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Marketing a new restaurant in the UK


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I am wondering if I could get some feedback from some of the more learned people here?

I'm in marketing and am good at eating at restaurants... but have never put the two together until my friend recently asked for my help with his new venture.

We've done some photography and leaflets that are being door dropped to the local area and given out at the surrounding train stations. We've also created a press release document, but before sending it out to one and all, I really appreciate feedback from anyone that has a minute to spare:

http://creativehome.mememachines.net/Ninet...ressRelease.doc

Also, is it acceptable to send Press Releases by email, or is a hard copy better?

Many thanks in advance for any guidance.

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Francis Kiohi, when on earth did he work at Chez Bruce?

The whole thing makes me want to take a wide berth because it has marketing written all over it. If you say its popularity is growing then what do you need a press release for?

"An inviting décor awaits" surely that is true of any hospitality establishment that wishes to remain in business.

in my opinion words like stylish and indulgent should only be used by critics, and not the best ones at that.

you are setting high expectations and in doing that you are unlikely to exceed people's expectations.

Matt Christmas.

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I am wondering if I could get some feedback from some of the more learned people here?

I'm in marketing and am good at eating at restaurants... but have never put the two together until my friend recently asked for my help with his new venture.

We've done some photography and leaflets that are being door dropped to the local area and given out at the surrounding train stations. We've also created a press release document, but before sending it out to one and all, I really appreciate feedback from anyone that has a minute to spare:

http://creativehome.mememachines.net/Ninet...ressRelease.doc

Also, is it acceptable to send Press Releases by email, or is a hard copy better?

Many thanks in advance for any guidance.

The typeface doesn't help.

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I am wondering if I could get some feedback from some of the more learned people here?

Many thanks in advance for any guidance.

My God, where you a Christian in Rome in a previous life? :laugh:

http://www.allium.uk.net

http://alliumfood.wordpress.com/ the alliumfood blog

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming - Whey hey what a ride!!!, "

Sarah Poli, Firenze, Kibworth Beauchamp

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Fair enough Chefmatt, but any form of marketing will always have "marketing written all over it" because, er, that's what it is.

I agree that adjectives are always a risky area, but where does that leave you?

"There's a new restaurant. It has food."

?

p.s. I'll ask Francis and let you know.

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I think you're doing the right thing by concentrating on marketing in your local area since until you become established, I doubt anyone is going to travel to Streatham to visit you. However, fliers always smack of desperation when they're promoting restaurants. Perhaps you could organize some kind of foodie events mid-week to get people in, and hopefully make them interested enough to return. Speak to your wine supplier and see if he can't organize a tasting or something like that.

Don't worry too much about the cliched language for the time being (you're going to get hammered about this), just make sure that whoever comes through the door gets looked after well enough to come again, and to tell their mates about you.

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I am wondering if I could get some feedback from some of the more learned people here?

Many thanks in advance for any guidance.

My God, where you a Christian in Rome in a previous life? :laugh:

Quite possibly, but why not go straight into people that actually have an opinion? :biggrin:

My industry is stacked with people that pat you on the back for a living. This is refreshing. (mostly :wink: )

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i just think there are more subtle ways of marketing your restaurant like giving people great food and service and letting the business grow instead of trying to get tonnes of people through the door, not being able to cope with the numbers and dissapointing them.

when you are subject to the best marketing you shouldn't be aware of it.

Matt Christmas.

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Thanks all for your comments so far.

Without wanting to get into a debate about 'marketing' (and for the record, I'm with Basildog on this one) there is pressure from the backers to be seen to be doing some sort of activity...

This is one of those 'favours for a friend' that you kind of wish you'd never got involved in!

I guess it opened with a 'soft opening', is that the right term? No schebang anyway. I personally think this is a difficult time to get awareness of any new business activity with the xmas/new year season upon us. Excellent thoughts on event activity Zoticus and this sort of thing is planned for the new year. And you're quite right about not expecting people to travel to Streatham, but there are a lot of locals there that currently travel to Balham, Clapham etc and we just need to let them know that there is now something local that is on par with places there.

I'm interested in people's thoughts with regard to restaurant/food language particularly. If anyone can point me towards restaurants that are doing it well, I'd be grateful. I've seen many a restaurant synopsis and menus that are so florid that I've been known to lose the will to live before deciding what I want to eat.

I like Nineteen's take on simple food, well cooked etc etc - It's just how to communicate that without cliches.

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I would be looking to invite a group of local people,maybe all the buiness in the street or teachers from a local school, or something like that.Give that a cracking good night at a give away price and let the word of mouth spread from that.Or a charity night for a local cause.

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As somebody who wants to see chef-driven restaurants succeed may I add:

1) Put together a really good web site. Here is an example of a bad one, from a restaurant/hotel that is allegedly the best in St. Albans:

http://www.stmichaelsmanor.com/

On here, see how hard it is to

1) Send them an e-mail (where is 'contact us'?. Hidden!);

2) Get the menu or wine list (clunky .PDFs that don't load);

Maintain your site. Menus and wine lists must be out of date. e-mails sent by users must be answered within two hours during open hours.

Put specials on the web site.

