Number 7: You’re Not Really Selling Food

The Top 10 Things I’ve Learned About Restaurant Marketing

NUMBER SEVEN: You’re not selling burgers, you’re renting chairs to people buying burgers.

Restaurant capacity is the secret. The highest volume, most profitable restaurants are usually the ones that are busy all day every day. Unlike retail, a busy Saturday night can’t really make up for being slow every other shift.

How to maximize every daypart can maximize sales in even the most challenging sales environment.

  • Operations and marketing working as a team can make this happen by being aggressive on reservations, pushing through-put, expediting table turns, managing check averages when guest counts aren’t going to be there, or by creating new dayparts like carryout or food sales in the bar.
  • The question is, where is the excess capacity and what (if anything) can be done to maximize it–new products, promotion or plain old great execution.

I was in Chicago this past weekend and heard about a great example of this among entrepreneurs downtown. Some enterprising businesses are using their excess capacity to cater to dog owners, a group almost as loyal as the dogs they spoil. One Gold Coast club, Level, has had several “Yappy Hours”…sort of a bring-your-own-dog happy hour charity night that occurs from 6:00-8:00 PM so as not to interfere with the club opening at 9:30. Talk about an event that creates an emotional connection with the brand. I’m told there are even bring-your-pet cruises and “dog friendly” outdoor patios where they even offer you a dog water bowl when you dine there…in the same approach as coffee shops that stock complimentary dog treats.

Until next time, let me know your thoughts.