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: 2017
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.



Aug 7, 2017

We discuss some of the retargetting methods for Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels.  One of the Restaurants featured in the Cheap Eats guide 2017 for Melbourne only had a Menulog website.  It had Google Analytics tag manager and the Facebook Pixel on the website they provided to the restaurant.  Menulog makes a lot of money out of these marketing techniques.  They aren't too hard to set up and every restaurant should have it set up for them.

Chef Shaun Quade's night on Masterchef required a lot of preparation.  We built a website for Restaurant Lume that had the pixel installed, had Google Analytics installed.  It was designed to scale, with a lot of visitors at once and it was designed to show the Restaurant of in the best way.  Chef Quade has some amazing photos of the food and we needed to display them in the best possible way.

The first mistake people make is not having a website. 

The Website had 10 people on the website at once before the show.  The traffic jumped to 50, then to 300 in the space of minutes.  That is 300 people at one time!  It then climbed to 450, 700 and topped out at 1,148 people at once.  The website was serving 25 pages per second.  90% of that traffic was from mobile phones.  This was because people were sitting down watching Masterchef and had their phones with them.

We used an Amazon AWS server to be able to scale so that everyone hitting the server at once would be able to see the website.  Chef Quade had 4 friends appear on Masterchef and all 4 had their websites crash.  It doesn't need to be like that.

Check out the Show Notes to see the video of the traffic that they generated on the night.

Make sure that you have Facebook pixel installed.

Make sure you take bookings online.  Restaurant Lume uses Tock and was able to take $15,000 of bookings in the first 30 minutes of being on Masterchef.  If their website was down, many of those customers would not have come back and so those bookings would have been lost.

The last mistake is using the wrong booking or ordering system.  If you are using Menulog, Just Eat, Delivery Hero, OpenTable, Dimmi or Quandoo, you are sharing or losing your customer contact details AND you are being charged per seat or per order.  This places you at a massive disadvantage compared to those using different systems, like the Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering System or the Free Online Restaurant Booking System.

Hopefully you've got some ideas about how to generate your own Masterchef effect and you will be really well prepared with an online marketing strategy for your Restaurant to make sure you capture all of the benefits that you can for your Restaurant.


Aug 1, 2017

We talk about the Masterchef Effect.  The Masterchef Effect occurs when your Restaurant gets a huge amount of publicity.  It could be from getting a great review on a popular website, winning an award, have a meal or event go viral or being featured on national TV, like Masterchef.  Too many restaurants aren't prepared for the Masterchef Effect and as such they miss out on the ongoing benefits of their huge Public Relations win.  In this two part podcast, we examine the preparations 20 restaurants have taken after being featured in The Age Top 20 Cheap Eats for 2017 list and what happened to Restaurant Lume when Chef Shaun Quade was featured on Masterchef.

The Age has released the Melbourne's Top 20 Cheap Eats for 2017 list in Melbourne.  Here are 20 restaurants that have done a great job of bringing together a team, the ingredients, the menu, the FOH experience and the marketing.  (No point in having the best restaurant that no one has ever heard of!)  

The Cheap Eats guide has just 3 lines of text about each Restaurant, so people are looking for more information about your Restaurant to make a buying decision.  Without a website, you aren't able to tell the story of your Restaurant that you have put so much work into in any way that does it justice.

 You goal doesn't need to be on Masterchef, but you need to have an attitude that sets you apart. Chan Hon Meng from Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle won a Michelin star and he said that everyone should cook like a Michelin judge is eating in their restaurant everyday.  If you thought like that, how much better would you run your Restaurant?

How can you capitalise on the public relations when you get the Masterchef Effect?

In the Good Food Cheap Eats guide

  • 8 / 20 restaurants did not have a website.
  • 1 restaurant had their website taken down because of too much traffic (!)
  • 1 only had a Menulog website (no phone number, no bookings, no emails :(
  • 6 had Google Analytic on their website
  • 2 had the Facebook Pixel installed (THIS IS A MASSIVE ISSUE!)
  • 1 website was Weebly.  It is cute that Weebly is still around.
  • 1 website had Wix.  Friends don't let friends use Wix.
  • Most common was Wordpress (which is good.) Only 2 had Yoast installed. 
  • Some were using OpenTable (no email addresses)
  • No one was using Dimmi - is Dimmi losing traction in Australia.
  • 1 Restaurant using Menulog.  No emails, just bills.
  • 2 websites weren't mobile optimized.
  • 8 Restaurants had not claimed their Google knowledge panel.  (Your competitors could claim it and tell Google the restaurant is permanently closed)
  • The Zomato reviews were 23% lower than Facebook reviews.  Are Zomato reviews a lot less reliable than Facebook and Google Reviews?

