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Sales and marketing

Sales and marketing

Effective sales and marketing activity can make a huge difference to the success of your food business. Communicating the right messages to the right customers at the right time is what it’s all about.

More customers – more success Sales & marketing is all about attracting more customers to your hotel more often and encouraging them to spend more on every visit.

Retaining existing customers

- Keep doing what you’re doing ... it’s obviously working!

- Ask customers what they really like about your food, menus and facilities

- Ask customers what else they would like to see on your menus

- Consider some form of customer loyalty scheme even if it’s just the odd complimentary dessert or coffee

- Check out your competition and make sure you’re doing everything to keep your customers loyal

Attracting new customers

- Consider contacting the ‘decision makers’ at local businesses. It’s often the managing director’s secretary or HR manager who arranges business meetings locally

- Become part of the fabric of the local community and try and attract local clubs and societies to use your hotel

- Consider running loyalty schemes for regular customers

- Consider meal deals or special themed evenings to encourage trial

Encourage customers to visit more often

- Events and promotions – early bird or fixed price menus

- Serve food at different times of day and see if there is customer demand

- Create a loyalty scheme

- Consistently good customer service and food quality will encourage more visits

- Consider developing special events such as wedding faires or cheese and wine evenings

Increase spend per head

- Use specials boards for higher priced items

- Capture impulse purchases with bar snacks and platters

- Offer set price menus

- Consider offering a discount for booking a party or celebration in the quieter months

- Encourage your team to sell-in additional courses and sides

Menu hints & tips

- High margin dishes first and last

- Use boxes & colour to emphasise key items

- Keep layout easy on the eye

- Short descriptions – use words that make your mouth water

- Highlight product provenance, healthy options and signature dishes

- Mix of price points to suit all budgets & occasions

- Create upselling opportunities e.g. ‘add a steak sauce or burger topping’

- Use specials boards to drive additional sales and food margin

- Keep popular dishes priced competitively, customers often reference the prices of dishes such as fish & chips with your competition

- Keep it legal, there are several things to watch out for on menu descriptions

Staff knowledge & ‘upselling’ skills

Check that the team knows the menu and can sell dishes with confidence. Tasting sessions and training on your menu are great ways to increase their confidence and your sales. Consider incentives for them to sell more courses, sides or even a high margin special of the day. It’s also a good idea to ensure all staff know what you can offer customers who are looking for a celebration, party or business event. They can then sell your services with confidence.

Social media

Social media provides a new and easy way to engage with many existing and potential customers.

Free Wi-Fi

This is becoming increasingly important for customers. Many will choose a venue that offers free Wi-Fi.It’s a great way to encourage customer loyalty, offer a service and encourage customers to stay longer. Be sure to advertise it.