Having worked with businesses in a marketing capacity for the past 20+ years, it doesn’t faze me to see restaurants come and go. I think the statistics run 3 out of every 4 restaurants fail. Sometimes it’s poor planning, other times it’s lack of capital or experience, but in the end, it usually boils down to one of three things:
- lousy food
- food costs are too high
- lack of marketing
Why do I say this? We know that bad food and service will drive people away, not understanding your food costs or portion control can also sink a business. But, too often, restaurants and food service providers think that if they have a physical location people will come. Owners will put an entire establishment together and their marketing plan is an afterthought.
What got me writing this piece was an article I read in the Boston Globe – Globe South. Under the Community Briefing was an announcement under Dedham and it read:
Regina’s Bakery Closes
Regina’s Bakery, which opened during the summer of 2012 in the midst of the Dedham Square improvements project, closed this week. In an announcement on the bakery’s Facebook page on January 26, the owners said the months of construction and the lack of advertising made it difficult for them to maintain their business. Amy Haelsen, executive director of Dedham Square Circle, said in an interview Wednesday the Knights of Columbus will be fielding inquires about the space in their building. Haelsen said she was at the bakery often and that the business closing wasn’t for lack of involvement by the owners.
As I went to investigate the type of advertising they used, I found they didn’t have a website. A website is one of the first things you need if you want people to be able to find you, period. I always say there are two types of websites:
- Credibility Websites – Basic static website with 5-10 pages that allow an individual to type in the domain name and learn about a company or individual. It doesn’t perform well in an organic search.
- Searchable Websites – Static website integrated with a blog allowing the ability to create numerous pages over a period of time. There are SEO (search engine optimization) strategies implemented. These types of sites perform well in organic searches.
Regina’s Bakery also relied on Facebook to get their message out to their customer base. Starting at the end of 2012 and through 2013, Facebook was slowly cutting back on the number of fans who saw your posts. Today, if you want your fans to see your posts and updates, you need to pay to boost your post. Facebook isn’t free anymore for businesses. Only 5-10% of your fan base is seeing your post. If you aren’t paying, then you have to post consistently (2-3 times a day) to create basic engagement.
Small local restaurants and food service businesses have a BIG marketing nut to crack in the future. Their ability to exist won’t be based on the atmosphere or on how good the food is, it will be based on whether their customers can find them and engage.
Written by Tricia White .