Fantastic restaurant marketing that flies below the radar

When much of the foodie / restaurateur media in Australia is discussing Greg Doyle of Pier Restaurant giving back his three hat status, 95% of restaurateurs are striving to run their businesses.  In the SMH yesterday he was reported to say that, "making a decent profit at the top end of the market was unbelievably difficult.  My experience is that making a decent profit at the any end of the market is unbelievably difficult if you focus only on the food and not on the marketing of the business.  Lets face it awards are about PR.  If you get a hat, star, plate or a certificate you can safely expect an influx of people coming to you to try your place out.  But what happens if your establishment doesn't fit into their category or you aren't willing to play the game?  Well then it's down to you to do the marketing and or PR for yourself.

Here are two great examples of restaurateurs who are doing just that.  Yesterday I had the great pleasure to meet Ben an owner of a small suburban cafe/restaurant in Newcastle.  I suspect Ben's place, Three Bean Espresso in Hamilton will never win a chefs hat, it's not that kind of place.  It appears to be an average cafe beneath a building society office.  But the interesting thing is that after a few minutes of speaking to Ben you realise that not only does he have high standards of food, coffee and service he also has a smart marketing mind too.

One look at Ben's menu and you will see that he knows that menus are about selling and not just a list of ingredients and prices.  He had a fascinating story about his meatball dish that ran down the right hand side of his Autumn menu.  Ben told me that roughly 25% of people order this one dish.  He then explained that this month on Wednesday nights he has been running "Special Meatball Night".  (Very similar to Craig Macidoe's Rib Fest Nights).  Ben serves only that dish and the response has been fantastic - 90 people showed up on the first Wednesday which swamped his place and added a very nice $$$ contribution to his business.  Next month another dish will be featured and the same strategy applied to Wednesday nights.

Craig Macindoe (Twitter @chefmumu) of the Mumu Bar and Grill in Crow's Nest Sydney is currently marketing his second "Rib Fest" in a month, this one is set to coincide with The NRL State of Origin Football Match (click here).  The first one was a huge success and came about after a conversation between Craig and I about his "Duck Fest" meal and my daughter's love of BBQ spare ribs.  Craig uses only blogging and social media to sell out these events saving thousands of dollars on PR and advertising.  Craig will be revealing how he does this at our forthcoming Sydney workshop at Restaurant Balzac on the 7th and 8th of June.