These are some of the critical things that you need to prepare for your next great Public Relations success.

The next episode will cover off the technical procedures to prepare for the Restaurant Lume being featured on Masterchef, including how much traffic was served up over the length of the episode (a lot!!!)

Jul 21, 2017

Hooray - Episode 50.  Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to the Secret Sauce podcast since we started.

We look at how a lot of Restaurants miss some fundamental marketing steps and when they get a great public relations win they aren't in a position to capitalise on that win.  Too many restaurants don't have a website, they don't have the Facebook pixel installed, they which means it is a lot harder to build a strong brand and find new customers and turn them into repeat customers.

We discuss what intellectual property and intangible assets.  These can have an impact on the price that you pay when you buy a restaurant and definitely can impact the price of the restaurant that you sell for.

Does a restaurant have an email list?  How big is it and how 

Domain Names - These are sometimes registered by aggegators like Menulog, or they can register a similar name.

Facebook Pages - who is the owner of the Facebook page, who has access to it?

Do you have an unofficial Facebook Page? Is there a site that Facebook created for you?  You need to claim that.

Do you have an unofficial Google My Business account?  You need to claim that and ensure that the information is correct.  We have seen peoples business listed as Permanently Closed and they are still open.  Very few customers would go to a Restaurant that Google has listed as Permanently Closed and unfortunately dodgey competitors may list your restaurant as permanently closed.

Check out your restaurants google listing from an incognito mode browser so that you can see your restaurants as other people will see it.

Look for fake websites.  We see this all the time and there are thousands of restaurant brand jacking websites, set up by shonky online ordering companies.

Brand jacking can mean that you are missing out on all of the emails of your customers.

Check the details of your Google Knowledge Panel.  Many restaurant aggregators can try to hijack the Google Knowledge Panel to hijack your customers.  We look at restaurant adwords arbitrage and how it can be costing your Restaurant tens of thousands of dollars every year.

We talk about how companies like Dimmi can attempt to hijack customers look for your restaurant and drive them to a restaurant using Dimmi.  We wrote an article about what happened to Brae and how Dimmi was trying to steal their customers.

Make a booking at your own restaurant with a new gmail account and see what kind of emails you receive from your booking company.

We finish of with a story of how restaurant aggregators want to minimise the impact of your brand and your story.  The only way that they can stand out in these online ordering platforms is with price, which decreases their ability to really create some awesome food.

If you are having issues with your Google Knowledge Panel, Facebook Page, fake websites or domain name hijackers, please contact the M4R team, we deal with these issues every day and we know the best ways to help you to protect your own intellectual property.

Jul 15, 2017

We talk to Robbie Doyle from Buy Grow Sell about the pitfalls and opportunities in negotiating a Restaurant property lease.

This is particularly topical in Australia, with Sumo Salad putting two leasing companies into Administration because of the difficulties that they have had in negotiating the leases with Westfield.  Westfield, like a lot of shopping centre owners have tried to respond to decreasing retail trade by increasing the experiential opportunities for customers, and this has seen an increase in the number of restaurants in shopping centres with no increase in customers, in fact some shopping centres are seeing decreasing foot traffic.

Where can restaurant owners find properties that have affordable rents?

We discuss some of traps that can be included in a lease offer.

We look at how many restaurant owners buy their property versus leasing.  Buying gives you a friendly landlord, but it is expensive and if the restaurant goes badly, you have a struggling lease and a struggling tenant to deal with at the same time.

What are the different types of lease that are available and how can you structure that with your exit plan, especially when you factor in the fitout costs that will be sunk into the property.  

If you've got questions on Restaurant Leases, Robbie has very generously offered to help you out, so contact him at

Should you get a lawyer to review your Restaurant Lease?  Robbie discusses some of the caveats that can be put onto a lease,  and how they can affect your over the time of the lease.

