Restaurant Marketing Report - 7 Secrets To A Full Restaurant

Simple ideas and strategies to put "bums on seats" and fill your restaurant or cafe with paying customers.

We help Restaurant and Cafe Owners to magnetically attract more customers, increase the average customer spend and to put more money in your bank account.

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Friday, 7 December 2012

How Restaurants Boost Christmas Profits

Christmas is only a few weeks away now and your restaurant should be buzzing with party goers looking to celebrate Christmas and the end of the work year.

Careful planning and training will boost restaurant profits in pre-Christmas trading.

Refocus on the basics, creating good impressions, creating a fun party atmosphere,  getting customer details, add on sales, up selling and packaging, executing strategies to get customers to return in the new year are some of the things covered in this short video.

The list is far from inclusive but is intended as some quick thought starters to help you make this important time of year more profitable for your business.


Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Is your restaurant's web site mobile friendly?

Just like having systems in place to collect customer contact details, it is a critical success factor for your restaurant to have a mobile friendly website. 

Without one you will be losing more and more business as time goes on.

I have just read some of the latest statistics from the States and a IAB Study that showed...

  • 68% of American's now own a mobile device. In Australia I know it is over 50% and trending up rapidly. In my brief research one small Google study indicated Australian smart phone use is higher than in the States
  • 37% of smart phone users contacted a friend about a purchase on their phone... That is like a recommendation. For your restaurant that is pretty important
  • 35% accessed the internet to check prices and availability 
  • 80% used their smart phone to access retailer web sites
Other important statistics I found from Google Mobile Ads include...
  • 61% only look at the first page of their search results when on a mobile phone
  • 35% make a purchase on their phone... Important if you are a Pizza or other fast food operator
  • 32% change their mind about purchasing a product or service as a result of researching on their smart phone
In another study by Lab42 they found...
  • An incredible 95% used a smart phone prior, to dining out
  • 70% used their smart phone at dinner... a bit sad really but of these 19% updated their status on Facebook and 24% to take pictures of their entrées
  • 85% trusted reviews from fellow diners more than reviews from professionals and other food sites... the lesson from this is you need to make it easy for your happy diners to post reviews (I will touch on this in an upcoming webinar "How to boost restaurant profits by 135%!")
Check out the great Lab42 infographic for more of the numbers.

The moral of the story here is you need to make your website mobile friendly. Also, you need to set up systems to encourage your customers to make positive reviews.

First, I suggest you act like a customer and look at your website on your mobile phone. If it has not been optimised for a mobile experience get someone working on it for you as a priority.

Depending upon the complexity of your web site, you may be able to put together a quick fix using a service at This may require a nominal subscription where you can make the changes yourself and paste a bit of HTML code in to your web site. This enables mobile devices to be recognised and visitors see a mobile version of your web site. Otherwise, you will require a web developer to do some work for you and even set up a separate mobi web site. In need I can introduce to someone who can help you.

For myself, I found I could make this blog mobile friendly using dudamobile but 2 other sites require some major overhaul work. Long overdue anyway.

Alistair Gray 
Doctor Profit

Thursday, 18 October 2012

How to double your breakfast profits!

With a little careful planning, some staff training it is really easy to increase the profits from breakfast sales.

Now the weather is warming up, more and more of your customers will be looking to sit outside and enjoy a leisurely breakfast with some friends or to simply enjoy a cup of coffee and a read of the newspapers. 
Hint: Newspapers and access to WiFi are important customer magnets on this market.

With high wage costs and penalty rates it is essential you focus your efforts on how you can increase the average ticket size of your breakfast customer through add on sales. After all, your overheads are covered by your primary sale and all the extras you are able to sell go straight to the bottom line and in most cases will double if not triple your net profit of the original sale.

The standard breakfast sale (and I am generalising here) is say bacon and eggs, maybe a piece of tomato, toast and tea or coffee sold for anything from about $15. If you can add a freshly squeezed orange juice or some extra eggs, bacon, mushrooms, beans, toast, that sale can easily grow to $25/$30, to say nothing of the extra cup of coffee.

Breakfast dining can also be a busy time in your restaurant or café so all the more reason you need to carefully thing out, plan, test, measure, and develop a sales system for your restaurant that will deliver the desired results. Note I said test. Every restaurant has a different set of customers and circumstances so you need to test and monitor what is best for you.

