Don’t have this dangerous mindset.
One of the things that I've been thinking of as the COVID period gently recedes into the past, then hopefully we open up right across the country and we continue to open up over the next few weeks and months, is that people have become quite complacent about their marketing. It's quite a scary thing for me that I'm seeing. But my clients certainly haven't become complacent. They’ve been going hell for leather and doing really great - 200% up, 300% up - which is fabulous. But I've noticed that other people aren't, and when I've asked them, “What you're doing with your marketing? You don't seem to be doing anything,” They've told me they don't have to do anything, because they've only got a limited amount of seats. And they don't need to do marketing for those seats.
Now, this is okay in this COVID period, when you've got the four meter square rule. But when we do get back to normal, you can't have that attitude, you cannot think, “If I build it, they will come” that is the biggest Achilles heel of our industry.
You know, restaurant owners and chefs are thinking “I'm so great people are coming.” Well, it's not true. Before COVID, we had 84,000 hospitality businesses in Australia, and that means you've got a lot of competition. Now, we don't know how many are going to survive this COVID period, but you're still going to have a big amount of competition so you can't sit there complacently thinking people are going to come in, because they won't, they weren't doing it before, they're not going to do it after.
So what you're going to have to do is get on to your marketing, don't be complacent about it. And what you'll find right now is as things open up, you're going to have that honeymoon period. It's going to be like that time when you opened up your restaurant the first time, you're going to have an influx of people, it's going to feel great, and you're going to feel really busy and, you know, the plates are spinning - at the moment you've not had that to deal with that - so you're going to be stressed and you've got to have a lot to do.
But you must collect a database at this time. This is when you're going to have the biggest opportunity to collect data from the maximum number of people. And if you do that, if you collect that data, even if you don't do anything with it straight away, when things do go quiet, and they will, you will have the opportunity to go out using that data to invite people back in to dine with you again, to get repeat business. To do that, you give them a good reason to come in. So you'll send material out, they'll come in, and you'll get repeat business going.
But if you don't collect the data now, then you're not going to have the opportunity to do that, to send out information and bring people in. You're just going to have to sit there and hope that they come in. And that is not a strategy that works. That goes back to that mindset, that dangerous mindset of “If I build it, they will come” and I promise you that has been the death knell on more restaurants that I've seen in the past 18 years that I've been working in this industry than anything else. It's a very dangerous mindset. So make sure you're not complacent, get on with your marketing now, start to remind people that you're here, give them reasons to come in and collect that database and good luck.