Posted by Vince Whinnery.
Exhausted from working twelve hour days in an establishment and not seeming to make any long-term progress?
Tired of starting over at the beginning of every month to get people in the doors?
If so, you’re in the right place.
However, I must warn you. There are no “growth hacks”, “shortcuts”, “magic bullets” or “quick fixes” in this article.
And if you’re not willing to put in the “right” kind of work to achieve the growth you’re looking for… please turn back now.
But, if you are willing to put in the “right” kind of work, I’ll show you PROVEN ways to reliably increase your sales in a consistent fashion.
Month after month like clockwork.
Before We Jump In…
Here’s the thing, getting this in place requires a bit of a shift in mindset (at least for most after working with multiple restaurants, bars and nightclubs).
But once this shift happens (and I’ll be going over it in just a minute) then you can grow your establishment without drama.
You see, I’ve found many owners have a hustle mentality… meaning they believe you have to constantly work harder and do more things in order to grow your revenue.
But that is just not true. Once you have the right systems in place that do it automatically for you… it is just a matter of ramping it up on demand.
NOTE: The numbers are off slightly because FB tracking didn’t fire on all conversions which was corrected on the reports, and mid-month (not calendar month) reporting.
This campaign had a slow start in July because we were testing out and dialing in everything including:
- The offer
- Ad copy
- Post registration processes
- Email copy
This campaign brought in an average of 542 Table Reservations at $9.35 each, for a total advertising spend of $5,069.21.
Each table reservation was worth an average of $500, and we added an average of 14 per week in the middle of the dead season (summer).
What’s better is we could have increased the revenue, all that needed to happen was increase the advertising budget.
I’ve been developing business and marketing campaigns in multiple industries for 18 years. All in all, I know exactly what it takes to scale out the revenue in your establishment in record time.
Lucky for you, I’m going to show you how to do just that with the most in-depth, step-by-step process anyone has ever laid out before for the hospitality industry.
I guarantee the insights you’re about to discover in this article will be nothing like anything you’ve ever seen before.
With that being said, let’s get started and I’ll show you how deep the rabbit hole really goes.
If you’d like to stop throwing money in advertising with little hope of it returning, and instead generate consistent, profitable results that you control then keep reading.
No more cutting corners on budgets so you can save some pennies, no more minimizing staff to avoid the slow times of the year… no more having to save your money on the good months to cover the bad months.
Why You’re Stuck…
Problem is, that IS the daily norm for most restaurant and bar owners. Their time is trapped inside of running everything and then managing the busy hours. Usually working late nights and weekends in addition to the regular hours.
They feel trapped, don’t know how to escape what they’ve created, and are petrified if they stop they’ll lose business and go down a black hole. So, they’re forced to do everything they can to please customers because losing them (or pissing them off) means losing money. And losing money means not being able to pay the bills.
And when that’s the case, it isn’t fun anymore. The only way out is to admit defeat!
Truth is, restaurant and bar owners want the ultimate nirvana. A business that produces profits month after month like clockwork without their daily presence so they can live life on their own terms.
But, the only way to transform your establishment into a profit-generating asset that doesn’t require you to be tied down to the daily operations is to design and develop systems.
Systems are the critical building blocks of all great companies. They allow your business to run without you, and they’ll help you:
- Improve your revenue
- Meet service and quality expectations
- Generate consistent results
- Reduce costs and increase profits
The fundamental system we’re talking about today that can free you from a hefty amount of daily operations is:
- A system to generate new customers
- A system to continue getting customers to come back in and spend more money
When you have:
- A system to generate a consistent flow of high-quality customers every month…
- A system to automatically get them to come back month-after-month
… you’ll have what few establishment owners ever experience. A profit-producing asset that runs without a hitch and doesn’t require your constant presence.
And I’m going to show you how to create this system right here in this article.
What we’re going to go over…
The following insights I’m about to reveal to you are responsible for adding on over $200,000 from one campaign in 6 months time. This information is easily worth thousands in consulting but I’m giving it to you free of charge.
And by the end of this article, you’ll know:
- How to create customer-getting marketing campaigns that will magnetize your best prospects, get them to raise their hand, and then get them to show up at your establishment resulting in making MORE revenue than it cost to get them in (the holy grail of marketing).
- How to make intelligent advertising decisions that 10-20X your current results (once you understand what you’re doing wrong, and how to fix it… you’ll never look at it the same again).
