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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Now displaying: 2016
Nov 18, 2016

We look at Living Social being bought by Groupon.  This is a good thing because there is now 1 less daily deals company.  For a lot of Restaurants, daily deals are a very dangerous process, and often a symptom 

We talk about an $8.38 marketing campaign that filled a cafe in Western Australia with customers buying their highest margin item.  We go through the process so you can run the exact same campaign!

We talk about the formula for making a Restaurant Profitable.  This is a very simple formula and used in lots of different types of business, but we will go through what it looks like for your Restaurant.

Leads x Conversion Rate = Customers

Customers x Average number of Transaction x Average Sale Amount = Revenue.

Revenue x Profit Margin = Profit

We discuss all of the ways that you can effect each of these numbers.

This is a great discussion about how some of our customers are making a really big difference in the profitability of their Restaurant.

Oct 29, 2016

We talk about using Prisma, a new and exciting app available on Android and Chrome to help you create very sharable content for solution media.

Building a free CRM System

What is a CRM system,  what is CRM - a process for building information about your customers and leads, and your relationships with the customer

The goals of your CRM system should be:.

  1. Improve marketing effectiveness -  decrease the cost to acquire a customer and increase long term customer value.  eg fish and chip shop.
  2. Increased personalized service or one to one service: Identify people for face to face interactions.
  3. Responsive to customer’s needs: Customers’ situations and needs can be understood by the firms focusing on customer needs and requirements.[
  4. Customer segmentation:   
  5. Improve customization of marketing: 
  6. Multichannel integration: Integrating across multiple marketing channels.
  7. Time saving: Point and shoot marketing.
  8. Improve customer knowledge: Feedback about the food, experience and value.

Your new CRM System needs to be very cost effective, very time effective and very simple to use.  We look at the parts that make up a CRM system and then, how we build a free Restaurant CRM system

Gather information about your customers.  Purchases, bookings, , frequency, recency,birthdays, preferences

Free Restaurant Online Ordering System, and the Free Online Restaurant Booking System.

Big data for your Restaurant.  Every Monday we benchmark every one of our customers against other Restaurants.  so you know if you are doing great and you have some ideas about how to improve if not.

Creating a unified view of customer information across bookings and orders.

Should be electronic.  Called yesterday, had to call back.  She didn't ask for my name.  Only 3 tables in the Restaurant.  75% is take away.  Online ordering service that is charging 12%.  75% of revenue taxed at 12% and not getting 

If you are taking bookings or orders and not collecting emails, you are wasting a huge opportunity.

Mailchimp free for 2,00 contacts .  Many of our customers are using that.

Facebook ads, upload mobile numbers or email addresses.


Oct 14, 2016

Adam Sobel is the Chef behind the amazing food and business at Cinnamon Snail.

Cinnamon Snail has food trucks and restaurants in New York and New Jersey.  Adam is passionate about changing the world to vegan organic and he works to do that by creating vegan organic dishes that people want to eat because they are creative, playful and great tasting.  This allows him to dramatically increase his target market - but also help educate people that vegan organic food doesn't have to be boring.  We talk to Adam about how he can to find his passion and how it is a central part of Cinnamon Snail today.

Adam has done a great job of his menu engineering.  He has created some great looking dishes that attract long lines for his food trucks.  The menu is a critical part of why Adam does what he does, and it shows through in his mission and vision and the culture that he has created with the people he works with at Cinnamon Snail.

Check out his website for a better idea of the great food that he is creating.

Adam has a great story too about some serendipity that helped him get his first cook book published.  Once again, it comes down to having great tasting food.

Adam has some amazing videos for Cinnamon Snail. Check out:

Vendy Awards video

Vegan Food Truck in NJ


Oct 2, 2016

We look at the power of Big Data for Small Restaurants and some of the tools that you can use to understand how your online marketing is working in your business.  As an example, we look at some data from Sensis about how many people go to their average business website.  Without some big data, the information that you get about your website visits is not very useful, but with some comparative analytics and big data, you can really understand how your website is performing and more importantly, how your online marketing is contributing to your revenue and your profits.