Take time out to train your staff in add on sales. Yes, I know that is easier said than done. But, if this one simple strategy allows you to double your net profit is it worth it? You bet it is. Take the time to do this and you will be rewarded.

You can try simple things like…
·         Rather than immediately offering a tea or coffee when they arrive, ask would they like to start with a freshly squeezed orange juice or the delicious mango and peach juice… note, I gave a choice of two juices not one (which one would you like will get better results than a yes or no answer) and of course follow up for the tea of coffee order
·         When taking the main order… “Which would you like? An extra egg, bacon, mushrooms, toast with your order?” This one question can add an easy $4 to the order
·         Following up several times for the extra cup of coffee/tea… often there is no follow up for the second cup, or when they say no, there is no follow up a second time after a time gap… just by asking you will get extra sales
·         Suggesting a special or higher priced item on the menu e.g. “Have you tried the eggs with smoked salmon & spinach on a potato Rosti topped with mustard sauce. It is my favorite. Why not give it a go?”

These are only a few suggestions… take time out to think about what is happening in your business.

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Secret Way To Get More Customers

Check out this is a great short video (5.30 mins) from Hour a Day Entrepreneur, Henry Evans talks about the "Secret" of getting more customers.

He also outlines 20 initiatives taken by a new restaurateur to create a successful restaurant. There are some great lessons in here. Enjoy.

To view just click on the link below...

A Secret Way To Get More Customers

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Monday, 1 October 2012

6 reasons why you should promote your special event calendar

One of the keys to success in any business is to establish a marketing calendar so you have a long term thought out strategy for your business.

In this restaurant's case they have created some posters of their major events calendar for the whole year and displayed in their front window. Not only do their customers see it, but anyone walking past the restaurant sees it also.

This is a very powerful strategy for 6 key reasons-
  • You are publicly committing to holding these events and as such it makes you very accountable to your customers to making these events actually happen... you can't let things slip
  • You are giving your customers and potential customers a reason to dine at your restaurant
  • You are also communicating you are a fun place to dine... Customers are looking to be entertained and a bit of fun and something different to go to 
  • You are also helping customers to forward plan ... if they have time they will organise their friends to make up a group which means better table utilisation and more profits
  • You are helping your own forward planning and staff resourcing
  • The menu is fixed price, making for better cost and profit management
Congratulations to Juan and Sonia proud owners of the Beehive Cafe Restaurant in Beecroft NSW for a great initiative. I came across this purely by chance while taking a stroll in the area.

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Recommended Reading: 9 Ways to achieve on line marketing magic by Ken Burgin

Hospitality guru Ken Burgin says it all in this great article recently published in the Hospitality Magazine. A must read for any restaurateur who wants to ensure they have all the bases covered.

"A good effective online presence for your hospitality operation is essential in today's business environment, writes Ken Burgin". 

See the full article here

In the article he talks about the importance of an online presence and using all the tools to get your message out there, including an effective web site; a regular email newsletter; regular posting to your blog; directory listings and much more.

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Monday, 6 August 2012

9 ways to use video in your restaurant marketing to boost sales

Video is a brilliant tool to quickly and briefly share news about your restaurant to your customers. What better way do you have of quickly and authentically being able to share the excitement of your business.

These days it is really easy to record a video. You can now even quickly capture video on your phone and then quickly make it available on Facebook for the world to see. Video is way better than any fancy brochure and a static web site to communicate excitement and the special things you have to offer.

You can use videos to:
1.      Share news about your special offers and promotions
2.      Tell everyone about your events: 
a.      The wine appreciation evening
b.      The special theme nights e.g. Napoleon’s Birthday, Dance nights, Movie nights, etc.
c.    The birthdays and anniversaries, etc.
3.      Showcase special dishes you offer, or to promote a new dish or menu
4.      Share how to information e.g.
a.      How we can help you with catering your board room lunch
b.      A check list for holding a successful function
c.       How to host a charity event
d.      How to work with the restaurant to raise money for your school or sports team
e.      How to choose the right wine for your meal
f.        Chefs Corner – cooking tips and recipes
g.      How to eat for FREE and by the most benefit out of your VIP Program
h.      How to eat for FREE by referring new customers to the restaurant
5.      Show customer testimonials… videoing a customer on the spot after a great night or function can be really valuable
6.      Introduce your key people… The Chef, The Manager, The Wait Staff, The Owner
7.      Communicate your customer charter and values… stand for something, be real and your customers will love it
8.      Give customers a look behind the scenes…
a.      In the kitchen
b.      Planning a large customer event
c.       Making a Pizza delivery (if you operate a delivery service)
9.      Create excitement about a competition you are running

Once you have these videos of course you can then use links to them in your emails, newsletters; in Facebook and Twitter posts and in Google Plus. 

