Psychology of Business

By Kaitlynn Ford

Marketing is the best way a restaurateur can distinguish their eatery from its competitors. At the very least, they should know their target demographic, the image they want to project and the avenues and types of media they plan to use for advertising.

Pantelly Damoulianos, the vice-president of Dine.TO says online presence is increasingly becoming important.

“There are so many other websites out there and if their brand is not portrayed in the right way, it could harm their business,” he said.

Restaurateurs can differentiate themselves from the competition by appealing to quality and price, functionality or design, sales promotion and advertising, availability, and location.

Restaurateurs should also consider Facebook, Twitter, email blasts, restaurant directories or marketing online as part of their advertising strategies.

“An independent [restaurant] will set up a Facebook page or Twitter page and then they kind of forget about it and it does more harm than anything else,” Stratos Papachristopoulos, Pesident of Dine.TO, said.

If restaurateurs choose to include themselves in online restaurant-specific directories, they need to make sure they work together with the site hosts to portray their brand the way they want. If they leave their profile for the host or the consumer to update, the information presented may be wrong or outdated, missing links, photos and other information.

“Many times with these websites you can have a disgruntled employee putting up a negative review, or you can have a competitor putting up a negative review,” Papachristopoulos said.

But it is also important to consider what the reviewers are saying, especially if two or more people are posting their concerns.

“If they keep on seeing the same review over and over again – then they should look into that and do something about it,” Papachristopoulos said. “A smart restaurant owner would look at that and look at it as constructive criticism from the users.”

The owners of the Crepe Kitchen in Oakville make sure to never miss an opportunity for customer-suggested growth when the situation arises. Within their first two years of business, they have already altered their hours of operation, added items to their menu, and started bottling and selling their own homemade dressing, all based on customers’ suggestions.

“You have to take the opportunities when they come,” Anns Siles, co-owner of the restaurant, said. Damoulianos agrees.

“As a marketing company we can only fill up so many seats at the restaurant, but whether or not the customer is going to come back depends on the restaurant,” he said.

While marketing your brand is great, Damoulianos added the restaurant will always speak for itslef.

“Branding is always great … but always stick to the basics – which is service and great food,” Papachristopoulos said.

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