Connections for Success



For Whom Are You Great?
Peter Nolan

If I could purge one phrase from the lexicon restaurant or small business owners it would be: “Once people try us, they love us.” These seven little words have launched many a bad marketing program. The problem with this sentiment is not just that it lacks humility (although it does). The problem is that the statement assumes that all customers pretty much the same, at least when it comes to their capacity for falling in love with your business.

If this statement were true, every restaurant would just hold a week of free meals, drive in thousands of customers and then be packed with paying customers forevermore. 

A better approach is to ask the simple question: For whom am I great?

In our competitive environment, only the people for whom you are great are going to become the repeat customers that are the lifeblood of your business. If you are just “good” for someone, they will likely keep walking past your store to get to the place that they think is “great”

At Roti Mediterranean Grill, we have oriented our marketing around these simple questions and our business is growing quickly as a result.

Here are some examples:

  • We realized that while there are a strong variety of cuisines available at restaurants during lunch, the options for office catering are more limited. It’s essentially sandwiched boxes and salads. So we developed a unique menu of items like tasting room platters and healthy snack trays. We put together a multiple-day-part program to be a one-stop-shop for all-day meetings. The result? Our catering business is very strong because for the office manager ordering lunch we are “great.”
  • The benefits of the Mediterranean diet are well known, and the menu at Roti is healthier than our competition. Great, everyone likes to eat right, correct? No. Many people eat bad food and, sadly, for junk food is “great”. But there are people who seek out healthier meals. At Roti, we support health-conscious events and organizations. These initiatives allow us to bring our message of “Food That Loves You Back” to people who are likely to think we are “great.”

To help understand the business implications of this approach to potential customers, think about the annual value of a customer. That is, how much does a customer spend with your business every year? At Roti, the average customer spends about $10.00. A core customer, for whom we are great, visits us once a week. That person contributes over $500 a year to Roti. A person who visits us once, realizes that we don’t have French fries and never returns, contributes $10.00.

The key to success at Roti has been to spend our marketing budget to attract the first person. And we began by asking: “For whom are we great?”

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