What I Learned From Jamie Oliver’s

Last month I visited Jamie Oliver's restaurant in Covent Garden, London in the UK. Of course the food and atmosphere were great but what I want to tell you are the things that I learned by being there with my "Restaurant profits hat" on as well as being a guest.

1. Firstly it's an experience. This is not going down to the restaurant for a meal, this is theatre, fun, excitement and lots of action.  As you walk through the door there is a providore's counter where staff are carving ham off the bone and preparing ingredients for the kitchen and for the guests too.  There are cans of tomatoes piled up, salami hanging, cheeses displayed - and yes we are still in the restaurant - just inside the door... This is a way of having something "going on" in there, it adds to the atmosphere and gives guests a talking point.

2. We arrived just before 7.00 pm without a booking (no reservations needed according to the website) but when we got there there was a 45 min wait.  To handle this they handed us a pager that had a massive radius so we went back out to Covent Garden and went shopping. When the pager went off we ambled back to the restaurant and were seated right away.

3. We were seated at a bare table, no linen table cloths or napkins. This is another "feature" of the restaurant - a leaning towards sustainability, no excessive laundry and impact on the environment.  High speed (and effective) hand driers in the bathrooms so no paper towels are used and because the hand driers almost blow the skin off your bones - the time spent using them (and electricity) is reduced.

4. Napkins... Now this is VERY smart:The napkins we did receive were "tea towel" material with the "Jamie Oliver" name big and bold branding them.  Again a nod towards sustainability - no paper napkins... But there's a couple of other things to think about - what would the cost be of say 1,000 tea towel napkins as compared to linen ones? about a quarter?  Secondly what do you think the temptation is for many people when they finish their meal - (to accidental slip one of those suckers in their pocket as a souvenir?)  So lets play that scenario out... Someone goes home with a Jamie Oliver napkin and later shows their souvenir to friends... What will be the next question that the friend asks after, "you nicked that?".  Yes that's right the next question will be...  "What was it like".  And because the experience is fabulous the answer will be very positive. The humble nicked napkin becomes a marketing piece in the home (apparently hundreds of these get stolen every week).  By the way you can also buy a set of those napkins too for the humble price of 10 Pounds or $15 Aussie Dollars.  These are sold via the menu, which brings me on to the menu...

5. The menu - now whoever is behind marketing this place really understands the power of a menu.  It is the No1 marketing piece in your business and yet most restaurateurs use the bloody things as a list of ingredients and a price list!  This is where you get to sell your most profitable dishes to your audience and this is where Jamie Oliver's menu excelled.  I cant tell you everything I saw or I would be writing for hours but needless to say it sold sold sold in ways that made us want to buy buy buy! I didn't feel marketed to, I was intrigued by names of dishes and descriptions, I was wooed by suggestions and I was interested in so much that we ended up with what looked like mains with a tapas assortment of sides and salads.  Although this is NOT a tapas place "the menu made us do it guv" the menu sold us on so much that we wanted to try it all!  Does your menu do that?

I have so much more to share with you on how this restaurant increases dollar spend and word of mouth marketing with EVERY customer so I will feature this in the seminar in Perth on the 26th and 27th March 2012.  I have lots of pictures - especially of the menu and explanations of how Jamie gets people talking about his restaurant in their droves - beyond his four walls.... And the Staff - wow that's another thing - I have to tell you how they work the room and make people want to come back and spend more.  Come see us at Matilda Bay restaurant in Perth and I will tell you that whole story too.

I can probably give you another 5 great points to learn on another blog post but thats for another day.

All in all Jamie Oliver's Covent Garden restaurant works - and the place is "wicked" too 🙂