- The first 2 campaigns that lay a foundation to build your establishment on, and what they entail (once these 2 are in place you’ll be out of reach of your competition)
- How to create irresistible offers without guesswork… AND how to implement them for maximum effect (this is the difference between getting 1 person out of 100 to respond… or 20 out of 100 to respond).
- The 2 campaigns that should be used simultaneously to generate large profits upfront AND a reliable increase in monthly revenue… every single month!
- The Master blueprint to maximize your revenue (your competition won’t have a chance of keeping up once you implement this… this is mastery level stuff)
- The most common mistake made ONCE all of this is in place and running (the mistake will slowly leach profits if not fixed)… and… how to fix it quick.
- And so many more groundbreaking insights I guarantee you’ve never seen anywhere else from anyone else.
With that being said, let’s dive right into it…
Before We Get Started… It Should Go Without Saying…
But I’ll say it anyway.
All of this is assuming you deliver a great product and great service.
Now before you skim over this and do the usual “Of course our stuff is the best”… ask yourself the following…
- What is the ratio of complaints to compliments?
- How many times do my customers come in during a year?
- Do I have a hard time getting positive reviews and feedback?
- Are there complaints of cleanliness, food quality, etc?
If you aren’t currently doing a great job then the first thing you need to focus on is improving your service, your food quality, the dishes you provide, the offers in your establishment, etc.
No amount of great marketing will get people to come back again and again if they don’t enjoy their visit and have a great time.
This is fundamental. You can’t have a thriving business in this industry if you can’t get return customers.
Moving on. Let’s take a look at…
The Big Pic For Your Establishment’s Long-term Profits
The progression from people who have never heard of you… to raving customers is a linear process.
Somebody has to go from:
- having never heard of you
- to being interested
- to coming in and making their first purchase
- to coming back over and over.
There is no way around this. It doesn’t matter if they heard about your place from a friend, they saw your tv ad, Facebook ad, Groupon, flyer, etc.
This is the process!
Now most establishments make a critical mistake in here. They are hoping a single element (such as a flyer) will do ALL the work.
You are asking a LOT of a little. Which is why most advertising in the industry has pitiful results.
Maybe 1% or 2% respond to your offer.
Instead, what you want to do is break it down and make it a more effective. This way you can get a 10% response rate… even 20% or better.
How do you do this?
Keep reading, I’m going to give you the details…
You Must Have Systems that AUTOMATICALLY Get Your Ideal Audience to Raise Their Hand As Interested… and Then Get those People To Come In To Your Establishment!
Referring back to the diagram above, you don’t want your marketing systems to be fully reliant upon one thing (like a flyer) to do all your heavy lifting.
Instead let’s break it up, and bucket brigade this so it is far more effective and profitable.
- The first step is to get your ideal audience to raise their hand as interested
This means first targeting your ideal audience. What IS your ideal audience?
Obviously I can’t know while writing this, but let’s define it a bit more.
- What is your target location? (For example many small restaurants will be within 5 miles of their establishment, high end restaurants may be affluent people within 20 miles, etc)
- What income bracket are they in?
- What else do they like? (sports, foodies, local sports groups, etc)
2) Then it means getting those that are interested (your prospects) to come in the first time.
Now you want to get those people who have self-identified as interested and meet your criteria… to take action and come in.
But we’re not going to expect a measly flyer to do all of this. Instead we’re going to get those who self-identified as interested (in step 1) to give us their contact information.
That way we can automatically follow up with those people (repeatedly using email, Facebook, Instagram and more) and multiply the response so they come in.
We’re moving them from one step at a time. The better each step is performed the better your overall results will be (usually exponentially).
Here’s a bonus…
Once someone identifies as interested not all of them are going to visit your establishment. That’s ok and is natural. But you will STILL be able to follow up with them through other methods at a later date (shown below) so they are still likely to come in in the future!
(Hint: this is one of the ways you continually grow your revenue month after month with consistency.)
Now you want to make sure you have a system that does this that is reliable and scalable (meaning you can increase the flow of people coming in without running into issues).
3) Lastly, you need to get people to come back repeatedly!
Most establishments get people to come in haphazardly and then hope they come back in. This is how you get stuck in a continuous loop or starting over every month with no consistency. The hustle game.