We have a quick look at generating repeat customers and word of mouth and why it can be so important for your marketing.

Facebook Retargeting

We look at what retargeting or remarketing is and why it is so important for you.

These are really simple campaigns to run and can be the most effective campaigns that you can run.  Many of the remarketing campaigns that we run for Restaurants are running at $5 per day.

We talk about how to set it up on your website and the process to be able to integrate Facebook retargeting on your website.

We talk about Corporate Hospitality and how remarketing can increase your Corporate customers (these ones spend the most money and often run events on Tuesday and Wednesday nights - maybe your quietest nights.  

We talk about Canva as well, a really powerful free tool for creating great images for your Facebook marketing campaigns.  



Aug 29, 2016

We talk about our new Marketing Metrics dashboard, providing detailed information about customers, orders, bookings and Facebook.

We look at the Facebook ad grid, with Avatars and Benefits.  Who are the customers that you are looking for in your area.  If you think it is people who like your cuisine in your local area, you need to be a lot more granular to create marketing campaigns that really resonate with your customers.  This is breaking down your customer base into the specific niches.

We talk about Duncan Robertson from Duncan's Thai Kitchen.  

We go into the Avatars that we created for Rooster Burgers, our test Restaurant and discuss some of the benefits that we would provide those customers.  

We talk about some of the ideas to come up with innovative marketing campaigns that can dramatically increase the number of customers that they bring in, along with the segmentation options that are available in Facebook.  Plenty of interesting options that can really help you target new customers very effectively.

We look at how to take great photos for your Restaurant, quickly and easily that will help your create killer marketing campaigns and also be great content for your website.



Aug 23, 2016

We look at the steps that you need to take to create a quick and dirty Facebook marketing campaign to get an injection of cash for when money is tight.

First, we look at the new Loyalty discounts feature in our Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system.

We look at the first Michelin Starred street food hawker.  His commitment to excellence is a really inspiring storing.  Have a quick look at the video.

What is the photo that you are going to use?  We talk about the cheapest way to get a decent photo of the food you need for emergency Facebook marketing.

What is the offer you should use and who will you targeting with it?  We look at some interesting targeting options that can work well with different types of offers.

How much should you spend in your Facebook Marketing campaign.

What are the best times to run the ads?

We also look at how to measure how well it has worked.


Aug 5, 2016

 We look at the reasons why restaurants fail.  To many Restaurants close, but we aren't talking about that kind of failure.  We are talking about the Restaurant owner or chef who don't have a Restaurant that is meeting the requirements of their personal plan.  

  • They are working too many hours.
  • They aren't making enough money.
  • They don't spend enough time with their family.
  • They can't take time out from the Restaurant for a holiday.

That isn't good enough.  Running a small business is hard and stressful and running a Restaurant is one of the hardest and most stressful types of businesses.  Let's look at ways that can cause failure and ways that you can avoid failure and start being successful. 

1. Cashflow, leases, cashflow, understanding the P+L and the profitability hospitality metrics that you need to focus on.

2.  How to be objective about your Restaurant.  How can you use open and objective information about your restaurant to make it better.

3. Lack of innovation.  There are so many things that can be done in the Restaurant, POS systems, marketing, ingredients, Menu.  If you aren't continually innovating, you will appear dated when compared to Restaurants uses the latest techniques and technologies.

4.  Fitout.  What is the ROI of the fitout?

5.  Poor marketing.  

6.  No marketing.

7. Poor Culture.  Culture is a soft topic, it isn't reported in the P+L, so a lot of the time it doesn't get the attention that it deserves.  It impacts you, your team and your customers.

8.  Menu Engineering.  We look at some great Menu Engineering ideas and how it works in a real Restaurant, like, where the menu is costed, the wait staff know wait to recommend.

