Thursday, August 5, 2010

Some Unsolicited Marketing Advice for an Old Town Scottsdale Eatery

Some Unsolicited Marketing Advice for an Old Town Scottsdale Eatery

I had an impromptu lunch yesterday at a new little sandwich shop in Old Town Scottsdale. Craving a burger, I'd been thinking the local Fudruckers would hit the spot, but I got there, only to realize that it, like another Fudruckers location close to me, had closed. So off I went, in search of something else ... which is how I wound up at the SandŸWichŸClub restaurant.

The food was healthy and tasty and I had a pleasant experience. Yet I fear this little restaurant is not long for this world. What leads me to this stark prediction? For the 40 minutes I was in the restaurant - at the height of lunch hour - I was the only customer. Oh, there was a man who came in, stating that he was there to meet his sons. I (and no doubt, the proprietors) was hopeful for them. But shortly after he sat down, one of his sons wandered in with the announcement that the brothers had changed their minds and decided to dine next door. The bell on the door tinkled and hopes were again lifted when a couple walked in. However, apparently the restaurant was out of coleslaw - which was all the reason the guy needed to decide to go elsewhere. "Are you sure?" his female companion asked. "Yes. Come on, let's go."

Yikes! I'm no restaurant specialist like Madonna Kash, but my marketing mind immediately went to work trying to discern what the problem is - and what these owners can do to correct it.

The first thing to note is that the restaurant is doing a few things right:
  • The have one of the most important things, a great location.
  • They've got good food (at least the one meal I ate was good) in a nice atmosphere.
  • They have a sandwich board on the street with their full menu posted.
  • Their prices, while not low, are not by any means high.
  • They have 8 positive reviews on Yelp.
  • They have a frequent-luncher card - buy 8 lunches; get the 9th one free.
According to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek, about one in four restaurants close or change ownership within their first year of business, and over three years, that number rises to three in five. This failure rate parallels the national rate for all new businesses - and I'm guessing the reason is similar. People know a lot about their area of specialization, but they know very little about marketing.

Take some of the things the SandŸWichŸClub could do to improve their business/marketing:
  • Understand the competition. While the restaurant is in a great location, it has no shortage of competitors. They lost no less than five customers today to nearby eateries. 
  • Their Web site. The good news is that they have one. The bad news is that it's a single page that lists their menu. No interaction, no incentive to come back, and very little incentive to visit the restaurant.
  • Social media. Jump in - as they appear to have none. There is one @sandwichclub on Twitter - but it has no followers, is following no one, has posted zero tweets, and has no public profile. So even if this is the same place (which I highly doubt), it's not doing them any good at all.
  • Free delivery. Yes - this would cost some money, but with no fewer than 150 shops and galleries in the immediate area, and a handful of hotels close by, a stack of hand-delivered menus that promote free delivery might generate some noticeable new business.
  • Postcards. For very little money ($211 for 10,000 postcards), they could print up postcards at to take around to all the businesses and hotels just beyond the immediate Old Town area.
  • Survey. It appears from the reviews on Yelp that many people, like myself, simply stumbled upon the SandŸWichŸClub. Once you undertake a marketing campaign, metrics are essential - so the owners must find out how each new patron heard of them. How? Simply ask them as they place their order.
  • New counter help. OK - this one's not politically correct, but it may be a very real reason the restaurant is struggling (and that the couple from today decided to go elsewhere). It appears that the SandŸWichŸClub owners are a husband-wife team. It also appears from their heavy accents that they may be Eastern European. I ordered the Nicoise Tuna Salad - and even that small bit of communication was somewhat challenging for me because I had a difficult time understanding both the man and the woman. Scottsdale - particularly Old Town - is a big tourist town. While proprietor friendliness (which these people have in an abundance) is important, making sure that every customer can understand every word on the first try is imperative.
Perhaps I just caught the restaurant on a down day - but that was not my sense of things. It's just not a sign of a healthy sandwich shop to have ONE customer during the middle of the noon hour. Could these ideas help boost their business? Perhaps. Is there something in here that could help your business? Perhaps. If you take nothing else away from today's post, let it be the reminder that it takes more than a passion for your business to succeed. As master marketer Adam Urbanski teaches, "When you're an entrepreneur, you're in two businesses: the business you're in, and the business of marketing the business you're in."

Oh - and if you're in the Old Town Scottsdale area anytime soon, stop in and try out the SandŸWichŸClub, 4020 N. Scottsdale Road, Suite 102.

This is Day 16 in the 60-Day Content Challenge. See you tomorrow for the next post!


Sign up today for Laura's next workshop, Want to Charge More? Start Writing! Or e-mail your questions on any aspect of marketing to Laura.

Tweet This ! (Click On It For Url Shortening)  Share On Facebook !

Share On Google Buzz !  Add To !

Share On Digg !  Share On Reddit ! 

Share On LinkedIn !  Share On StumbleUpon !

Share On Friend Feed !  Share On Yahoo Buzz !

Share On Google Reader !  Send An Email !

Blog Feed ! 

No comments:

Post a Comment