Last night, I went out for nice dinner but vaguely noticed the chair I was sitting on was a little hard. There was a thin cushion that kept me comfortable enough for about an hour but at an hour and a half, I thought, “for what I’m paying, they should get some better chairs!”
But as a sales person, I understood. They wanted me to enjoy myself but they also needed me to leave. Those chairs helped motivate me without anyone having to actually tell me “the next guests are arriving soon”.
As a restaurant owner, steep competition and fickle consumer tastes force you to work every angle just to survive. With sophisticated sales and marketing you,
• create high-stimulation environments
• offer seating that doesn’t encourage too much lingering
• make high profit items easy to find on the menu
• bury low profit items in the middle of menu pages
• utilize savvy pricing strategies to create the illusion of relative bargains
• overbook reservations to adjust for no shows
However, tension develops in the marketplace between educated buyers and sellers of food. Some restaurants only keep 4 cents of every dollar spent by a customer and feel they have to resort to tactics some customers don’t like. For example, they may have to use yesterday’s surplus food in the next day’s specials (especially on Mondays). Savvy customers watch for signs that expensive meats are being used in pastas, stews, and soups to possibly hide the less-than-fresh taste of the meats. (Source: SmartMoney)
Customers are always looking for great food and great overall restaurant experiences. For value, some consider bringing their family to IKEA for “a delicious meal at an affordable price” (Source: IKEA). Others take advantage of special offers at fabulous restaurants through OpenTable and “Restaurant Week” (Source: OpenTable).
Restaurant owners, like all business owners, try to meet and exceed the expectations of their customer base in order to generate sufficient profit and earn repeat visits. They know all buyers help them keep the wheels of their business turning, even the most educated buyers, who find some of their tactics unsavory.
Buyers have every right to look for ways to extract the most value for their dollars. So, what new sales techniques can restaurant owners learn? They need more profit without having to resort to more sauce, gravy and butter.
Please provide any thoughts or ideas in the comments section below.