The Truth About Successful Restaurants

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successful restaurants great service
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Article contributed by David “Rev” Ciancio

Would you open a pizza shop without an oven? Would you try to run a restaurant without a dishwasher? Do you expect your guests to cook their own food (Korean BBQ excluded!)?

The truth is, no you would not. Ovens, dishwashers, utilities, tables, chairs, flatware, napkins, soap, toilet paper, a bookkeeper, point of sale system, credit card processing, servers… all these things and more are things you know you need to run a successful restaurant.

It’s a given. They are operational requirements for being in the restaurant business. At some point you accepted this as the truth.

If you don’t want to cook the food or wash the dishes, you would’ve opened a grocery store, but you didn’t. You’re in the hospitality business and it’s our business to serve.

Which means that you’ve got to have all the things you need to serve the customers in the way that is most convenient, pleasing and in need of what they want and expect.

  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Day & Nite
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • RAK Porcelain
  • McKee Foodservice
  • Atosa USA
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • Imperial Dade
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Easy Ice

They call it the hospitality business but it’s really more like show business. We have to create and entertain. The difference is that instead of a box office, you have a host stand, a service counter, a drive thru and or an online ordering system.

Consumers have a number of ways in which they can transact with you.

So… How do you expect consumers to place an order with you if you don’t have online ordering? How do you expect consumers to find you if you don’t market the business? How can you expect your guests to return and spend more if you don’t ask them to?

“Our POS is out of date but it’s too expensive to switch.”

“Advertising is expensive.”

“Marketing is hard.”

These are paradigms, false beliefs… LIES… you tell yourself that gives you an excuse to not do what you should be doing.

The truth is that your competitors are doing these things and it’s working. That’s why they are having success and growing.

The truth is that its just easier to spend your time doing something you know how to do instead of investing the time to learn something new or investing the money to have someone teach you how to do it or to do it for you.

The truth is that you don’t have a growth mindset. You’ve made an agreement with lack. All of life’s failures are due to taking sides with the finite around us.

All of life’s successes are due to taking sides with the law within us for the infinite.

Everyone who has had long-term and sustained success in this business has chosen a growth mindset. They are open to ideas.

The only thing guaranteed to create failure is the expectation of failure. “What if it doesn’t work” pretty much guarantees it’s not going to. “What if this works” creates the desire and the path to figure it out. “How much more awesome will my life be when this works” calls it into reality even faster!

When successful entrepreneurs get presented with an opportunity, they spend their time and energy thinking about how it might be able to help them.

The truth is consumers discover restaurants in 4 main ways:

  1. Online search (with sites like Google and Yelp)
  2. Word of mouth, which now comes in the form of social media and review sites
  3. Advertising
  4. Third-Party delivery apps

If you want to be found in search, you have to spend time and effort managing your local search results.

You have to make sure all the important information about your business like name, address, phone number, hours of operation, your menu and photos are up to date and correct on all the sites where consumers go to search for where to get their next meal.

If you want to ignite word of mouth, you have to be encouraging your guests to leave reviews, share content on social media and tell their friends or family about your food and the experience.

You can’t just hope they do, you have to encourage them and reward them when they do.

If you want to be found by people who aren’t recommending you or aren’t searching for a business like yours, you have to be advertising.

There are lots of advertising options available for your business so find the ones that are right for you. If you don’t know where to start, use Facebook and Instagram ads.

They are cheap, they are available everywhere and you can target down to people who like specific food items and live or work within one mile of your location.

If you want to make money with online orders, you have to be able to take your own online orders. The third-party delivery apps are great for discovery but with those insanely high commissions, it’s not a sustainable option.

Use them to help find new customers but then convert them over to ordering from you directly.

And once you do all of that … the only way to win is to drive return trips. This is the restaurant biz. Margins are thin. Frequency and increased lifetime value is the only way to win.

You can hope and pray that your guests order again, or you can take the time to set up marketing that gets them to happily order again and again and again … so you never have to worry about revenue again.

The point is this: you would never open up a restaurant without a way to cook the food and wash the dishes.

When you start to realize that you would never open up a restaurant without having mechanisms to attract and retain customers, you will start to have wild success.

A successful restaurant provides a great experience both on and off premise as well as on and offline. A successful restaurant doesn’t wait for people to order or for guests to eat there again.

A successful restaurant puts all the things into play that ensures consumers choose their restaurant and return frequently.

The truth is that online ordering, marketing and advertising are operational requirements for being in the hospitality business.

The truth is when you get curious about those and start to use them regularly, you will see growth in your business.

Do you have questions or want some suggestions on any of these points? Send me a DM on Instagram or LinkedIn. I have worked with hundreds of restaurants to help them attract and retain guests. I’m happy to answer any questions you have.

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David Rev Ciancio

David “Rev” Ciancio is a former New York City bar owner and knows exactly how hard it is to operate and brand a hospitality business.

He is now a hospitality marketing consultant, customer and technology evangelist with more than 20 years experience in B2B digital marketing and business development, specializing in hospitality marketing, content, local SEO, reputation management and influencer marketing.

He helps technology companies, brands and restaurants to acquire and retain customers. Rev is known as an “expert burger taster,” pens hospitality and marketing tips on his Instagram @revciancio, as well as his LinkedIn Profile. He believes that Pizza is a religion.

  • Cuisine Solutions
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Day & Nite
  • Atosa USA
  • Imperial Dade
  • Easy Ice
  • RAK Porcelain
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • McKee Foodservice
  • AyrKing Mixstir
David "Rev" Ciancio
David “Rev” Ciancio is a former New York City bar owner and knows exactly how hard it is to operate and brand a hospitality business. He is now a hospitality marketing consultant, customer and technology evangelist with more than 20 years experience in B2B digital marketing and business development, specializing in hospitality marketing, content, local SEO, reputation management and influencer marketing. He helps technology companies, brands and restaurants to acquire and retain customers. Rev is known as an “expert burger taster,” pens hospitality and marketing tips on his Instagram @revciancio, as well as his LinkedIn Profile. He believes that Pizza is a religion.
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