Why Restaurant Buzz Is Important And How To Get It

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Two people are talking on the phone and one says to the other: “Hey, let’s meet for lunch.”

The other person says: “OK, where do you want to go?”

The answer to this question has as much to do about your immediate buzz as it does about what they are hungry for minus what they had to eat a few days before (the fact is no matter how much buzz you have, if you specialize in burgers or pizza and they just had that a day or two ago, it is unlikely they will settle on a pizza or burger place).

But everything else being equal, you’re more likely to attract a crowd if you are enjoying a high level of buzz. And buzz goes up when your marketing is coordinated.

It also has a lot to do with the types of offers you promote. Olive Garden does well on the Buzz-O-Meter but they also do well with their restaurant promotions. In fact their restaurant social media is not drilled down to the local level well at all (which leaves a great deal of opportunity open to them). But they do offer a lot of food for the money. Unlimited pasta promotions, endless breadsticks and salad, specials and money savings that keep people talking.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 11.37.46 AMHotOperator has been coordinating restaurant social media and restaurant classic marketing for many years.

In that time it has been my experience that most restaurant operators do not know how important their restaurant marketing is, nor how powerful it can be if it is well orchestrated. Instead of having a concentrated, long-term effort, most restaurant operators waste way too much time working on short-term projects that are not executed well and never get the time they need to be effective.

Then every so often a emerging chain restaurant or a high volume independent restaurant operator will call me and tell me that they are looking for a plan that will help them get their brand and business to the next level. They want to create buzz for their concept and they want to know what it will take to build a better marketing plan over time. And that’s when real marketing magic can happen.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 11.39.15 AMIf you’re ready to try something more coordinated and planned for your emerging brand, reach out to HotOperator. With over 30 years of marketing experience, we can help you grow your business and get you some maximum buzz. If not we'll say a little prayer for you.

Call 800-316-3198 X301 Now!

We can help you take your brand to the next level and offer restaurant marketing advice that's based on 30 years of experience with some of the most respected names in the food service industry.

New Restaurant Menu Creative: Biaggi’s Restaurant

Biaggi’s Restaurant Menu Makeover


The first time I ate at a Biaggi’s restaurant was years ago. I was traveling at the request of a former client to Minnesota and visited their Maple Grove location. From the parking lot, the restaurant looks absolutely massive, with a huge watchtower-style structure and a row of archways.


The inside of the restaurant is just as impressive, with deeply upholstered booths, lovely wood tables and tasteful colors and textures on the walls and floors. The space looks like its own world carved out of an otherwise sea of sameness in the retail landscape that surrounds it. As though the architecture and interior design were plucked from a long-admired restaurant in Chicago or New York and transported into the suburbs of Minneapolis.


Of the 22 locations, I’ve had the pleasure of eating at four, all but one visit occurring well before we started working with Biaggi’s. Biaggi’s is a chain of restaurants, and while a lot of chains try for identical twins, forcing on each restaurant a one-size-fits-all corporate identity, without regard for the location and community that will surround them, Biaggi’s restaurants are more like fraternal twins. Each location definitely reflects the same parentage, yet with an appreciation for the community they serve and the brand they express.


I remember thinking, during that first visit, that the Biaggi’s menu system left a lot to be desired. And while I don’t want to pick on the design of the menu, especially because I better understand how it came to be and how it got to look the way it did, I will say my first impression of the menu was one of disappointment. My initial thought was, here I am in this magnificent building with an interior design that they must have labored over, with each and every detail of the place enhancing the dining experience, and then they plunk a homemade menu on the table like an afterthought.


It wasn’t that the menu was poorly constructed, or necessarily bad in and of itself. At an average restaurant it would have been just fine. But Biaggi’s persona, food and service are not average by any stretch of the imagination. They are something better. And so for me, the menu represented a disconnect, where the mystique of the Italian experience suddenly fogged over, and I remembered I was in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Not that Maple Grove is a bad thing, but before the menu hit the table, I was with Biaggi’s on a journey to a place I hadn’t been before. After the menu was delivered, the veil lifted a little. The food and service made up for it, and so I wasn’t completely disappointed, but I couldn’t help thinking how I’d really like to get my hands on that menu and elevate it to the same levels of design and style as the rest of the restaurant.