9.  Poor or no concept or Restaurant USP.

10. Burn out.  It is a really tough game.  It takes a toll.  What can you do to get the spark back and the passion that will shine through in bring the customers back in?


Jul 27, 2016

We talk about Pokemon Go and why it is a signpost to one of the fundamental changes that is occurring for small businesses and Restaurants in particular.  Some Restaurants are crushing this change and others are ignoring it at their peril.  

Chicken Vindaloo Dim sims.  Just saying.....

We look at some great tips to help you increase personal productivity and the way that you work so that you 

Look at the activities that you are spending time on, delegate, create procedures, hiring, multitasking the right way, automating systems, look after yourself with sleep and exercise, and last but not least - marketing :).

Check out Confluence for a way to store your policies and procedures.

Check out Eric Cacciatore's Restaurant Unstoppable podcast.

Xero - cloud based accounting system that can cut the time you spend on accounting.

Too many Restaurant owners work too many hours for too little reward -  starting to work on your business is the start of making the change to the type of Hospitality business that you want to run, so you should find some ideas to be able to get that 1 hour.  You will find that 1 hour on the business will return to you many hours of time saved down the track and you can use that extra time to continue to work on the business and then you are on the track to build the great profitable hospitality business.  :)


Have a busy day!

Jul 15, 2016

Profitable Hospitality is the goal of all Restaurant owners, but it can be very hard to achieve.  We look at 7 areas that Restaurant, Cafe and Take Out owners can impact profitability and we look at ways that you can improve profitability in each of the areas.

1.  Your business plan and the sample P+L.  What are the KPIs that you need to be looking at to achieve profitability.

2. Your Marketing Plan.

3.  Hiring and training.  How much money are you wasting on bad hiring practices and how many great employees leave your Restaurant because it isn't a great place to work.  We will cover one great tip we have used to find the great employees, which is very cheap to use!  We talk about how Nick Sarillo builds a great Restaurant culture.

4.  Wage costs.  How do you look at your wage costs? 

5.  Rent.  We cover an interesting way to look at your rent and 1 way that may help you save a little rent per month.

6.  Managing your food and bev costs.  What is the number 1 way to decrease your food costs without decreasing the quality of your food?  Why not use some of the food costing tools from Sysco?

7.  Menu Engineering.  What is the process for Menu Engineering and how should you do that?  What is the number one most profitable phrase in Restaurant Marketing and are you using it?

8.  What is the 8th item of our list of the Top 7 things to do to increase your Restaurant Profitability?  You'll have to listen to the podcast to find out :)


We look at Big Huey's Diner, their awesome menu and some of the great things that they are doing to increase profitability in their restaurant.  

Jul 8, 2016

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?

Qualtiy 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


New Managing Director for Menulog - Commissions to increase?

Paramount Coffee Project

Jun 18, 2016

The 2016 NRA Show in Chiacgo was attended by over 45,000 people.  


We spent 3 packed days looking for the best products, ideas and inspiration to help you grow your business.  There was so much to see - but here are some of the edited highlights.

We visit 2 great Chicago restaurants -  Nick's Pizza and Pub and Au Cheval with Eric Cacciatore from Restaurant Unstoppable.

We finally get to experience the amazing In n Out Burger - the iconic Burger business.

What was the surprising thing about Bubba Gump?

We discuss some of the reason YOU should go to the NRA show and how it will help you grow your business.

There are a lot of suppliers who have a great story - that story can and should become part of your story.  It helps create the experience and where there is experience there's margin!

We discuss Kimbal Musk from The Kitchen and the way he creates a great story about his suppliers, Denny Post and the importance of a Signature meal- even if it isn't that popular, as well as a great discussion between Jon Taffer from Bar Rescue and Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible.

Are you doing coffee in your Restaurant?  Is it great coffee?  What impact would making your restaurant someone's regular coffee spot make to revenue?  We talked to the team from Vittoria coffee.  (It was easily the best coffee at the show!)