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Marketing Lessons from a Master Electrician

On Friday night I had a chance to catch up with my son Andrew for a bite to eat at the pub. Andrew is an Electrician and we are often on the phone talking about marketing, devising new plans and slowly building his marketing system. By the way his company is Need An Electrician should you need one. I will be in trouble if I don't mention it.

He has just joined a BNI networking group. All of a sudden he has discovered the benefits of having another 30 sales people working for him, with referrals flowing thick and fast. Before joining he could never find the time. It wasn’t seen as a priority yet now he is struggling to find the time because of the work being generated. He paid for his BNI fees from the work generated in his first meeting. He tells me the members were impressed with the range of marketing tools he uses to get business from targeted flyers, to ads, to videos on his web site, to special reports, ad words, site optimisation, and directory listings to special referral cards and hard copy newsletters. The thing is he uses all the tools and is constantly looking for new ideas and ways to grow his business.

Talking hard copy newsletters about 6 months ago after much prompting from Dad, he finally produced his first hard copy newsletter. From memory it went out to about 250 of his past customers. He was wanting do something quick and cheap by email. I told him no. Post a hard copy and it will pay you back big time.

I also told him not to do what everyone else does and push a product, but instead to make a large part of the content personal.  On the front was a picture with him holding his new nephew Zachary born in December and later was a picture of their “million dollar” dog that had just had surgery. He showed his customer charter and gave them some valuable tips and a list of his services. This was not a fancy specially designed newsletter. It was simple. It was more importantly Andrew.

Anyway, over a beer, he said “You know that newsletter we sent out?” Yes, I said. “Well, today I did a job for this lady. Couldn’t remember who she was, but she wanted to know about the baby and how my wife was. It was funny, she thought the baby was mine”. Here it was over 6 months ago and Andrew was remembered because he had created a personal connection with his customers. He often also gets asked about his puppy “Freda” and still gets regular work from that one newsletter. Of course he needs to do more of them, but that is another story.

The most important lesson here is it is all about creating a connection with your customers. Be personal. Create a personality around you instead of standing behind a business name. Stand out and be different from everyone else. Be you. Your customers are not so interested in the “glob” you sell, but more in the person who sells it. Create a personality around your business. Put your picture up. Show pictures of you and your family, your pets and your interests. You will connect so much more and on so many more levels. Be authentic and your customers will come to know you, like you and trust you. After all, your customers prefer to connect with people they do business with and are genuinely interested in you and your team.

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Want an extra $200,000 in Sales?

Want an Extra $200,000 in Sales? Assuming you are turning over a million dollars that is what you are more than likely to find when you get to know your numbers...
I keep meeting restaurant owners who think they know their numbers but in a real sense have little idea what they are, or why they are so important? If you are really serious about growing the sales and profits in your business you need to let the numbers become your best friend.

The first numbers I like to know as a marketing and profit improvement strategist is what is the average ticket size; the average spend per head by segment (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Functions); the total sales per segment and the number of covers served in the shift.

You then follow this daily and graph the result.

As soon as you track this you will start to see trends and early warning indicators. By focusing on each part or segment of the business and their particular numbers it becomes easier to manage and find ways of growing each part of the business.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to grow your profits is to increase the average spend per customer. You can do this by training and focusing your staff in add on sales. The bread, the water, the salads, the sides, entrées, desserts, an extra glass of wine, etc.. etc.. etc.. I am not going to go into this here.

If you don't monitor average spends how do you know your team is making the most of every opportunity. Many owners and managers find it very enlightening to track the average spend by server. This will quickly show you where your leaky profits are. Try it. You will be in for a surprise. Once you know where the problem is it is easy to fix.

Here in Australia where our dining culture is not driven by tips I often find ticket sizes are short by 20% or more. This is often because of poor training and management. Simply not enough focus is placed on growing the average spend. If you don't measure it, it won't happen.