Call 1-1800-316-3198 X301 to get your menu started.


Is Your Restaurant Brand Famous?

Selling Famous Food.


You want to sell food. But not just any food, you want to sell selective items from your menu over and over again. You may not know that, or even agree, but believe me you really do want to sell specific foods. To sell a lot of very specific foods, you and your food will need to be famous. And to become famous, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. If you look at successful people, successful cars and successful restaurant businesses, you will notice that the ones that are top-of-mind are all famous.


Here are some examples: Coca-Cola is famous. Hiltons (both Hilton hotels and Paris) are famous. McDonald’s restaurants are famous. Ford is also famous. Harley and Davidson together are famous. They are all legendary. People tell stories about them, secretly admire them and, best of all, they visit them and buy from them.


I guarantee you, if you’re reading this, you would love to have their business. Even a fraction of their business would make your business explode. And all of these companies have elevated and separated their brand from yours and everyone else’s. They have elevated their thinking and approach to their particular field in ways that attract people, drawing them in and making them want more.


At the center of each of these companies is a very well thought-out and highly creative communications strategy.


And at the center of that strategy is creative from designers, writers, illustrators, photographers and the like all working to bring the brand to life. They breathe imagination into a brand that was once just an idea in someone’s mind. They take a simple idea and add dimension to it. And they can, if they are skilled, help a person make a favorable decision about the products and services these creative products represent.


If you are going to grow your restaurant business into a chain, or into a dominant player in a market, you will need a marketing partner that has the resources to help take you to the next level and beyond.


HotOperator specializes in growing brands from the ground up.


Call us for a free consultation at 800-316-3198 X301.

28 Restaurant Email Marketing Subject Lines That Get Opened

Restaurant email marketing is all about the right restaurant marketing content. Here are 28 restaurant email subject lines that can help get your restaurant email marketing headed in the right direction. Keep in mind, getting these ideas is like getting the keys to a race car. Just because you can get it started, doesn't mean you can win any races. The best way to develop a terrific email marketing program is to hire a professional restaurant marketing firm (hey, we might even know a good one).

1-Your Next Meal Is Half Free

Buy one, get one half off offer enclosed.


2-Here’s What We’ve Cooked Up Just For You

Great food plus a $5.00 coupon on your next $20.00 purchase!


3-Going...going...20% off your next meal is almost gone!

For a very limited time, get 20% off your check total.


4-Five Bucks Says You’ll Like Our Food Better

Bring in any competitive check and use it as a coupon for $5.00 off.


5-How about a free appetizer? (And that’s just for starters)

Free appetizer promotion with any entree order.


6-25 things you didn’t know about our restaurant (or was that 25% of all things?)

25% off any dinner for two!


7-Exclusive Email Offer Enclosed (don’t show this email to anyone)

Exclusive offer for $2.50 off next purchase.


8-How to buy friends and influence people

Take them out to lunch - when you buy one meal and get the second 50% off!


9-Hurry In Before It’s Too Late (anything could happen, you know)

We wanted your last meal on Earth to be memorable. So we’re offering you a free drink with any purchase. Hey, you might be hit by a meteor next week, so this offer ends this Friday.


If We’ve Got Nothing To Offer, What The Hell Do We Talk About?


Now that we have some coupons floating around out there, let’s talk about stuff without giving away the ranch.


10-Dining Out On A Budget (And Still Getting A Great Meal)


11-Introducing A Hot Meal (when’s the last time someone cooked something great for you?)

Choose a single item to feature, add the description and end the email with ‘...just wanted to keep our flavor top of mind.’


12-3 Step Process For A Better Lunch (or dinner)

Step one, order carryout.

Step two, dine in.

Step three, buy a second meal for the next day.


13-5 items you didn’t know we offered

Then pick five items to feature - an appetizer, three entrees and a dessert even if it’s just a cookie.


14-9 out of 10 people are completely wrong about this restaurant!

Then offer some really interesting facts that nobody would have known before and write about those.


15-What Elvis Presley taught us about cooking.

Not a damn thing, but gosh, that man could sing and dance. And if he were alive today (and we’re not saying he isn’t) but if he were, we’d give him a FREE meal. Come to think of it, if you dress up as Elvis and you’re convincing enough, we’ll give you a FREE meal, too.


