Restaurant Local Store Marketing – Using A Loss Leader To Attract New Business

LSM Tip #2

Hey, car dealerships have been doing it for years. Putting a fantastically priced car in the very front of the lot to attract customers. Even if they price it below cost, they still believe it will attract buyers to other vehicles.

So do the same with your products. To bring new business to your restaurant promote a low cost item at cost or less. A dessert or appetizer heavily discounted can attract customers for your more profitable entrée. This works for most concepts just be a little creative with the products you offer. Remember you want to make money on the total meal even if you lose on part of it.

Be smart – only use products that look good and you can prep earlier to help keep the labor costs down.

To Higher Profits!


Managing Social Networking For Your Restaurant Franchise

Managing the social networking in your restaurant franchise requires skill and forethought. I recently helped a couple who had been in a large coffee franchise for more than 10 years to exit the system. They were one of the first franchisees to invest in this particular coffee franchise and had bought and sold numerous stores during that time. At the time of my meeting with them, they still had 4 stores and were looking to sell one and purchase
another in a downtown area

Over the years in this system and previously in other QSR franchise concepts they had become successful business people who enjoyed being in business and all the perks that went along with it.

Part of my brief  was to evaluate their stores along with the other stores in the region and give suggestions to the franchisor as to who met the criteria for further expansion. The result was somewhat surprising to the corporation –  this couple did not meet the criteria for expansion! Their franchise representative and other franchisees around them were not too surprised as they had been unhappy with their performance for quite some time. But the corporation saw them as almost “founding franchisees” and had treated them as somewhat of a protected species.

So what had happened to them? Like a lot of people who have been in business a long time, they were more in love with being “in business” than running the business. They loved being local celebs. They were members of the local Rotary Club, gave talks to schools and business organizations, she was the president of the local women-in-business group, they led charity drives etc, etc.

Networking and being involved with the local community is very important to building your business and every effort should be made to be seen as part of that community. What went wrong here is that they forgot the reason for being in all of these organizations in the first place…… their own business! As more and more of their time was taken up with the non money making activities the result was that their business suffered. Sales and cleanliness standards fell, costs rose and productivity and profit plummeted.

What had happened was that they had lost the passion for the business and had replaced that passion with a list of things and groups they thought would help grow that business. They actually thought they were doing the right thing. Their problem, apart from the fact that they needed to get out, was that they went too far with the social networking.

Join as many groups as you wish but there is no need to be the president, chairman or secretary unless you have the time to do it. I don’t know many food franchisees that have that sort of time.

So, what happened to the couple ?  Well good news, they listened to what was being said to them, gave up a few of their social/business commitments and went back to work in their business. It took a few months and a lot of hard work but they tightened up their store, got their business back along with some of the profits and were able to sell their remaining stores. They are currently taking a break before looking for another venture to keep their fires burning.

So why didn’t they rekindle the passion for their existing business? They were already tried and tested in this concept. Simple. Everything has a shelf life and for them coffee had reached that shelf life, it was time to move on. They had lasted over ten years in one concept where the average was three to five years. Once you lose the passion for a business it is time  to have that hard discussion with yourself and make a decision that will be best for you and the business in the long term.


Consultant For Your Franchise QSR? Part II

Now a motivational speaker is exactly that, someone to stir the blood, to give you the motivation and inspiration to do the things you already knew you had to do and if done well the motivation will last long enough to get some of those tasks completed and hopefully you will retain 10% of that initial motivation over the long term.

A business coach is a different kettle of fish. These people are giving advice that could affect the rest of your life and they are using your money to do it. A business coach must be significantly experienced in your business and have the strength of character to say “Hey that is not my area of expertise; you should get independent advice for that. Here are some people I recommend and have worked with before”

A business coach should be a generalist within your business. Operations is a good basis for a business coach due to the fact that they deal with all parts of the business on a daily basis and will generally be able to steer you in the right direction for those areas where a true expert is needed. Legal and financial are two areas that come to mind.

So if you are looking for a business coach. STOP. Think about why you believe you need one. Lack of experience is a good reason. Running out of ideas to grow sales is not. With some online search and networking you can usually get some new ideas to help with sales. Hey you can even talk to me. It won’t cost you anything…… for now.

If you still think you need a business coach then make sure you do your research. Look for someone who has significantly more experience than you and is in a similar business. If you are in the convenience food industry a restaurant coach may not be the best choice to help you. Check references and make sure they have successfully helped businesses such as yours.

Do you need local help or are the issues you face better dealt with by someone with multi-concept experience. It is sometimes better to learn from outside of your concept. People think differently in different concepts and ideas from one concept can often work just as well in something totally different.

How much can you afford and what return on investment do you expect. Sit down and work it out on a scrap of paper. You may find that it is just not worth the time effort and money.

To tell you the truth, the best business coaches are often peers within your own business. Search out the successful ones and ask them for an hour a week of their time over the next 6 weeks. Take them out to dinner and wrack their brains once a week. You will develop a mentor and friend and save thousands.

Most importantly check the credentials of the business coach. An MBA or experience in presenting means little in our business unless they have done the hard yards just like you. Have they ever owned their own business, worked the 16 hour days, 7 days a week for months on end with their home on the line if something goes wrong. They should at least have an understanding of what the consequences are if their advice is wrong.

Good luck and good hunting.