Know the numbers and you will improve. After all 20% is a lot of money lost on an annualized basis. That is $200,000 if you are turning over a million dollars. Don't assume it is happening. Measure and make it happen!

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Saturday, 21 July 2012

How to be Controversial, Create publicity and Sales!

Being controversial to create publicity… my mentor Dan Kennedy in July’s NOBS marketing letter talks of a large Pizza chain in the States offering FREE pizzas to anyone ordering in Spanish. They did this because they found 70% of their customer base was Hispanic. The same chain had also made the news when it started accepting payment for Pizzas in Pesos as well as US Dollars. Both of these events hit the news and created controversy.

The question is do you have a key demographic in your area that you could leverage off to get noticed. It is all about knowing who you want and don’t want as a customer. These sorts of strategies can attract and repel. You could do the same here e.g. accepting payment in Italian Lire to reinforce the “Italianess” of your restaurant. Imagine the headline “Our food and service is so Italian we even accept payment in Italian Lire”.

Or, may be being really controversial like offering for a limited period “Free Desserts for Married Gay Couples or those who want to be Married” if you wanted to attract high spending gay couples and your demographic supported this. Or, a “Free Pizza for Boat People” … could be extended to anyone who owns a boat, been on a boat, etc. You bet the shock jocks would pick up on this. Or, “Order your Pizza in Arabic or Lebanese and get your Pizza for Free” if your business is say in the heart of Auburn to get your business to stand out from everyone else. I can see them queuing down the street now. You bet you will be noticed. You will attract a whole new group of customers. Whether they are the customers you want is your decision. 

Another idea could be… “Vote with your mouth… order either a Julia Pizza, Abbott Pizza or that Green Crowds Pizza and get a Free Dessert”. With politics on everyone’s mind at the moment that is sure to get the attention of the news desk. You need to be fast with this though as time on this opportunity is running out.

You can see how easily you can create a story to be noticed. Controversy and being outrageous gets people talking about you. All of a sudden you break the “disease of sameness” and you attract free media exposure worth thousands. Of course any initiative should be supported by appropriate ads, press releases and though out strategy.

Be interested to hear what you think.

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

How to handle telephone reservation inquires when your restaurant is full and still make money!

It was 5.20pm on Saturday night and I phoned “Roberto’s Pizzeria” (name changed for confidentiality reasons) to see if I could get a last minute booking for Helen and I.

The phone was answered by a girl.

When she answered she just said “Roberto’s Pizzeria”

I asked her who was speaking.  She repeated “Roberto’s Pizzeria” …. Note: who ever answers the phone should identify who are speaking… this creates warmth and relationship

I then said ‘Hi it is Alistair Gray speaking could I book a table for 2 this evening?”

Response: “We are full” … no apology just a very blunt response

I then repeated my question “Are you sure, it is only 2, can’t you fit me in”

Response… spoke to some in the background… and then said “No we are full” … end of conversation.

Wow, talk about telling me to “…. Off.” It was very blunt and unfriendly; the fastest way to lose customers for good.

The telephone is a critical contact point for your restaurant and must be manned by someone competent, warm and caring.

The impression I got was very cold, blunt and uncaring…just another transaction.

First rule: Create a standard way everyone in your restaurant answers the phone. It is common courtesy and good manners to always say your name and introduce yourself.

Here is a suggested script….

“Good evening, Thank you for calling Roberto’s Pizzeria. It is Alistair Gray speaking how may I help you tonight?”


“Good evening, Thank you for calling Roberto’s Pizzeria. It is Alistair Gray speaking. May I ask who is speaking please? <Wait for answer> Thank you <name> how may I help you tonight?”

I strongly recommend you set up a standard greeting for your business and let all you staff know this is the minimum standard for answering phones. I prefer option 2.

It is important to…
  •  Value your callers… thank them for ringing… they could have just have easily rung your opposition
  • Think someone is ringing to give you money not as someone ringing to interrupt your day as this will show in your voice
  • Take responsibility for the call and the customer and their requirements
  • Start building a relationship by identifying who you are and by getting their name  
  • Answer the phone professionally with a smile on your face and with warmth and enthusiasm… you welcome their call

Remember … the telephone is the gateway to your “till ringing.” Treat all calls with the love and respect they deserve … without them you have nothing!

