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    9 Replies Latest reply on May 13, 2008 4:52 PM by Iwrite

    When advertising works too well.

    Iwrite Pioneer
      I got the strangest call from one of my clients, he owns a small family run restaraunt. It went like this:

      "Derek(that's me), I think I need to quit advertising," said my client

      "Is there a problem? I thought business was great? Have the crowds dropped off? I was there the other day and things were slamming," I relied.

      "That's just it, the advertising is working too well. We are so busy that we can barely keep up. The wait is getting longer and my staff is becoming stressed. We weren't ready for this much business," he said.

      "Okay, we'll pull back on the advertising but I think the horse is out the barn. The word is out. I'll stop by tomorrow and let's see how we can turn this to you advantage," I responded.

      We met the next day, and sure enough the line was long. But as I watched the people in line I noticed something - no one was upset or put out. In fact they were talking to each other, introducing themselves and recommending favorites to try.

      I told me client, "look at this, people are mingling. Let's try something."

      I went up to two parties that were talking and said, "I know you folks have been waiting, I was wondering if we could try something different to get you served faster? What if we set your parties together at a bigger table which we have, instead of waiting for two smaller tables? And we'll give you the mix and mingle special of 15% off the ticket."

      They jumped at it, and were seated. Before either I or my client could say something, more people in line wanted to know if they could mix and mingle too. All of a sudden, the line was gone. His customers were happy, his staff was less rushed and the client was happy.

      A few days later he called me to let me know that he didn't want to reduce his advertising. He had reconfigured his dining room for family style dining. In fact he wanted to advertise the "Mix and Mingle" feel of the restaraunt. His business has been great every since.

      What is your plan if your marketing and advertising works too well?
        • Re: When advertising works too well.
          Lighthouse24 Ranger

          When business is booming, I think we (small business owners, in general) can get so caught up in doing the things that deliver value to our customers (work we love to do) that we may neglect or cut back on the key marketing elements that helped make us so busy in the first place (as your client wanted to do). That's one reason why many small businesses ride a revenue roller coaster. Good for you for putting on your "management consultant hat" and not letting that happen!

          Many restaurants in theater districts use the option you suggested to your client as a way to get couples in and out by curtain time (plus filling all the chairs at a table is more profitable than having half of them empty). So this is a great example of how, when business owners have a "problem," they might take a step back and look at how other similar businesses have addressed it -- and see solutions that were not apparent when they were standing "in the thick of it."

          Thanks for the post.
          • Re: When advertising works too well.
            DomainDiva Ranger
            Well aren't YOU the brilliant one!!! We sat in an arrangement such as this in New York...it's one of the most memorable dinners' out I have ever had!!!
              • Re: When advertising works too well.
                Iwrite Pioneer
                I wouldn't say that! Try embarrassed! I had not planned for this, and it could have cost my client. I was just glad it worked out.

                We were once having such a great time at a meal in Atlanta that the couple we next to us ask if they could join us, they pushed the tables together and had a great time. The chef even made the ladies a special dessert, because they had brought so much life to the dining room. Needless to say, we ate their more after that, and we always got the center table.

                Seriously, what is your plan for success?
                  • Re: When advertising works too well.
                    DomainDiva Ranger
                    The plan for success is to offer an easy to use, fabulous product at a SUPER competitive price.

                    We finally got through the alpha test phase and got the bugs and uglies worked out. I am now working alpha test part b...what a beautiful little biz app we have here!!!! It even feels solid for data entry....

                    Once the app is mapped out with the security and linked to the web we will start beta user testing.

                    Never be embarrassed when you 'go where no person has gone before' (at least with that client). Even if it had been a complete disaster...it sounds like your client trusts you enough to not get wound up and bolt if theres a mishap. (Trust me on this).
                • Re: When advertising works too well.
                  designer Tracker

                  Would you be able to share with us what kind of advertising was done to achieve this? Radio, TV, newspaper, flyers? Did the client have to spend a lot of money, or not really?

                   


                  Many family style restaurants do well if the prices are fair, owners and staff are friendly and hours & menu choices are good and the place is clean. For some reason, that is one business where the word spreads like wildfire. People love to EAT and they are so quick to tell 2 firends who tell 2 more friends. Some people think FOOD all day long and plan around an event like a movie and then go out to EAT.
                    • Re: When advertising works too well.
                      Iwrite Pioneer
                      Sure. We used direct mail with a coupon, print(local edition of the newspaper and the area high school papers), a little radio(very little), and email. We also folded in a loyalty program and a referral program. We encouraged word of mouth with the referral. We used the coupon or a special offer for tracking.

                      It was not expensive but it wasn't free. The client was doing some advertising, so we moved the existing advertising to better performing areas. We fiddled with the mix to get things right. It was a lot of tweaking to respond to input.

                      It was not the only restaurant in the area but we worked to their strengths and encouraged them to focus on their personality.

                      Does this help?
                        • Re: When advertising works too well.
                          designer Tracker

                          Oh, yes! Thank you. "Advertising" is such a big umbrella of a word and I wondered. Like you said, you have to do a lot of "tweaking" to match the product and/or service with the best adveritsing methods.
                            • Re: When advertising works too well.
                              Iwrite Pioneer
                              You're welcome. The client really helped, they got out into the community and invited the community in - they showed themselves to be friendly. They did the little things like participate in the silent auctions for the PTA, took part in the school and church fairs, supported the school supply drive. Those things may not seem like advertising but they are and they cost very little.

                              I really think they would not have been as successful without the community part. I am becoming an even bigger fan of getting involved with the neighborhood. People are taking ownership of the restaraunt, it has become theirs.