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    4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 31, 2008 10:24 PM by DJ Lash

    The internet is not always the answer

    Iwrite Pioneer
      I recently had a client ask me a question that I thought would be great for here.

      Here is some background: He has three locations of an Italian restaraunt, one a very old
      location and two recent additions. His food is good, the prices are
      great and the locations aren't bad (not close enough to my house but
      that keeps my doctor happy). All three locations do a great lunch business but dinner and the weekends are weaker. The area for each store is a balance between residential and business, with plenty of schools and hospitals. A family of four can eat a nice sit down meal for about $35-40.

      His question: "What am I doing wrong, my website has been up for a while but I am not getting a lot of orders from it?"

      My answer: "The internet is not always the answer. It is great for some business and for others it is more of an information source. Your business is growing at a steady rate.

      Your business is more of a dine in experience. So, while people can order from your site, most prefer to come in and eat. Your site should not change that. You can increase your catering busness through your website, but your dine in business is where your money is at.

      Look at marketing efforts that convey the dining experience, conform your marketing effort to your business, not conform your busness to your marketing efforts. Become part of the neighborhood and the business community. Reward customers for repeat patronage. Host activities. Provide sponsorships. Get out and mingle."

      This is my short answer.

      What's your question about marketing and advertising?

      I would be more than happy to answer it here. And I am not alone. (Read some of the stories and articles on this site.) There are some really great marketing minds on this forum. Take advantage of them, ask your questions here. You really don't want to know what many of us charge to answer questions outside of here.

        • Re: The internet is not always the answer
          ModernGorilla Wayfarer
          I'm in complete agreement.

          I worked in a new Italian restaurant location 13~ years ago (second location for a family-owned biz) and I remember going to every business park/office in the area, introducing myself and handing out thousands of lunch menus. There was absolutely no way I could've generated that business over the internet and it ultimately ended up being completely consistent for the three years I was there.

          You're also spot-on with regards to the dine-in experience; one of the owners was a charismatic chef who would toil away in the visible kitchen, always visit with diners and was generally the reason why many people would wait an hour for a table (celebs included). We also had an excellent hostess who made everyone part of the party.. Once those two elements left (to pursue other endeavors) the business was flat and uninteresting.

          My point is that none of the above could be conveyed or accomplished over the internet. I'm glad I was there for that magical period to witness a small business flourish in a new community.. it's just a pity that it couldn't be sustained.

          Just my $0.02.
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: The internet is not always the answer
              Iwrite Pioneer
              Thank you for your comments.

              I am concerned that we are trying to ask the internet to do more than it is really capable of sometimes. Yes, you need a web presence but understand what it is the web or any other marketing can do for you. Personal contact is something no media can duplicate - there is nothing like face time. And it is something small businesses can do without spending money.

              Stepping down from my soapbox.

              Thanks.
            • Re: The internet is not always the answer
              LUCKIEST Guide
              The internet is not always the answer
              *Iwrite, I like your closing "*Look at marketing efforts that convey the dining experience,
              conform
              your marketing effort to your business, not conform your busness to
              your marketing efforts.
              Become part of the neighborhood and the
              business community. Reward customers for repeat patronage.
              Host
              activities. Provide sponsorships. Get out and mingle."
              That is TRUE Marketing. As you know I talk about SCORE and Business and Marketing Plans.
              "Become part of the neighborhood and the
              business community. Reward customers for repeat patronage.
              Host
              activities. Provide sponsorships (*like a little league team, with all the children running around town*
              *wearing the restaurant name on their shirt.*). Get out and mingle."
              LUCKIEST
              1 of 1 people found this helpful
                • Re: The internet is not always the answer
                  DJ Lash Newbie
                  This reply gave me some insight on possible ways to generate business for my music entertainment business. Knocking on a few doors to introduce myself can't hurt. I realy like the idea of being active in the community and sponsorships. Reward for repeat business is a thought I haven't thought of yet, either. Instead of reward for repeat business, I have offered a percent of revenue earned from an event as a finders fee or as they say in the car business a "Bird-dog". All in all I have something to work on, thanks for the info.

                  Thank you
                  DJ Lash of Trey Maven Entertainment, Sole Prop