In this case the girl showed total distain for my call… she did not even ask any questions to determine my needs. What time I was looking to dine? Without knowing what time I was looking to dine how could she know whether she could fit me it. She did not even attempt to come up with a possible solution? If you display empathy your customers will care about you.

I may have been happy to eat at 6 or 8.30pm. Instead she didn’t ask. The larger the restaurant the more options you have to maximise table turn. Try and create an option for the customer. After all you want the business and they want to dine with you.

Don’t forget this…

Whenever you are unable to accommodate a booking you are pushing someone to a competitor to eat. How you handle the situation will determine whether they will consider coming back. You want to create good will and encourage them back at another time.

The goal is to show empathy and try and help the customer to find a solution to their problem… they want to eat

Some possible strategies to employ….
  • Always apologise when you are unable to help… not the blunt “We are full approach”
  • Offer alternative times to dine if possible
  • If you offer take away … maybe that is a possible solution
  • Offer to book them in tomorrow or next weekend… this obviously is not an immediate solution but keeps them coming back
  • Get their details and offer to send out a voucher for a FREE entrée or Dessert to make up for the inconvenience (strategy to get them back another time)
  • Set up a referral strategy with another restaurant where you agree to cross promote when you are each full…this way you are seen to be helpful and the business loss is retained between 2 restaurants. Even set up a referral discount arrangement so business remains between the two restaurants. The reality is they will go somewhere else so why not set up an alliance between 2 of you to help each other
  • Maybe only take bookings for say 90% of the restaurant with the balance to be on a first come, first serve basis … i.e. you reward early bookers, but create the flexibility to handle the rest. Most restaurants have diners who leave early. This is an empty table to fill. Or, they face the challenge of managing the impacts of last minute no shows. In this way late bookers have a way of getting a table. They just have to wait in the bar for a table to come available. You get a way of increasing table turn. Of course you warn these diners they may have a wait to get a table. It is all about understanding your flows and developing a strategy for maximum usage depending upon your situation. This is better than a blanket we are full approach after all increasing your table turn is what it is all about.
  • Carefully select the right person to handle the telephone … someone who can “Wow!” your callers over the phone with their caring and professionalism

Finally, determine the strategy and procedures for your restaurant and then communicate them to all staff. Record them in your procedures manual so they become the standard.

Always, finish the call by thanking them again for calling.

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Sunday, 1 July 2012

12 Ways for you to boost the sales performance, staff satisfaction and retention in your restaurant

  1. Lead by example… spend time working actively on the floor interacting with customers, taking orders, listening for opportunities and selling to your customers
  2. Take time and meet one on one with each team member each week… create regular dialogue with your team members and use this as a way to communicate expectations, seek feedback, thank and acknowledge their work, build loyalty, trust and accountability. This one activity alone will have a significant impact on reducing staff turnover
  3. Become a great sales coach… spend time encouraging and helping individual team members to improve. Done right this is a highly powerful way to motivate and support your staff. After all, most of us want to do better. Use your experience by offering help, tips, and motivation. This will go a long way to improving individual satisfaction and performance
  4. Train your team regularly… despite the challenges of split shifts and casual workers, create opportunities to regularly train your team. Whether it is in a group or in sub groups. This is a powerful way to improve service and sales performance. Use role plays; actively involve team members, set challenges and competitions to reinforce your training. Create a regular training schedule and plan. This is a really powerful way to raise the performance of your team and also to improve staff retention
  5. Set up a mentor program… assign a mentor to new employees to help them settle in and to assist in fast tracking their effectiveness
  6. Monitor individual sales performances… compare customer average spend numbers by individual by staff members. The results will surprise you. You will quickly identify your high performers; those needing some skill development and those who need to be moved on. Share the numbers with team members and set goals
  7. Fire quickly… if a team member is unresponsive to training and coaching, or just doesn't fit in, move them on. The last thing you need is for someone on the team to be dragging down team performance, service and efficiency. This impacts on everyone and you are much better without them
  8. Seek feedback and suggestions… make sure you are open to feedback, ideas and suggestions from your team. Be open to change. They are at the front line and often will see things that is slowing them down or inhibiting better service performance. Seek their ideas for promotions and marketing initiatives. Involve them and they are likely to take ownership
  9. Regularly reward and acknowledge your people… a word of thanks or slipping a team member a couple of movie tickets goes a long way to acknowledge a job well done and staff satisfaction
  10. Invest in your personal development… regularly attend seminars, read and listen to audio programs; watch DVDs. Not only the hospitality industry but look outside for ideas and ways of developing your own skills and understanding. It will pay you handsomely 
  11. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate… keep your team informed about everything that is going on. Let them know about your promotions; your plans and goals; the performance of the restaurant.  The more they know the more they can help and work with you to achieve your goals
  12. Get a coach or mentor… like Olympians and other great sports people who achieve great success and peak performances you need someone to encourage you, hold you accountable and challenge you to get your achieve your best