Get a professional to help you get good ratings in the search engines.

Put the URL on the bills and sign of the restaurant.

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I agree with Worzel regarding the value of a good web site. I did tourism marketing for many years and watched those with excellent websites do far better than those that didn't have them, regardless of the quality of the lodging or dining establishment. I for one have actually made decisions against eating in some places based on their websites.

But the trick is inspiring people to go to that website or it doesn't matter how good it is, because people looking for someplace to dine do not generally google "restaurants" to make their choice. They'll remember something they read or heard and look you up. Your press release is a great way to get your name out there and drive them to the website, but I have some suggestions about it for what it's worth.

In looking at the photos and reading it twice I think there is too much made of who the chefs are and how many places they've worked and with whom. If you are dropping off fliers door to door and at train stations, and trying to attrack a local crowd, my guess is that 90% of those individuals are not going to grasp the significance of that information. Most people try new restaurants for the food, not the resume. The press release seems to talk way more about the atmosphere and the back of house staff than it does about the food. And for those who like a good restaurant but don't follow the careers of the people making the food, some of them might wonder if these chefs are any good since they'd bounced from job to job so much. We know better, but we aren't the sum total of who you are trying to attract. So try to think like they think and rethink the press release.

That being said, once perfected, faxing a press release is still on of the most effective means of getting it noticed. Emailing is good, but too easy to delete without ever opening. A fax makes them physically deal with the sheet of paper. With regard to local newspapers, I would also attach a separate sheet inviting the journalist to stop in for a complimentary something. Drinks work well. These journalists get about 50 faxed press realeases a day most likely. They are human beings and will gravitate towards covering something that is going to offer an ounce of pleasure for themselves (or several ounces). I learned this trick when setting up press conferences for an evironmental fight I was involved in. We had the beer and sandwich cooler for the press. We got a reputation for feeding the press and you'd be amazed at how much coverage our issue got. We won by the way.

Good Luck

Cindy

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In looking at the photos and reading it twice I think there is too much made of who the chefs are and how many places they've worked and with whom.  If you are dropping off fliers door to door and at train stations, and trying to attrack a local crowd, my guess is that 90% of those individuals are not going to grasp the significance of that information.

Hi Cindy,

Many thanks for your input - I should have clarified that the Press Release was for industry, rather than consumer facing. This is the leaflet...

http://creativehome.mememachines.net/Nineteen2ppDL.pdf

Bill

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As somebody who wants to see chef-driven restaurants succeed may I add:

1) Put together a really good web site. Here is an example of a bad one, from a restaurant/hotel that is allegedly the best in St. Albans:

http://www.stmichaelsmanor.com/

On here, see how hard it is to

1) Send them an e-mail (where is 'contact us'?. Hidden!);

2) Get the menu or wine list (clunky .PDFs that don't load);

Maintain your site. Menus and wine lists must be out of date. e-mails sent by users must be answered within two hours during open hours.

Put specials on the web site.

Get a professional to help you get good ratings in the search engines.

Put the URL on the bills and sign of the restaurant.

The best in  st slbans? Can't be hard....

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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In looking at the photos and reading it twice I think there is too much made of who the chefs are and how many places they've worked and with whom.  If you are dropping off fliers door to door and at train stations, and trying to attrack a local crowd, my guess is that 90% of those individuals are not going to grasp the significance of that information.

Hi Cindy,

Many thanks for your input - I should have clarified that the Press Release was for industry, rather than consumer facing. This is the leaflet...

http://creativehome.mememachines.net/Nineteen2ppDL.pdf

Bill

The flyer is much more on target. But just a question. What "industry" is your press release targeting? Other chefs, other food industry specialists, foodie groups? If that's the case it's great. But maybe a second press release geared to the same target group as your leaflet would be in order. It might be sent to area local papers that people like to read cover to cover on their lunch breaks and over breakfast to find out what's new in town. My experience has been that smaller local publications often deliver better results specifically with regard to restaurants and unique retail experiences. And while you are certainly striving for that higher end destination diner, the locals are going to pay the bills inbetween.

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disappointing, sorry, before i get nailed for a spelling mistake!! :raz:

Actually, I was going to mention proofreading. There was at least one extraneous apostrophe. If people are careless with their own publicity material, it leads to questions about how careful they are with their other standards.

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I cannot stress enough the importance of having a web presence. There is a new restaurant that just opened up in Akron, OH and their web presence up to the date of their opening was not just a bad web page, but NO web page. Plus, the restaurant opened 2-3 months after they were originally supposed to open. I mean, come on, it costs how much to buy a domain name, $10-$15? And it costs you how much to pay some college kid $100 to put up a rudimentary page that has things like:

* Latest News

* Address

* PHONE NUMBER?!?!?

I finally have reservations to eat at this restaurant next week and am looking forward to the experience, but geez!

And had they actually tried, they could have built up even more tremendous buzz about the opening than they did.

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Both the press release and the flyer are far too generic and full of tired old cliches which makes the place sound like just another restaurant. You need to be specific about the food, service, decor and atmopshere to accentuate what is different and special about the place. If I had received the press release I wouldn't have given it a second look.

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