOH team up on when dealing with customers about wine?

How do you price your bottles of wine?  This is a big question that a lot of restaurants struggle with.  We look at some of the factors that you need to think about when coming up with the price you should charge for your wine.

How often should you turn over your wine inventory?  Some wine programs have significant investments, so getting the wine mix right and being able to turn it over quickly is key to running a successful wine program.

Lastly we look at some of the mistakes that people make when putting a wine program together.


Have a look at Chris' book, This is not a Wine Guide.

Sep 3, 2017



We look at Just Eats latest profit results.  Orders growth is slowing and they are relying more for Revenue growth on top placement, which is where Restaurants pay for higher results in the Just Eat listings.  In Australia, Menulog has struggled with the entry of UberEats and Deliveroo and our Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system.

In this podcast we look at how you can build a community in your Restaurant.  Looking at a place like Nick's Pizza and Pub, you can see the way that Facebook represents the integrated, community focused marketing plan that Nick Sarillo has at Nick's.

Marketing with suppliers.  Telling the story of your suppliers can really help you to tell your story better.  Your suppliers are often struggling to get traction with their customers, so if you are marketing heir great produce, you may be able to access marketing funds or resources like a wine maker from your local winery to help run a wine tasting.  You can even run joint marketed events, engaging with not only your email marketing list, but possibly your suppliers.

Marketing to journalists.  There are a lot less journalists now, which means that journalists are very time poor.  This means that you can start telling a story about your Restaurant that is newsworthy.  (Hint:  The best place to interact with Journalists is on Twitter.)  In dealing with bloggers and journos, have a think about the way that Danny Meyer in Setting the Table.  Every restaurant should have a PR plan and Facebook can be a great way of driving your PR plan.

We like to use email marketing with Facebook.  You can upload your email list into Facebook (if you are happy to) to increase the conversion rate of campaigns by running an ad to people who have already received an email.

The 9th way of our 8 ways  to use Facebook to grow your restaurant is to use Facebook for market research.  This means that you can have better dishes on the menu and you are creating connections and relationships with people as they help you to create the dishes that they want.  These customers will be more likely to come into your Restaurant to try that meal when they see that meal advertised.


Aug 20, 2017

To many people think that Facebook is just selling stuff, but there is a lot more that you can do with it.

In Restaurant Autopsy, we talk about a Restaurant that looks like it is entering the Groupon Death Spiral :(.  There are a lot of things that you can do that are free or don't take a lot of time, or are free and don't take a lot of time, and yet they still don't get done and this is how Restaurants end up using Groupon out of desperation to try and keep the doors open.

We look at the Lobster Cave's Groupon strategy.  They are one of the few Restaurants that have a decent discounting strategy.

We look at how to run very cheap and cost effective Facebook campaigns and often the budget is just $3 per day.

1.  Sell stuff.  Have a think about what it is that you are selling and how you are reaching out to customers and prospects.  You can drive people to make an order and/or booking.  You can then make your marketing accountable.  Our FROLO and FORBS system will tell you where your bookings come from and this can make a big difference in understanding how effective your marketing is.  You don't need a discount, it may just remind people about your great food.  Don't forget to drive people to call for take out or book, or even as a walk in.

2.  Targeting.  We show you how targeting can dramatically increase the response rate from your campaigns.  There is a huge range of options in the Facebook demographics section of the ad setup.  This creates a simple way to run a birthday campaign.  If yu don't have a database, you can use Facebook's database with targeting.

3.  Retargeting.  This is how to target people who have been on your website, you can even target based on individual pages that they have visited.

 4.  Recruiting.  We use Facebook to recruit staff.  We have found it to work so much better than using Job Boards.  On Facebook, it is a lot easier for prospective employees to see what kind of Restaurant you run and you are more likely to attract the right kind of people.  You can target people in the job role that you want.  It often works out a lot cheaper to advertise on Facebook than on a Job Board and best of all, the talent pool is so much better.

Stay tuned for the next Episode with the other 4 ways that we work to build Restaurant businesses!


Aug 15, 2017

Kyle Welter works at Tock, an ethical online booking and restaurant management software company.  

We look at how Google Adwords works for Restaurants.  Not many Restaurants use Google Adwords, but companies like OpenTable and Dimmi use it very aggressively to come between their 'Restaurant partners' and the restaurant customers.

We look at Arbitrage.  This is the process where you buy something in one market and sell it in another market at a higher price. 

Companies like Dimmi and OpenTable use Adwords Arbitrage to steal your customers contact details (and sometimes they don't share them with you!) and as well as creating the impression that it is their marketing that is bringing customers to you, when in fact it is often your existing, regular customers that OpenTable is charging you a higher price to take that booking.

The email address is the easiest way to communicate with your customers and Adwords Arbitrage allows Dimmi and OpenTable to get between your customers 

Online Ordering has very similar practices.  Restaurants are paying 13% commission and not getting the customers email address, so they can't remarket to the customer, they have to rely on JustEat, Menulog or GrubHub to provide them their next customer.  This is how Online Ordering aggregators build dependence on their platforms and extract such high fees for doing it.

The impact for Restaurants can be crippling.  We see Restaurants paying over $1,000 a month in commissions, and some high traffic restaurants can be a lot higher, which for some restaurants can be the difference from staying in business and bankruptcy, or being not profitable and profitable, so the choice of booking or ordering partner is a crucial part of your marketing plan and even your business plan.

We talk about dynamic pricing.  This as an area that Tock specialises in.  Charge more for your peak times, and drive demand out into the shoulder times.  Airlines drive yield utilisation with dynamic pricing and popular restaurants should be looking at charging different prices for different tables, different days and different hours to dine in their restaurant. Dynamic pricing with pre paid bookings significantly decreases no shows as well.

We also talk about the Google knowledge panel and how restaurants can better manage it.

The best advice is to open a chrome browser in incognito mode and search for your Restaurant.  Look at who is running ads and look at the information in the Google Search Panel.  You may want to try different times of the day.  This will give you a really good idea of what your customers are seeing when they Google for your Restaurant.

If you need access to free tools to help your grow your email database without paying commissions and without sharing your customers contact details, check out:

The Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system.

The Free Online Restaurant Booking system.



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