Finally … I never said it would be easy. The most common complaint and concern I hear is the challenge of keeping well trained staff. The strategies above will help you reduce staff churn and make a positive impact on your bottom line.

After all, your people are you most valuable asset. Invest time, nurture, care for them and you will be well rewarded.

Give it a go and most importantly create a sense of fun!

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Mr Restaurateur your phone is ringing!

It is Friday night just before 7pm. My wife Helen and I have both been busy. We haven’t thought about dinner. Do we cook or do we go out?

For busy working couples this probably sounds familiar. We haven’t planned ahead and there is nothing quick and easy to eat in the fridge. I am sure you can relate. We decide to eat out.

The first restaurant…
We had wanted to try a local Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant for some time. I rang the restaurant only to find it is on voice mail. No greetings message from the restaurant just an automated message, saying something like “leave your number and we will call you back”. Worse the message bank was full. I had left a message a few days before and I am still waiting for the call back. Oh well, these guys are definitely off “my eat out” list. Easy business lost.

The second restaurant…
So next I decided to ring “Roberto’s Pizzeria” (name changed) to see if we can get a table. A friendly but rushed girl answered the phone after it rang a while. She answers something like, “Roberto’s Pizzeria. How can I help you?” I ask if we can get a table for two in about 20/30 minutes. She says “Just a minute.” And immediately puts me on hold. While I wait I get blasted with some squawky music. I wait about 3 or 4 minutes and then someone else picks up the phone and says “How can I help you?” I repeat my request. Then I get the classic “Just a minute” and it is back to the squawky music and waits another 3 or 4 minutes. Helen is saying hang up, hang up we will go somewhere else. Then finally another completely different person answers the phone and asks “How can I help you?” And we hang up!

We jump in the car and do a walk in at another Italian Restaurant and ending up having a great meal. Now I am the first to admit, it is Friday night. Most restaurants will be busy. However, it is when you are busy; your business is really tested. You need to train you staff in proper telephone handling procedures to ensure an exceptional experience.

Make your customers feel special…
Aim to make all callers feel special even if you are full. Remember they have thought of dining with you as against the competition and you want to value that. If you cannot accommodate their request they are going to dine with a competitor and you immediately risk losing the relationship. To offset this you need to establish a strategy to handle this to retain the good will of the customer.

For example you could say something like this…  “Thank you so much for trying to book with us tonight. Unfortunately, we are full tonight and we feel really bad we can’t look after you. We really value your business and to make up for it we would like to send you a voucher for a free entrée/ main/dessert (whatever) to make up for it.” The customer is going think wow! That is good, and will really appreciate it. Your voucher could be for midweek use. You don’t need to mention that. Just that you are sending them a gift. In this way you create a lot of good will and an incentive to re dine when you are otherwise quiet.

Establish basic telephone answering procedures…
Ensure phones are answered within 3 rings…there is nothing worse in the restaurant with a telephone ringing continuously in the back ground
Create a uniform greeting for your restaurant that is friendly and warm e.g. “Good Evening. Roberto’s Pizzeria. It is Sally Anne Speaking. May I ask who is speaking please? <answer> Thank you <name> How may I help you tonight?” or variations on that.
Tell customers you are placing customers on hold and why… customers can understand if you tell them what is going on e.g. you need to get the supervisor to handle the booking, etc. But don’t leave them dangling as happened at Roberto’s.
Set out telephone procedures for common transactions and requests for 
  • Bookings or orders
  • Function or catering inquires or requests
  • Giving directions to the restaurant (have a standard set of directions by each phone staff can easily refer to)
  • Message handling to ensure messages are responded to promptly and are passed on
  • Complaint handling
  • Employment enquires
  • General information on the restaurant
  • Etc.
Finishing or closing the call e.g. “Thank you for calling Roberto’s. Before you go is there anything else I can help with? <Answer> Thanks for calling. Have a great night”.
Never put your telephone on message bank during your core hours of service. You are open and your customers want to be able to reach you and do business.