How to Consistently Grow Your Establishment Month After Month (instead of starting from scratch)
Ok, so at this point we’ve gone over the foundational requirements that needs to be in place to grow your establishment on demand.
Now let’s get into the nitty gritty…
In a restaurant, bar or nightclub there are basically 2 ways to bring people in…
- As groups – (table reservations are the most common) and they’re great for profit upfront. The downside is it doesn’t make for the best recurring income.
- Individuals – (not as profitable immediately but this is the core of your customer base over time) – done properly it grows every month.
The key is to do both simultaneously!
This is how you generate revenue and profits NOW, while at the same time growing the core clientele of your establishment so it continues to grow month-after-month.
This Is What It Should Look Like…
Here is a flow chart of what you should have in place at a bare minimum…
This is the foundational campaign structure every restaurant, bar & nightclub should have in place. This will set you up for longterm growth and consistent revenue while generating profits now.
As you can see you’ll have multiple avenues in. There are many more additional campaigns you can add on over time, but this is the foundation that will give you steady growth while improving your profits today as well.
Now let’s break it down a bit more so you can take action on this.
The Newsletter Campaign
This campaign is setup for the process below. This type of campaign usually generates 300% to 500% ROI (return on investment) upfront so you’re making a profit immediately (or at least breaking even).
While most will (once the campaign is dialed in) make a profit now, it isn’t typically a dramatic scenario. The magic lies in that your revenue should continue to increase every month from this campaign.
This is the “end game” campaign in the matter that for many, once they reach a certain threshold they find they no longer need to run advertising to maintain their revenue (although you should).
The Table Reservation Campaign
This campaign is setup for the process below. This type of campaign usually generates 10X to 20X ROI so you make a great return immediately, but it doesn’t have the same impact long-term (although it will still improve longterm profits, it doesn’t have the same recurring rate since not everyone in the party will return again).
This is the “Get money in right now” campaign that helps you develop all the other campaigns without spending money out of pocket.
The Birthday Campaign
This campaign is setup similar to the “Newsletter Campaign”, but targeting those that have birthdays. This is a great campaign to build good will, generate revenue, and generate excitement. This type of campaign usually generates 300% to 500% ROI (return on investment) upfront so you’re making a profit immediately (or at least breaking even).
This is a campaign that should always be running as there are no downsides to it and is a consistent earner.
How To Create Your Irresistible Offer
As I said previously, this is key to making everything work well.
A weak offer gets far less people to respond. And the less the response the more it costs to generate a customer. Remember… this is where Groupon shines. They are basically a warehouse of great offers from businesses.
Before we dive into how to create your irresistible offer it is important you understand THERE IS NO UNIVERSAL OFFER!
It will be different for your audience. Every audience is a little different. It will depend on…
- What your establishment is and who you serve
- The region (cultural differences)
- Age group
For example for some it may be sports offers, for some brunch, and others it will be drink specials. Also keep in mind you have multiple sub audiences as part of your overall audience.
So for some it will be entree specials, others happy hour specials, others it will be kids specials, and so on.
Here’s the thing. You can dial in each offer for each audience (keep in mind you can target all the sub audiences in your ads).
Here’s the easiest way to cut out all the theory and just find out what flat-out works!
- Create the top 5 offers you can think of (some examples include 50% off, BOGO, Free Giveaway, Free Happy Hour Giveaway, Brunch giveaway, $20 Gift Certificate, VIP access, etc
- Then test it by sending it out and seeing what happens, either in an ad or to your existing list. 90% of the time the offer that performs best won’t be the one you think.
That’s why you have to test.
Then take a look at the results by the numbers.
Most likely 2 of the offers will do well (and be close), and the others will be lagging far behind.
Then take the top performing offer (or 2 if they’re close) and test variations of the offer.
So as an example with one client, we started testing using a Facebook ad. We tested the initial lead generation offer with a $50 gift certificate giveaway weekly. It did pretty well, but then we tested out a “Free bottomless brunch for 2”. And it did exceedingly well.
Then you can test variations of the ad. TAKE NOTE that varying your offer will also attract different results.
If you’re doing a giveaway and you want to make revenue off it, target it to a group of people coming in. For example do free happy hour to one winner, but must have a group of 3 (and offer those people a discounted happy hour).
You want the offer to do 3 things…
- Get maximum response (aka be irresistible)
- Get the ideal audience to raise their hand
- Generate as much revenue as possible
If you follow this sequence, then over time you’ll have multiple strong offers that you can rotate through.
