For the restaurant owner they provide an opportunity to raise their profile in the local community and are more effective than traditional advertising methods - or are they? This is a whole story in it self but need less to say my view is they encourage one off diners who reside well away from the restaurants natural business catchment to try you out purely because of the deal. When in essence they are very unlikely return. The "Life Time Value" of such a customer is usually negative and restaurants are in effect "Spinning their wheels", putting a lot of pressure on their staff and resources for at best a "break even" result.
After all Marketing your restaurant is not a "one off event" as these type of campaigns encourage but a "process".
When I examined (not in detail) the individual restaurants I found a number of fundamental sales and marketing flaws that was common among a large number of these restaurants. The flaws were not limited to small independent operators but also some big name restaurants.
I found -
- A surprising large number of restaurants still did not have a web site despite the obvious benefits that brings a restaurant
- A large number of restaurants who did not display their phone number on the home page (Top Right Preferred) but instead hid the number away either below "the fold" (below the viewing screen on the computer) or you had to search and find a "Contact Us" button and then "click through". By the way the phone number should be displayed on every page.
- Many restaurants did not collect customers email address and name so they could receive regular communications, offers and news from their restaurant - this is your "gold"
- So many restaurants have let the web developers get carried away with heaps of flash so if you were searching on a mobile phone you couldn't get your core restaurant information or even find out the basics about your restaurant e.g. location, opening hours, phone number, parking details, menu, etc
- Hardly any restaurant had a Facebook page
- No restaurant actually gave a web visitor a reason or incentive to visit the restaurant other than they had good food or offered good service. Everyone else is saying the same thing so where is the incentive for them to visit for a first time
- A number of directory listings where out of date - regularly review these
- No Google Places listing