January 19, 2015 |

From servers to storytellers: The single most important step to ‘wow’ your customers

By Denise Greer

Joel Cohen, restaurant marketing, restaurant marketing expert, restaurant marketing consultant, By Joel Cohen

One of my seminars at this year’s Pizza Expo will be titled “Ignite Your Sales Through Word of Mouth.” Fact is word of mouth is the number-one way to increase your sales. Period.

Every customer is going to have something to say about the dining experience, and this seminar shows you how to influence those conversations so they are truly positive and maintain a memorable slot in your customers’ minds.

The “rememberability” is crucial: Without it, and with the abundance of competition in your neighborhood, your customer loses all recall of your restaurant. You’ve disappeared from the mental list of three of four restaurants that consumers keep in their minds.

So, what do you have to do to be sustainable in the minds of your customers and not fall of their mental-recall list? How do you set your restaurant apart from all similar ones?

In order to really WOW a customer, you have to make a connection with them. One of the best and most successful ways to connect and be memorable is through storytelling.

People remember stories and facts, and if you’re telling your customers an anecdote about the restaurant or the food, you’re connecting with them and giving them something to remember. Isn’t it easier to remember a story than to remember, “Hi, how are ya doing today?”

Barry's hostessNow most restaurants aren’t giving their customers anything to remember — which makes this a great opportunity for you. What if your servers became storytellers, and instead of just placing a pizza on the table, took a couple of seconds, like they do at Barry’s Pizza in Houston, to tell diners about the exclusive cheese that’s being used and what it adds to the flavor. Your customers will remember that cheese, and they’ll remember your pizza.

There’s always something to tell – a short story or a fact about what you serve, a tidbit about your restaurant’s history and clientele. Try the storytelling concept. You’ll be amazed at the connections it will make with customers.

People have countless restaurants to choose from. My seminar at Pizza Expo will show you many ways to get them talking about yours. Here are a few other things I’ll discuss in my session:

Ways To Develop Word of Mouth

  1. Tell a story
  2. State your claim to fame
  3. Recognize your guests’ special occasions and groups
  4. Do something opposite of what others do
  5. Put examples of customer loyalty on the wall
  6. Word of moms: harness their decision-making power
  7. Take pictures
  8. Timely irreverent promotions that hit home
  9. Give back to the community
  10. Creativity creates conversations

Start today … give your guests something to talk about and they’ll do your marketing for you! It’s truly an amazing concept!

Joel Cohen (RestaurantMarketing.com) will give his word of mouth seminar on Tuesday, March 24, and Wednesday, March 25, at Pizza Expo. He’ll also speak on other marketing topics at 2015 Expo in Las Vegas.

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