What are the parts of the lease that are negotiable and how can you get the best terms for your Restaurant?  Robbie provides some great insights into what Landlords can be thinking and the factors that drive the way that they negotiate.

Robbie shares a lot of great insights into the Restaurant Leasing process that can make the process a lot less painful for you the next time that you need to negotiate a lease.

We finish off with the great story of Robbie's first Restaurant.  A talented chef, he was undercapitalised, but with a little out of the box thinking, he was able to get his first start in a Restaurant.  His story has some great ideas in it for those struggle to get the money together to begin their own Restaurant story.


Jul 6, 2017

We talk about Kalimera Souvlaki Art, which was recently written up in the New York Times by Sam Sifton.  How does a Souvlaki Restaurant in Melbourne Australia get written up in the New York Times?

We talk to Veronica Fil, the Business Manager at Restaurant Lume. Lume was voted the Gault and Millau Restaurant of the Year in 2016.

Lume works very hard to create unique experiences for diners.  They use actors, script writers and use psychological tests to work and are pushing the boundaries in the way that food is experienced in their restaurant. The are attracting a significantly younger audience market than a traditional fine dining venue.

Understanding their customers is a critical part of the Lume experience.  With a high percentage of customers from China, they learned that many were not drinking wine, so they created a tailored mocktail drink pairing with their meal.

Lume has adopted Virtual Reality to push the boundary on the way that their guests experience their food.  They have created VR experiences that significantly pushes the limits of multi sensory dining.  By combining the story of the ingredients, the preparation and the restaurant into a Virtual Reality experience with scents, auditory cues and tactile sensations.  

Restaurant Lume has reduced No Shows to zero in their restaurant. This is a phenomenal result because No Shows in fine dining are especially expensive in fine dining.  They adopted Tock as a booking engine that takes pre bookings.  They were losing up to $3,000 a week to zero.  This is the difference between Lume surviving through to the point where they are very popular and having run out of cash and going out of business.

Lume has a reputation of providing some of the best Corporate Event experiences in the country.  Large corporate customers looking for something to WOW their customers with and provide their customers with a unique experience have becoming   For one event they created a perfume for the event, a bespoke menu based on local ingredients of the customer, they had a photographer at the event and used those photographs to create a cook book of the recipes from the event with photos of the participants in it.  The diners get a memento of the event, a cook book that features photos of themselves delivered to them weeks after the event, reminding them of it.  The customer gets branding that will stay with the customers.

Lume is continuing to create cutting edge multisensory dining experiences, starting to work with augmented reality.

All of the experiences have the foundation of Chef Quade and the team creating amazing food.  We will talk to Chef Quade in a future podcast about his journey and his approach to restaurant creativity and innovation.

Jun 23, 2017

We look at Domino's Pizza.  They are a great example of a successful online ordering businesses.  The complete directly against Menulog / Just Eat / Delivery Hero and Grubhub.  They put a lot of work into their online ordering solution, because they need to differentiate themselves from other online ordering solutions.

We look at the prices between 2 orders, one for take out and one for delivery.  Domino's have no minimum order value.  We look at Domino's delivery fees and analyse the delivery fee.  They have marked up their food by 48% for the convenience of having it delivered.  This is a massive charge and something that a lot of people don't really want to deliver the pizza.  They are driving people to pick up the pizza.  Why is this?

Domino's is set up for high volume pizza creation.  The bottleneck is now the synchronisation of pizza cooking with delivery, which is expensive, so they drive people to pick up.  

The Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system  now feeds into our Free Restaurant CRM system.

We talk about the importance of using your email database to turn new customers into repeat customers.  This is the simplest way to increase repeat customer orders.  

We look at how the numbers stack up to increase your revenue by $144,000 a year with a simple monthly program shaping customers to buy from you at least monthly.

Many customers with online ordering will spend $5,00 or $10,000 with their favourite restaurant, but most restaurants aren't able to identify who their regular customers are.  

We talk about the kind of offerings and emails that you can send to drive demand and we also look yield utilisation.  How can you move demand from Saturday through to Wednesday when the kitchen is quieter.