The Urban Cultivators look great and if you are creating a fresh and green brand, these are perfect for really highlighting what it is that you are doing for your customers (and how much of a difference would cheap, fresh herbs make?)

Why was it we visited the Aussie Pie Kitchen in LA?

We also look at Torta Bianca - a great ingredient for your cocktail list.

We finish of with esoteric wine varietals and how they can help you with your wine list and profits and lastly a warning about spending the wrong way with your social media marketing.

These are ujust some of the examples of what we picked up from the show.  If you have an idea for a restaurant in mind, or already have a concept, there are hundreds of ideas and products there that you can find to help to tell a better story, find productivity gains or increase margin with better and more interesting menu items.

I have focused too much on productivity, because I am not very good in the kitchen, but I think there was just as many interesting products for HOW you do in the kitchen as there was for WHAT you do in the kitchen.

Hope to see you at #NRA 2017 and hope you have a busy night tonight!

Jun 1, 2016

For many Restaurants, the website is the central part

We talk about how to compare the traffic for your website against other Restaurant's websites, so you know how well your online marketing is performing.

Find out how to make sure that the website is optimised for mobile.

How often you are updating the website?  You should be able to make changes on your website yourself, so you can do it frequently without being charged by your web developer every time you make a change.

A quick and easy way to grow your email marketing database and how that works with your website traffic.

How integrating with Facebook can help drive traffic and customers to your website.

Using to create great content.

What can Instagram do for your website traffic?

Making sure you capitalise on all of the great Public Relations mentions that you get.


Have a listen to the podcast and find more ways for how to increase traffic to your Restaurant Website. For most Restaurants, your website is the hub of your online marketing and the start to building a really powerful marketing database. Some Restaurants have databases that generate hundreds of thousands of dollars every month. This can be the start of it for you! Have a listen now, because if your website is working for you, someone else's website will be working for them and they will be getter all of the traffic, all of the leads and all of the customers!

**This WAS meant to go out before the NRA Show in Chicago. Oops sorry. We didn't get a chance to upload it. However, we are going to do a Show special ep covering what we saw, learnt and did along with an ep on a very exciting Restaurant visit that we did and the session with Jon Taffer and Robert Irvine from Bar Rescue and Restaurant Impossible. Stay tuned. We will get these ones out as soon as possible (I am still on the road in Taipei, looking at what tech is going to change Restaurants.) Back on deck next week.

Apr 25, 2016

We cover the implications of the Menulog data breach on your Restaurant.

We look at a great way for you to work on creating a Restaurant Marketing Strategy Plan.

If you are opening a Restaurant, you only get one shot at opening night.  If it isn't a success, then you are stuck behind the 8 ball trying to build momentum for your Restaurant.  It can be hard to get past people's impression of your Restaurant being the one that is always quiet because the locals don't go there.  Cash flow is a big thing too for new Restaurants, the sooner you start getting customers, the sooner you will have start getting some cashflow and return on your massive investment in time and money.

We look at the importance of your Marketing Budget, and how to get great logos cheaply.

We spend some time getting you to understand what it is that makes your Restaurant unique.  This is important as it can make or break your Restaurant.


We talk about how important it is to hire well before you open.

Getting the menu right is really important.  We look at some of the factors taht can make a huge difference in your Restaurants success.  The menu is really critical, so make sure you spend enough time before you opening on getting it right.

Facebook and Instagram can make a huge difference too both pre opening and on opening night, so follow our ideas on how to make the most out of these killer social media tools.

Think too about the importance of your domain name.  Getting this one right can make a huge difference in your Restaurants profitability.



Apr 17, 2016

Bruce Irving, the Founder of Smart Pizza Marketing is one of the foremost experts on Pizza marketing, working with many Pizza Restaurants to help them find more customers and turn them into repeat customers.

In this podcast we discuss how Restaurants are using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a range of other tools to build their businesses.

We also look at what is required to build your restaurant from 1 location to multiple locations and the mindset that Bruce sees in his successful Pizza Restaurant customers.

