Restaurant marketing

What distinguishes a restaurant from a fast-food outlet? Apart from the fact that it’s hard to make a living as a restaurant these days? When I was a kid our family went to a very good Chinese place called The Cheong On. Every time we went, the owner, Mr Ho, would visit our table during the evening [once only] to exchange small talk. When he left our table we would all volunteer the bits we understood to see if we could work out what he had said.

Many restaurant owners have forgotten the importance of relationship. It’s not just about food and location, it’s about service, relationship and personality. That is the advantage restaurants should have over fast food chains.

Often, but not always, the person who takes your money asks you if you enjoyed your meal. Usually the answer is “yes”. It’s the perfect moment to create a relationship. If I don’t have a relationship, I may as well try a new place next time! Anyway, so when I’m paying and I have answered “yes”, I always wait for them to ask me the question that never comes. “Will you come back soon?” I’m a polite person, I’m probably going to say “yes” again. And in doing so I have created some small obligation on myself to return to that restaurant.

Why has no-one ever asked me that question? Do I not tip enough?

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3 Comments

  1. Recently we visited Woodlands in Northbridge and we almost had to ask the proprietor to stop continually pestering us he was so personable. Good food (if you like Indian vegetarian). Good prices. Good service. But I recommend going later in the evening when it is busier and the owner has more people to bother =).

  2. I’d rather not have people talk to me too much at a restaurant and I’m not sure I feel genuine when answering the ‘Did you enjoy your meal?’ question either. I don’t like the conversation to feel contrived. I think I just like to feel that my custom is wanted for that visit, that I’m welcome and belong there for the duration of my meal and that I’ll be welcome again.

    Food and service has a huge impact – if the staff aren’t rude and I leave feeling great about some nuance of the meal, then I’m not fussed about whether they asked if I’ll be back. Too much pressure, being asked when I’ll be back. I’m too polite to lie and what if I don’t think I will be? 🙂

  3. Just found your blog on Google and really enjoyed your writing style. Picked up a couple of great ideas so I’m adding your blog to my Bloglines account to share with others.

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