ALSO keep in mind… you DO NOT want to burn out your list of prospects and customers.
Read the section below titled “Avoid the #1 Mistake…”
If you continuously hammer your people with the same offer or pitch constantly… they’ll stop responding and either unsubscribe or ignore your messaging.
You’d do the same. There’s only so many times… no matter how good the offer… that you want to be hit up by it.
Do it properly, and your list will generate revenue for you for a long time to come.
Keys to Making It Work…
- You must contact the right people… aka your ideal audience. Luckily this is easy with Facebook and Google. You can dial specifically who you are targeting. It doesn’t matter if it is age, income, gender, interests, exact location (down to the block) and more.
You see, while Groupon got the idea of using a killer offer right (we’ll dig into this in a minute) Groupon got the targeting wrong. They don’t target the people who will continue to grow your revenue consistently. Many are people traveling through, not in the real area your customers are, not the right demographic, etc.
The result is many of them will come in once, but never again.
But you can target the correct audience and get the best of both worlds.
2) You must be able to contact your prospects and customers. This is the other place Groupon went wrong. Imagine if you had the ability to stay in communication with both those that are interested in your place, and also all of your customers!
This is critical.
Both to (remember the bucket brigade) get prospects to come in whether on the initial promotion or down the road.
It is also critical to getting your customers to return.
Remember… you’re not really in control of your business if you don’t have the ability to contact your customers. That is the primary value of an business (and critical to getting the full price if you decide to sell it some day).
Want To Know What A More Advanced Version Looks Like?
To prevent overload, I’m going to list the campaigns out because a process map will be highly complex.
These are the additional campaigns many restaurants, bars and nightclubs should be running (once the foundation is already in place and running)…
- Open bar
- Other offers
The Goal is to Get the 1st visit at a profit!
Then use these campaigns (while tied into the above) to continue bringing people back in…
- Bucket newsletter (weekly/monthly)
- Seasonal events
- New offers (in sequence for individuals – best if based of their actions)
How To Avoid The #1 Mistake Once These Campaigns Are In Place…
When you follow this process properly you’ll consistently grow your customer base and keep them responsive and coming in for a long time. This is part of the key to making sure your revenue is stable and continues to increase month after month.
However, there are a couple easy mistakes to make once you have a large and response audience.
- Don’t bombard them with too much
2) Don’t be pitching constantly – nobody likes getting hit with sales messages constantly, but they do love hearing about great offers and
3) Don’t send out the same offer to the same people repeatedly
If you treat your prospects and customers properly, they’ll be more than happy to stay with you and generate revenue for you for a long time to come.
But if you ignore the rules above… you’ll find your response rate will start dropping and you’ll start moving backwards.
At this point you have a great asset AND the ability to generate additional revenue on demand. But abuse it and it will be short lived.
How To Measure Success
One of the biggest questions I see is “How do I know if the marketing is working or not?”
Afterall, most places pitching you marketing try to do everything possible to avoid showing the true results as it can be a difficult standard
The only thing that really matters is… money in vs money out!
The problem is tracking it can be difficult.
There are 2 main problems here:
1) Establishment owners want to go by a gut feeling instead of taking a little more effort to track
2) Looking at marketing and advertising as an expense instead of an investment
This can be dangerous!
Look… if you can turn $1 into $2 how many times would you do that?
As many as possible right? I’d be trying to find wheelbarrows to load money in, dump trucks, whatever I can find.
And when you have advertising that brings in a profit then what you want to do is…
…DO MORE OF IT!
Many business owners have the mindset that marketing is an expense, and not a profit center.
If you don’t track your revenue then you’ll never know. And that is dangerous.
- You don’t know what is making you money and what isn’t
- You’ll sit on winning campaigns and not maximize the revenue from it… and that is when people like me will pass you right by.
Luckily there are ways to track this without it being a huge nuisance.
The biggest thing is the on the first transaction, and tracking each ad or source of customers.
The easiest way to do this currently (utilizing the campaigns above) is to simply have customers enter into their phone the receipt totals.
Don’t worry, this can all be done automatically. This way you can see how much money is being spent, and how much is being made (remember the money in/money out concept above?)
Once you have campaigns that break even or better (meaning you’re generating customers with no money out of pocket)… then you want to maximize your results (while obviously maintaining your ability to deliver quality services).