Bruce is a big believer in Snapchat, so have a listen and see how he is using it and how he sees Restaurants using it as well to build a loyal following on this rapidly developing social medium.  Some people are picking 2017 to be the year that Snapchat goes mainstream, which means that if you are looking for something to clearly set your Marketing apart from the crowd, now is the time you want to be building up your Snapchat skills and followers.

We talk email marketing and how important it is for Restaurants.  Bruce and I share a lot of common thoughts on the power of email marketing, being on medium that Restaurants can truly control.

We look at how Pizza Restaurants can and should compete against third party online ordering companies like Grub Hub and Menulog.

Lastly we talk about Masterminds - getting groups of Restaurant owners together to discuss the issues that everyone has in common to make it easier to run your Restaurant.

Apr 11, 2016

In this podcast we look at what the Key Performance Indicators are for your Restaurant Marketing.  What gets measured gets managed, so we want to make sure that your are measuring the right KPIs in for your marketing.

Remember - you don't want to have the best Restaurant that no one has ever heard of!

We will look at some metrics from a business and profitability point of view because they are the start of your marketing plan.

We look at how your target market impacts on the types of marketing that you need to do and also we talk about what a Restaurant customers long term customer value is, how you calculate it and how you work to increase it.

We'll take a look at metrics for Facebook marketing, email marketing and making sure that your website is working as hard as it can to find more customers and turn them into repeat customers.


Mar 30, 2016

In this episode we discuss some of the ways that successful Restaurants are increasing the number of customers that walk into your Restaurant.

If you have a restaurant with a lot of passing traffic, you won't want to miss this podcast.  What is the best way to construct a happy hour offer, what role does your menu play in increasing walk ins and what are some of the mistakes that Restaurants are making with their walk ins.

How can you minimise the risk that potential customers face when thinking about coming into your Restaurant?  What is the role of smells in attracting customers and how can you use that to increase customers?

Nothing attracts a queue like a queue, so what can you do to attract a queue.

We also discuss some great ways for getting feedback on why people aren't coming into your Restaurant.

We also look at location as a part of your business plan and how that can impact your marketing plan for walk ins.

Mar 16, 2016

We look at ways that Fish and Chip shop owners can find new customers and turn them into repeat customers.  

We look at the 2 times that a fish and chip shop customer is looking for a new fish and chip shop and ways that you can target them at those times.  How can you use Facebook to find more customers?  What is the easiest way to build an email database and how can you introduce efficiencies in your shop?


Many fish and chip shops are very busy on Saturday night, with long wait times for customers.  We look at ways to manage this and ensure you don't lose any customers.

We also discuss how 1 restaurant owner discovered a database with 1,500 emails that he didn't know that he had.

Finally we talk business plans and personal plans.  Do you have them?  Are you on track to achieve your goals.  Lots of ideas not just for Fish and Chip shop owners.


Feb 18, 2016

In Restaurant Autopsy we discuss the negative impact a hacked website can have and just how quickly it can start to drive customers away.

We talk about how to set up a Restaurant Facebook Page.  We give you a complete step by step guide on how to get one set up right the first time.

We have also created a Youtube video, which also goes through the steps so you can see exactly what needs to be done.

Don't forget to check the show notes at for the notes on how to set up your Restaurant's Facebook Page.

Jan 11, 2016

We look at the forces that are impacting owners of single location restaurants and small chains.

The factors we discuss are the companies operating in the industry, the evolution of the internet and changing consumer tastes.

The trends that we are seeing as increasing in importance for 2016 are:

Story driven Restaurants

Niche targeting - some restaurants do a great job of targettinangiche  

Divergence between low cost / profit restaurants and high profit restaurants

No bookings

Smarter marketing

Menu engineering

The rise of the celebrity chef

Have a listen and see if you are being affected by these trends and how you can better respond to these trends and have a (more) profitable year in 2016 than in 2015.