Prepare to Wow your customers by collecting information…
When any one calls the restaurant this is a great opportunity to find out…
If they are visiting for any special occasion e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, etc. You can surprise them with special cards, gifts, acknowledgements
If they have any special dietary requirements
Have they been before… acknowledge that on arrival or if new you can welcome accordingly
Member of your loyalty program…plant the seed/ reinforce the program
Get email, mobile phone numbers, address, etc.

Constantly review and monitor telephone answering performance
Be a customer, or get a friend to be a customer and monitor what happens. I suggest you record the call so you can provide constructive feedback to your team.  Don’t beat them over the head but coach them to reach optimum performance.  These standards are often not taught. Don’t assume they know. Instead invest time in training your people and you will be well rewarded with the results.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

State of Origin Lessons for Restaurant Managers

It is State of Origin time. It is always great to see the best come out of the players as they proudly take the field with enormous pride and determination for 80 minutes of hard hitting football. The pride of their State riding high on their shoulders after months of intense preparation, coaching, tactical planning, fitness training to ensure the best chance of success.

As a restaurant owner how prepared are your team to "take the field?" Are they focused? Are they motivated? Are they determined? Are they properly briefed? Have you planned for their success? Do they know the specials?

A good question I suspect! We all get too busy. We assume our teams know what we expect, but do we actually tell them. Do we create the right expectations! Do we motivate them to achieve or do we bash them over the head with complaints and issues?

Yes, you have lots of casual staff, split shifts and all the challenges that brings. You still need to hold pre-shift briefings even if they have to be one on one.

The “pre-shift” briefing is a critical part of your success. Remember you are the coach and this meeting is a great way to keep the team focused, to share a common theme, to motivate, to encourage & create expectations.

Never demotivate your players before they take the "field" by having a "bitch" session.

To create a great meeting you should aim to -
·         Keep the meeting short, quick & to the point
·         Keep it positive
·         Acknowledge someone
·         Inform or instruct them of your expectations
·         Try & focus on one key thing
·         Create energy so they take this to the floor
·         Talk about the daily special
·         Get someone to demonstrate to the team how to sell it
·         Get interaction from the team
·         Set goals for the day e.g. average spend per wait person, up sells, etc
·         Create competition
·         Plan your meetings
·         Involve everyone
·         Have fun!

Do these things and not only will you have a happy team, your customers will be happier and your profits and sales will soar.

Alistair Gray
Doctor Profit

Friday, 13 April 2012

What? No database!

It is all about Marketing!
A fundamental lesson in survival...

I was sitting with a beauty therapist in the Sydney CBD.

She had a very successful practise until one day everything changed. The fitness centre she was aligned with was sold and she was forced to do business in a completely different way.

All of a sudden the customers stopped coming and her cash flow dried up.

“Please help! What can I do?”

The first thing I asked was “Do you have a database of your past and current customers?”

“No”, she replied, “Only a few odd mobile numbers but nothing much.”

Then there was the restaurateur in the heart of the Sydney Financial District. The global financial crises arrived. All of a sudden his business stopped dead overnight. Again huge rents to pay but no cash flow and he was in trouble. When asked he had no database of his customers.

Or, the restaurateur in Melbourne who had been business for 10 years; highly successful; been on the business TV shows and then all the car yards around him suddenly moved. Suddenly he needed to promote his business in a different way, but without a database and no way of contacting his customers he was forced to use highly expensive and ineffective advertising.

You must have a database. Start today, it’s easy and it will save you thousands and be the cheapest insurance policy you can buy.

No matter what type of business you are in you need one.

Having a database of your customers, prospective customers, customers who didn’t buy, customers who made enquires or made contact is a critical business success factor. You will notice I haven’t just mentioned customers but all those who have made contact with the business.

Once you have a database it is real easy to “talk” to your customers whether it is by email, hard copy newsletter, SMS, phone, or a good old fashioned letter. You can reactivate old customers to return to your business, encourage existing customers to buy more and attract back those customers who have visited and not bought.

