Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Views on Restaurants

Restaurant advertising

I own a great restaurant in Huntington N.Y. which got great reviews from The Times, Newsday, as well as some local papers. I need to spread the word about the restaurant so how should I advertise? What advertising gets you into a restaurant let me know.
Thank you,


Depends on what kind of food and clientele you're trying to attract.
Speaking as an average person for a standard go-to-daily restaurant, a simple, uncluttered advertisement in a local dining or entertainment section in the newspaper with clearly printed name, location, phone number, and short (less than 5 words) food niche/theme, if the name isn't obvious, should suffice.
If the restaurant is named Blue Gorilla, I kind of want to know what I'm walking in to before driving 40 minutes, meanwhile passing all my favorite restaurants...unless what you're serving is supposed to be a little mysterious.
Extremely fancy script or really unusual (read: ambiguous) font/typefaces are a little frustrating. I do realize it is great to keep the theme the same so you can recognize the sign while driving by, but if I can't read the name of the restaurant in the ad, I probably won't make the effort to go. I'm not saying use Courier -- although, quite honestly, I like that in some advertising since it's not overly used these days.
I feel that pictures of dishes put me off unless it's a great quality, fairly large color ad in a magazine, to avoid making great food look like grilled cardboard with creamy vomit over peas.
Perhaps a booth at an appropriate event/fair serving your best, or the most unusual dish that sets you apart from other restaurants in your niche, may get a few more people interested.
It probably won't hurt to run an occasional buy one full dinner get one free (or $$ off 2nd meal), in whichever newspaper your clientele will read or dining club publication, if that's fine with your image.
Another thing I can think of is contacting appropriate local tv or radio stations and supplying them gift certificates for the staff to use a few and to give out as gifts for winning whatever contest/shows/charity drive they are running.
I'm sure all of this has run across your mind, so not sure if this helps...
Good luck with the restaurant!

If I'm in the mood to try a new restaurant, I will look up "restaurants" in the online yellow pages. If a restaurant has a website that will give me an indication of what it looks like, the cuisine, the menu, whether it serves drinks or is BYOB, pricing, specials, a good map........that has a much better chance of getting my reservation than one listed with just the vital statistics. Tell me if you're upscale or family friendly. Do you have a piano bar or guitar player on Friday nights? Has your chef received accolades or awards? I want as much info at my disposal to make a decision based on what I'm looking for. I definitely agree about photos of food. Unless they make your mouth water, don't do it. And highlight those great reviews - they sure would influence me.
I passed on a restaurant last night because their website did not have a menu. I knew it was Italian, but I wanted more information. I don't use a phonebook anymore - the web is easier, easier to read and gives me more information. I know I'm not alone in that. Don't let them just skip past your name!
If your meals, service and cleanliness are outstanding, word of mouth is your best advertising, bar none.

I;m with PerkyMac, I look up online and then check out the website if there isn't one with good info I won't waste my time. Oh, I'm with Perky Mac with the rest of the comment also.

Oh yeah, very true on the menu online, PerkyMac. My husband reviews prices and platter descriptions online when he wants to try a new restaurant out, and skips restaurants that do not have websites - at times out of principle, saying it's stupid [for restaurants / any business] not to, since it is inexpensive and takes little effort to maintain.
I don't think most people are looking for music to start up with a ton of flash animations to wait through -- I actually find that rather annoying, but really popular with contemporary/chic restaurants. *roll eyes* Bleah. Even then, that's not very complicated to do with the web design packages out.

Add me to the online-menu crowd,especially if glowing praise is not readily available and active on Chowhound or similar sites (but of course, trying to plant it yourself--esp at Chowhound--will not help you). Also, make sure that the relevant websites (local paper restaurant listings, Citysearch) have all your info correct and as much info as possible.
If I am reading a paper, I'll notice an ad that is attractive (Courier, Helvetica, and Times New Roman suggest lazy/amateur/ cheap to me, fwiw, unless its strictly limited to smaller text, not the restaurant name), that mentions high ratings from local press, that gave me some sense of whether I could afford it ("fine dining" usually tells me no, half-off apps during happy hour tells me maybe).
Basically, unless you skew really upscale, a clean ad with press praise and any kind of special will draw my interest. No coupons, though, unless you're casual.

I agree with @renzata and therefore @PerkyMac.
You have to be easy to find online.
Word of mouth is the best, though. I guess if your current clientelle remains happy, the word will spread.

i never respond to restaurant ads. reviews, word of mouth, and zagat listings are what i go by.

word of mouth is the best... invite some influentials and chat-leaders in your area to dine at the restaurant - they'll spread the word to whomever they know... and people love to say the saw so-and-so at the place they went for dinner.
It would also help to offer yourself as a contributor to a local magazine or newspapaper to highlight some dishes in an editorial... it shows off your cuisine, your taste level and gets people talking.
I am not familiar with your type of restaurant, but from a marketing point of view, don't do any promotional offers - that just cheapens your restaurant to the level of a fast food joint.

Can't over emphasize the value of the word of mouth approach. Yes, if a restaurant catches my eye I'll go looking for a website, browse the menu looking for descriptive narrative for dishes as well as a sense for price ranges. Most importantly I'll be looking for the "reviews" section and will watch for an occasional negative as an indicator that the comments aren't heavily culled by the webmaster. Many of my "favorites" got their first chance with me by offering a promotion like a two-for-one deal on a slow night... To reinforce my commitment to word of mouth advertizing, I make it a point to talk widely with friends about my experiences so I can expect the same from them. I also make it a point to share my first impressions, good more than bad, with managers or proprietors when I'm ending my visit. Positive reinforcement usually gains VIP treatment on return visits.
Source:- http://www.seriouseats.com/talk/2008/02/restaurant-advertising.html

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