16-Why Our Food Does Not Suck

In fact it’s pretty good, and here’s what makes it different.


17-Do you regret your last meal?

The good news is, you can make your next meal a lot better.


18-Do you have any plans for dinner?

Would you like some?


19-3 ways to convince your significant other to go out to eat on a Tuesday.


20-The Art Of Good Food

Here is the easiest way to experience better dining.


21-The Safest Restaurant Ever

In fact, we can honestly say nobody has died in our restaurants, ever.


22-Shut Up And Cook

That’s what everyone keeps telling us. They love our food, they just want us to be quiet about it.


23-Lunchjacking: How To Get A Better Lunch


24-Coolfooding: The Best Place To Be Seen To Be Cool


25-The Field Of Creams

Our sauces are so smooth and creamy, lots of people dream about it (I just wish they hadn’t described it in such detail).


26 - 5 Facts Only 3 People Know About Us (until you read this email)


27 - Do Not Commit These Dining Atrocities

Content focuses on anecdotes of people and what they’ve said and can you believe that sort of thing, etc.


28 - Where to drink (insert your best drink) right now

Focus on the drinks, ice, et al.

Now that I’ve gotten all creative and stuff, how should I feel if people unsubscribe?


Ha, that’s easy: At least now you know they’re not your customers. Focus on the people who come in again and again rather than on the few who don’t get you and move on. An email list is a living, breathing document that should expand and contract, and that’s OK.


Besides, what good is your email list if you’re not going to use it?



Restaurant Coupons And Offers A Necessary Evil

Let’s face it, nobody wants to give anything away, and you’re in business to sell food at full price as often as you can. But, sometimes your customers need a little encouragement to get them in the door more often. Plus, when you have a guest who has not dines with you in some time, or perhaps they have never dined with you, you may need to offer a little something, something to get them in the door the first time!


Restaurant Email Marketing Myths

Restaurant Marketing - Email Myths, Busted

How often should I email my customers (and what should I talk about)?

A comment I hear more than any other with regard to emailing and email lists is: ‘I don’t want to email my customers too often because I don’t want them to get upset with me and unsubscribe.’ And then they follow up with something like: ‘That’s why I only email about once every 5 or 6 weeks.’

And my answer is the same: ‘Most of your restaurant customers want to hear from you more often. In fact, you should be emailing your list every single week at least. That’s at a minimum!’

Here’s why: Your guest are inundated with advertising and marketing materials, and if you are not in the mix often enough, you will get lost. Plus, your customers want to hear from you. That’s why they signed up in the first place!

But Here’s The Catch: Your emails cannot suck! If your message sucks, even one email is too many. It’s that simple. So you need to have something interesting to say, and you do not want every email to carry an offer. To many coupons will kill your business. So you’ll need some creativity. Here are 25 things you can talk about in your emails that will help people remember you (each is in a very cool subject line).

Keep in mind, this is a part of your business where it would help to have professional advice. Call Mark at 1-800-316-3198 X301 to talk about restaurant marketing, menu development and email marketing ideas for your business!


Why McDonald’s Recent Business Decline Is Not About The Food

According to Nations Restaurant News, McDonald’s Corp. executives said [this past] Wednesday they will cut eight items from its menu in January as part of a broader effort to overhaul its service model to meet the needs of different type of customers. The article goes on to describe the radical marketing approach they are going to take to try to reverse the downward spiral they find their business in.

If it were only that simple. What plagues McDonald's is less about the food and more about their public image. They have been the poster child for what's wrong with American business in the past few years. Images of low paid workers picketing and documentaries pointing to how the corporate executives make so much more money than their workers, it may take more than just a product change to make a difference in their business.

It's like a perfect storm pitted against them. Couple the wage issues with the addition of calories on the menu, add that to a recovering economy with low gas prices and suddenly everything that made Mc Donald's the kings of the recession seem to be pulling the business apart at the seams.


Restaurant Server Training: Gamify Your Restaurant Service Staff

When my son was little I would race him to get him dressed for school. I’d say: “Hey, let’s see who can get dressed faster” and his eyes would get big and he’d fly around his room getting dressed as fast as he could. As he’s gotten older, that technique is less and less effective. But his interest in gaming has not wavered in the least. It’s just more sophisticated than when he was young.