The Enjoyable Experience of Going to a Restaurant is More than Just Dollars & Cents

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grabbing a bite at No Names Italian Restaurant Darlinghurst

I was talking to a young couple who just got married over the weekend.

She was telling me how they enjoy going out for dinner.

Their favourites are Indian, Lebanese, Thai & Italian. But they never go to Italian Restaurants.

Naturally, I asked why. I have to say I was stunned by his answer.

He is an accountant, so everything is checked & measured by the numbers.

"I don't eat at Italian restaurants because Italian food has too much margin,""

Say what?!

"I can buy a bag of pasta and get tomato sauce for a couple of dollars, so I don't believe in paying their exorbitant prices. They're just making too much margin for my liking!"

I tried to explain that life is more than just measuring everything in dollars & cents.

I felt sad and sorry for him and what he is missing out on.

Some of my favourite memories are of grabbing a bite at "No Names Italian Restaurant" in Darlinghurst.

Taking my kids down to the local Italian restaurant & watching them slurp up spirals of spaghetti, the sauce running down their chins.

watching them slurping spirals of Spaghetti, & the sauce running down their chins

Image source: oddharmonic - //

The Enjoyable Experience of Going to a Restaurant is More than Just Dollars & Cents

If your only criteria for going out to eat is how much margin they make on each dish, then you're missing out on the experience of eating a fine meal.

You might as well just go to Hungry Jacks. They're offering 5 items for $5.95. I don't think there is much margin in that lot. I'm sure they're relying on up-sells and  up-sizes.

They're going for high volume at low margins.

If you're competing on your price, then there's no point in being the second cheapest option.

Let's face it, being the cheapest is not a very sustainable position unless you are Walmart.

I know the perception is that people always want cheap, but that's just a myth. If it's true, then we would all be driving a Toyota Echo, holidaying in Gosford & eating at McDonald's.

But last time I was sitting in traffic, I didn't see a convoy of Toyota Echos.

As you probably know, I live at Dee Why on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. There are plenty of restaurants & cafe to choose from. But there is not a Maccas on every corner.

Ok, you got me. The Golden Arches are across the Road from Brookie Oval about 3 km away. So yes,  I guess we do have the haven of cheap fast food when the craving arises.

Rather than focusing on serving the cheapest meal, maybe it is time to find your point of difference.

You can go with offering value, or you can choose to offer an unforgettable experience.

My accountant friend is all hung up on price & how much money restaurants are making. In doing so, he is missing out on the experience of taking his lovely wife out to her favourite Italian restaurant.

She seems so disappointed, not being able to share an Italian meal with her beau.

If you have an Italian Restaurant, then I would say my accountant friend would not be your ideal customer.

So have you asked yourself why your customers come to your restaurant or, even more importantly, why they keep coming back?

So it's time to look at your customers as they are the lifeblood of your business.

Let's dive a little into your business & see what we learn about what is and what isn't working.

Your Customers

Your customers

Image source: Tom Hodgkinson - //

5 Important Questions for your Prospects ...

  1. How do they think and feel? (Crawl inside their head and see the situation from their perspective)...
  2. What do they want? What are their deeper, unspoken desires?...
  3. What do they already know? (About your type of product, or your product, etc.)...
  4. What have they always wondered about? Wanted to know? Wanted to better understand? (Interests)...
  5. What have they already heard? (from others)...

Do You Know How Your Restaurant is Travelling?

  • How do your customers find you? Internet, walk-bys, word of mouth, etc ...
  • What's your best method of getting new people to come and eat at your restaurant or cafe?... 
  • When you started, did you imagine it would look like this today? What should it look like?.. 
  • How & why did you get involved in your business?...
  • What were you thinking when you started your restaurant?...
  • Why has your business been successful in the past?...
  • What are some of your biggest successes?...
  • What worked the best?...
  • What working and what's not working?...  Who is your audience and what is your message?
  • If there was one thing you could change about your business what would it be?...
  • How long has this been going on?...
  • What will happen if you don't change this?...
  • Does your business have a solid growth strategy?...
  • What is your overall marketing strategy to get more coming to your restaurant?...
  • What are your core competencies?...
  • What areas do you excel in (or want to eventually excel in)?...  What does your restaurant do extremely well?...
  • What are the worst possible things that could happen to your business in the next years?...
  • What are your plans to deal with them, should they occur?...

I know that's a lot of questions, and some may be challenging to think about.

It can get  hectic running a business. You're too busy working in the business trying to get everything done.

You don't have time to step back and work on your business.

Take the time to go through these questions. There is plenty more you could investigate, but this is a good start and it will help you get a good grasp of your business.

Do you have any beliefs that are holding you back?

I nearly forgot! I have one more exercise to help you get to know your customers.

It's the Now & After Grid

Before After What do they have to believe

What Happens to Your Customers Before & After?

  • What does your prospect HAVE in the "Now" state? What does your customer HAVE in the "After" state?
  • What is an AVERAGE DAY like for your prospect in the "Now" state? What is an AVERAGE DAY like for your customer in the "After" state?
  • What is your prospect’s STATUS in the "Now" state? What is your customer’s STATUS in the "After" state?
  • How does your prospect FEEL in the "Now" state? How does your customer FEEL in the "After" state?

Now & After Grid

Ok, I filled that in ... Now it's your turn!

Fill in your Now & After

Don't be like my accountant friend who has a cloudy vision because of faulty misbeliefs.

He believes Italian restaurants make too much margin on their food. As a result, he misses out on the joy of taking his wife out for an intimate Italian meal.

Sure, he may have saved a couple of dollars but putting a smile on the face of a loved one is priceless.

So he's really all the poorer for sticking to his limited accountant views rather than experiencing a romantic Italian date with his wife.

So what's your "why"? What is holding you back?

Discover How A Combi Oven Can Increase Your Profits Without the Headaches...

Inside youàll find how to save money on your Food Costs & Wage Bills using a Combi Oven...

Click here to get a copy of our Combi Oven Guide

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