I keep hearing folks say they don’t need any marketing, because they rely on “word-of-mouth”. Word of mouth (advertising), as it’s often called, is a two-edged sword. It’s like Bermuda grass. It will grow almost anywhere, where you didn’t want it or plan for it. It’s almost impossible to kill, too, once it gets going; it takes on a life of its own.
What’s that phrase, people who like things tell three people, people who hate things tell 14,000 people?
Sure, those restaurateurs are talking about ‘good’ word of mouth, not the bad kind. They assume that just because they have a nice operation, the world will talk about them ‘positively’ and beat a path to their door.
That is not going to happen.
If you try to “orchestrate” a bit of word of mouth, it too can get out of control and grow where you didn’t want it, and start to take on a life of its own saying things you didn’t intend.
The secret of positive word of mouth, is having something that is worthy of talking about in the first place, since you really have no control over the mouths or the mice (the plural of ‘computer mouse’) doing the talking.
You have to start with your own offering. You must make sure that the ‘experiences’ that every guest enjoys at your restaurant are the kind that make people want to tell others…in a very positive way.
To assume, however, that this is all you have to do to ‘market’ your restaurant – especially in these times – is folly.
The dining public is more discerning today, they have less to spend, they are becoming much more particular about how they spend such discretionary money; and they have a plethora of places from which to choose.
You need to magnetically attract them, please them once you provide service to them as guests; make sure they leave with great memories and a strong reason to return soon…and tell their friends, relatives and colleagues at work.
Word of mouth/mouse isn’t even in the equation…until you have all your other ducks in a row.