We also talk about some of the Facebook campaigns that you can run.  We have some customers who are running very effective Facebook campaigns to drive online order revenue.  Even better, those using FROLO can directly see the number of orders that have come in from a Facebook campaign, which means that you can scale your marketing because you know that it is working.

We look at the number of customers who still like to make a call to place their order.  Restaurant aggregators like grubhub and Just Eat don't publish phone numbers because they don't get to charge commission for orders placed over the phone.  We are still seeing a lot of orders being done over the phone, so including the phone number can make a big difference in the success of the campaign.

We look at the increase in orders that you can see by offering your own loyalty campaign for online orders.  This is a highly effective way of increasing your customers orders.

Some of your take out customers could be worth more than $4,000 a year, so it is really important that you work as hard as possible to not only find those new customers, but to turn them into repeat customers.

If you are looking for ways to increase order frequency and value, take payments online and get paid in 3 days and to build your email database, not someone else's, check out the Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system.

Jun 18, 2017

Online ordering is a really important part of the revenue mix for some restaurants.

This is the first part of a 2 part podcast on the economics of online ordering and how small restaurants are dramatically increasing profitability with a few simple tweaks.

Menulog, Just Eat, Grub Hub and Delivery Hero are charging 13% commission and not giving the restaurants the email addresses, so it is very difficult to build a sustainable take out business with those platforms.

We look at why restaurants do take out.  Often the bottle neck for a restaurant is the number of tables in a restaurant and the number of times you turn those tables.  Take out moves spare capacity in your kitchen past the bottleneck of the tables that you have, allowing for significantly higher revenue if you have a big mismatch between kitchen capability and in house consumption. 

We discuss the profitability of take out orders.  There is very little front of house costs associated and Restaurants used to offer a 10% discount for take out orders to reflect the decreased costs associated with take out, but increased commissions from Online Ordering companies have seen these offers all but disappear.  (They are starting to come back as restaurants move to commission free platforms.)

What problem do you solve with in your restaurant?  Take out offers convenience, the ability to have a few drinks without worrying about an Uber home. For us, take out allows us to Netflix and Chill, rather than the issues associated with going out.  It offers flexibility and convenience, and it dramatically opens up your target market when you offer take out.

One of the big things that Uber has done is that they have increased the calibre of restaurants that are now offering take out, with customers now increasing the amount of take out that they are eating, which goes hand in hand with the increasing number of customers who are time poor.

What are the problems with Take Out?  For delivery, the synchronisation of getting meals out of the kitchen becomes a lot more complicated because rather than relying on front of house to get the meal to the table, now a delivery driver needs to be organised and synchronised with the food coming out of the kitchen to get it to the customer in a reasonable time.

Using UberEATS removes some of the logistics issues, but it also means that you are losing 35% of revenue as well as not getting the customers email address.

We look at some of the statistics around Online Orders.  We discuss the average order value and anecdotally, Thai has a lower average order value than Indian.

The spread of the number of orders that a restaurant takes is incredible.  Some restaurants take 1 order a week.  Some are doing $2,000 - $3,000 a week! This means that some restaurants have an extra $150,000 a year in revenue.  If they are using a delivery service that charges, they may be paying $20,000 a year in commission and NOT getting any of their customers email addresses.

We have some restaurants saving over $1,000 a month in commissions using the Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system.

What is the product that you offer through take out?  Often the menu is exactly the same as the dine-in menu without any thought to the issues with delivery.  How is it packaged? What can you do to make a better experience for your customers when they unpack their food.  What branding do you do for your restaurant?

Do you have online ordering online specials?

We look at how Qantas uses online only specials to drive passengers to pre-order their meals.  It makes it easier for them to cater for everyone.  They offer online only special meals, which are using pretty epic - this drives people to pre order, meaning they have a much better idea of the number of meals that they will need for each flight.  Remember, they can't just go out to the supermarket and pick up a couple of extra steaks when they are at 30,000 feet.

How are you driving phone orders?  Companies like Menulog, Just Eat and Delivery Hero will not publish your phone number because they don't want any phone orders because they don't make any commission on it, but there are still a lot of people who want to order over the phone.

Are you running "Order direct from the Restaurant and save!" campaigns.  These can be very effective for local restaurants.