HOW TO IMPLEMENT
By now you’re probably thinking “Sure, this looks great but holy crap that’s a lot of work!”
And absolutely, it is!
But the good news is it doesn’t need to be done all at once. In fact I’d suggest against it.
Think of it as a modular system.
The first task is to get the first campaign in place, get it working, and scale it up.
Then (and only then) you can focus on the next block, and once that is working you move onto the next block, etc.
While the sequence in which you can build this is up to you, I’d recommend a few things.
Most establishments need cashflow yesterday. In addition, once you have the extra revenue it is then easier to reinvest it into the next step and begin to multiply your profits.
So I usually suggest starting with a Table reservation campaign. It typically creates an extra $10,000.00 to $60,000.00 in revenue monthly, and then you can build from there. And oftentimes we can generate those table reservations for under $10… and bring in an average of $500 in revenue each.
Then what I usually suggest is to build out a “newsletter campaign” with the goal to identify those in your ideal audience and get them to become customers.
While not as profitable right off the bat, this group continues to grow month-after-month since they keep coming in. This way your revenue grows reliably over time.
And we can usually get the return on investment still in the 300% or better range.
Once both of these are in place and ramped up then you’re already far ahead of your competition.
Then it is just about adding on additional blocks, promotions, and tying everything together while automatically leaving positive reviews, tell their friends, and keep coming back in.
When you implement the above it also help you out in many other areas.
For example here are just a few things that will improve significantly after getting it in place…
- Yelp reviews
- Facebook page reviews
- Social engagement in ads
- Text promos (immediate cashflow)
The nice thing is you can make it happen automatically if you desire. How good will it look when you have a constant flow of excellent feedback to all your sources that then help bring in more customers.
The snowball effect.
Everything I just showed you is exactly how to create consistent, reliable and systematic growth in your establishment.
I showed you how to do that by creating:
- Lead systems to identify ideal customers and then move them to becoming customers
- A system to generate table reservations that works like gangbusters
- A system to generate your core clientele (newsletter campaign) to consistently grow your revenue month-in and month-out
I also showed you how to execute these three systems:
- Start with the table reservations to immediately increase your revenue
- Then implement the newsletter campaign so you can reach your audience and get them to keep coming back again and again
- How to avoid burning out your people, and keep them interested and responsive
Ultimately, if your goal is to transition from grinding it out every day to get people in your door while managing all the operations, to owning an asset where other people work hard to make you wealthy… then you need these systems in place in your establishment.
The First Step Towards Your New Future
These systems will help you:
- Generate a virtually unlimited number of customers.
- Build trust and goodwill with your audience.
- Inspire urgency to buy so you’re not waiting weeks to get them to come in.
- Get your customers to show up time and time again so you can generate revenue for years to come.
- Prevent the burnout of your list so you can communicate with your prospects and customers.
- Break free from the monthly roller coaster and starting from scratch every month.
- And so much more…
As you can see, there’s a lot of work to be done in order to build this properly. This can be a very difficult journey if you’re also still managing daily operations, ordering supplies, managing payroll, and trying to figure out how to implement this (and generate great results while doing so)… all at the same time.
However, the very first thing you need in place is a system to get people in the door to get the ball rolling.
So, here’s my offer to you…
Let’s get on a call together. I’ll perform a confidential audit of your establishment where we’ll analyze your client base, positioning, offerings and overall performance.
Together, we’ll create a strategy to scale your establishment so revenue grows month after month in a clear, simple and actionable path to help you break through your plateaus and leave them in the dust once and for all.
Afterward, we’ll decide whether or not working together is something that makes sense. If not, no problem. If so, awesome!
I’m not going to hard sell you or come at you with any kind of pushy sales tactics. There’s no need for that. It’ll be a laid back conversation between two professionals focused on results.
Nothing more and nothing less.
In closing, the link below will take you to a web form where you can tell me a little bit about your establishment. So go ahead and fill it out and I’ll send you a calendar invite if I think we’re a good fit.
To your success,
P.S. I hope you got a ton of value from this article. My goal when writing this was for you to walk away with at least $10,000 in free consulting. I hope these insights have given you clarity, allowing you to finally cut through the noise, know what to focus on, what to cut out, and what to double down on. If you feel like I did all of that for you, please share this article.
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