Under New Management

(26 /05 /2016)

“Matt! Matt!”, I heard from across the street. As I turned, I saw a friend who owned a very good Chinese takeaway up the road, come running over. “I have finally done it, I have sold the takeaway and brought a restaurant”, he told me with great excitement.

“Which one?”, I was eager to know.

“The one up the road”, he answered.

Now I knew the one he was talking about. It was once a very busy and popular place. It had received many favourable reviews in the local papers and was well known for Yum Chars. But suddenly there was a change and the place just lost its’ appeal, slowly the life blood just flowed from the place and what was once a very busy place, became a lonely depressing place.

My concern for my friend was that he had taken over the restaurant on the basis that it once was all hustle and bustle. SO I asked him, “I hope you told the locals of the change.”

“All done”, he explained, “we have changed all the menus, spoken to the regulars and we have cleaned up the place.”

I didn’t want to burst his excitement bubble, but I was worried that he had put all his faith in word of mouth!

Word of mouth is a great way of gathering traction, but you need to get them through the door first. And with a place that has had a cloud over its’ head, you will be pushing the tide a little harder to turn the reputation around. My suggestions to him included:

  • Local media – chat to your local paper and give them a story, on you, why you bought the place and what you are planning to bring to the community. Most papers will have space for a good new community story.
  • Social media – the power of social media these days, means you can reach customers that were perhaps not your locals – there are a number of ways that are cost effective to bring people through the door.
  • Good old fashion leaflet drop – letterbox drop your local area – let them know you are making changes – include the menu – what about an opening special or an incentive to come along.
  • Signage! NEW signage, rebrand, new colours and make it very obvious that ownership has changed

These are all things that can be done at a minimal cost, just do them professionally. Spend the money on getting everything to look great – don’t cut corners and get your brother to design a flyer and print them at home, this new rebranding is a way for you to tell the locals that you are here and you want to look like you know what you are doing!

Don’t just think taking over a place and changing some things around will get people in! There is so much you need to do to get the word out. Word and mouth is a great thing, but it needs a push start.

Does your marketing ACTUALLY work? Can your customers find you?

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