One of the biggest benefit of a database is you reduce wastage from in efficient advertising and blanket promotions to becoming more selective and targeted in your customer communications.

Running a restaurant with Restaurant Sales Builder makes all this real easy as not only do you have a system for collecting customer data, you have an automated customer communication system that keeps customers coming back and buying over and over again. To find out more please contact us.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Restaurant Sales Builder Proving To Be A Real Success!

Sales Builder Loyalty Creates Raving Fans...
The following self-explanatory article posted by one of our cousins in the States shows the real benefits of  Restaurant Sales Builder Program to boost sales and  customer loyalty.

Read more here

To find out more about the program here in Australia and how you too can use it to grow your sales please download your brief information package here or contact us here

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Guilty! Famous Restaurateur Sentenced...

The court room was hushed…

The judge was about to pass sentence on the well-dressed man in the dock.

He started to speak. “Mr Restaurateur you have been found guilty of random acts of marketing; of erratic results; of attracting coupon chasers; and worst of all of having an empty restaurant mid-week. I sentence you to years of struggle, to inconsistent cash flow and many hours of hard labour for little return.”

Yes, this may be a story but does it hold some truths for you. 

Are you in a 7 day a week prison where you are running around, working hard and you feel you are just not making progress?

Your sales are slow, yet the restaurant down the road is buzzing and you keep asking why? What are they doing that keeps their restaurant full of paying customers. My food is even better than theirs. They mass produce their meals and mine are individually prepared with love, care and attention. Yet they have the customers?

The good news it is not your fault. There is a better way.

Every day you pump out meals, that are predictable, consistent and of high quality. You can also do that with your marketing. Just like in preparing good meals you have a recipe; you cook, test and monitor the meals you produce until you get it right. Sometimes you get it wrong and you try again until you find the right formula that works.

Yes, you have a system for producing consistent quality meals. Marketing to fill your restaurant with the right customers is exactly the same.

You can develop systems that will afford-ably, efficiently and predictably produce for you an abundant supply of quality customers.

The key word is SYSTEMS.

You need a marketing system in place to consistently and predictably deliver quality diners to your restaurant at a time when you want to deliver customers to your restaurant?

Note the emphasis on the word quality… this means attracting the right customers to your business. A basic essential is a system to collect full customer information, not just emails?

Building a system doesn’t happen overnight, though there are some short cuts to jump start your successes. For example the Restaurant Sales Builder System provides a great system to automate core customer communications and encourage repeat dining.

Other systems could include for example targeted direct mail. Once you have a series of letters that are proven to work, this can be used time and time again to fill your restaurant when you need to boost sales. 

The other day for example we ran a pilot campaign targeting 131 prospects and ended up attracting 68 customers for lunch. This can be improved and rolled out to other prospects to become part of your marketing system.

You too can have all the customers you want. A strong cash flow and a repeatable cash generating sales system. To find out more and book your FREE, “Fill Your Restaurant Sales Strategy Session” go to

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Restaurants...Clean Up Australia...Local Promotions

Tomorrow is Clean Up Australia Day. Restaurant Owners for some of you this presents a great opportunity to extend your reach in your local community.

With careful forward planning you can maximise on these type of local events as a very low cost and easy way to attract new customers to your restaurant.

For example: With Clean Up Australia Day find out who the local organisers are for the clean-up and then give them a heap of “Thank you Dining Certificates” which can be given out to volunteers who participate in the clean-up.

Not only do you get the good PR with being associated with a good cause, you are helping the organiser to acknowledge in some way the contribution of the volunteers. They will love you for that.

This is a “dirt cheap” way of attracting new customers. Your only cost is a bit of time, some photocopying or printing of vouchers, and the food cost of any vouchers actually redeemed.

When they dine you get the customer details and join them into your loyalty program. For those who use Restaurant Sales Builder a complete program is already in place to do this for you.

Say your 3 year lifetime value per customer is $1260 (you need to calculate your figures…yours maybe more) it is easy to see the value of these low cost promotions and how much it is costing you by not planning ahead and using theses opportunities.

You may have “missed the boat” this time, but think ahead…what other local events could you apply this principle to?

Those who participate in my coaching programs, planning sessions, or specific promotions get the benefit of having me as their marketing director, thinking ahead, identifying opportunities, challenging them, and helping them to achieve significantly better results. 

Like to know more…drop me a quick email and we can set up a time to talk.