We discuss Giodana's Pizza and their Deep Dish Pie and how it is almost the perfect product for Restaurant delivery.

We talk about Sam Panopoulos and the international storm he created by throwing some pineapple on a pizza.  

In the next episode we will look at Domino's Pizza and the economics underlying the way they cost their menu. 

If you are looking to increase your online orders, if you want an email database of your customers who order from you, try using the Free Restaurant OnLine Ordering system.  It's free, supports printing dockets, feeds into our Free Restaurant CRM system and processes payments in just 3 days.  This is one of our most popular products with restaurants saving thousands of every month in commission.  Not only do we have a platform for taking orders commission free, we have a process for building your online ordering business.

May 22, 2017

This special podcast covers the first two days from the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.  The show is absolutely massive and after 2 days we have only down 2/3s of the show.  There are show many people to talk to, some many ideas to explore and some much food to sample :).

We've gone looking for the best ideas to improve profitability in your restaurant, so we are looking at the people, the places, the processes, the product and the produce that is at the show.

People:  Their are coaches, some who have some great systems to help Restaurants and Bars to run a lot more efficiently, we talk to the guys from Grub Hub and 

Products:  We look at some massive copper beer mugs from Barbarian brands. 

Produce:  There are some great new products at the show.  Aerated kombucha tea, and we look at the difference between Chilean Sea Bass and Patagonian Tooth fish.  A lot of the produce has a really interesting story behind it and when distributors are trying to sell it to you, they tell that story, but too often that story gets forgotten in what you tell your customers about the produce.  How can you better tell the stories of the items on your menu, or should you get produce with better stories?

There is plenty more that we talk about and we will be sharing more of the things we've learned in future episodes.

We end with a great experiential dining concept, the Saved by the Max popup Restaurant, based on the 80's show, Saved by the bell.

May 22, 2017

This special podcast covers the first two days from the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.  The show is absolutely massive and after 2 days we have only down 2/3s of the show.  There are show many people to talk to, some many ideas to explore and some much food to sample :).

We've gone looking for the best ideas to improve profitability in your restaurant, so we are looking at the people, the places, the processes, the product and the produce that is at the show.

People:  Their are coaches, some who have some great systems to help Restaurants and Bars to run a lot more efficiently, we talk to the guys from Grub Hub and 

Products:  We look at some massive copper beer mugs from Barbarian brands. 

Produce:  There are some great new products at the show.  Aerated kombucha tea, and we look at the difference between Chilean Sea Bass and Patagonian Tooth fish.  A lot of the produce has a really interesting story behind it and when distributors are trying to sell it to you, they tell that story, but too often that story gets forgotten in what you tell your customers about the produce.  How can you better tell the stories of the items on your menu, or should you get produce with better stories?

There is plenty more that we talk about and we will be sharing more of the things we've learned in future episodes.

We end with a great experiential dining concept, the Saved by the Max popup Restaurant, based on the 80's show, Saved by the bell.

May 8, 2017

Described as the Iron Lady of Hong Kong Private Dining, we talk to Grace Choy.

We talk about the our Comparison Research between Dimmi, Quandoo, OpenTable, Tock, Obee and the Free Online Restaurant Booking System.  We think that email sharing 

Grace is very humble, but her passion for cooking shows through in the videos that she produces and that has enabled to build up the largest Facebook following of any Chinese Restaurant on Facebook.

Grace has an amazing social media following:

She has 41,871 followers on Linkedin and 431,703 followers on Facebook.


The important lessons from Grace are: 

1.  The power of Facebook Videos; and

2.  The power of using Facebook Video to show your passion.

Grace is very passionate about her cooking and that shows through in the way that she comes across on the videos.  It is so important to be yourself and do things that you are passionate about, and Grace does that very well.

Grace manages her own Facebook, and responds to everyone on the Facebook page.  

Her 20 seat Restaurant is booked out 2 weeks in advance.  She focueses on fresh food and treating people as family.  She also has pre bookings to cut down on no shows.

Grace was the first Twitter Verified Chef's in Greater China, even though she has only tweeted 68 times!  and now has 21,500 followers on Twitter.

Her Facebook following has been the basis for a large amount of free PR that Grace has received, including a short Youtube Video that tells her story.

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