This morning Tom Martin was the plumber; by mid-morning he was the accountant. All afternoon he was busy doing research and development and ended his workday concentrating on purchasing. Like many small business owners, Tom Martin wears many hats on a typical day. In 1969 he bought his first Taco Box restaurant. A few years later he opened a second and then a third location. Today he operates the Taco Box restaurants in Clovis and Portales, N. M. Business has been good, but Martin is convinced that it will get better.
Despite all of his responsibilities Martin has recently begun to focus on restaurant marketing in a whole new fashion. “For 20 years I have been working with a local advertising agency purchasing bulk radio ads and print ads. We had a birthday club and had gathered some customers’ addresses, but the account representative didn’t know how to make it work,” says Martin.
He continues: “I once heard the following quote, ‘Half of the money spent on advertising is wasted. I just don’t know which half.’ We were never able to track the results from our advertising dollars. I knew there had to be a better way; but being busy running our stores, I never had the time to get out there and try to figure out other restaurant marketing systems.”
Over the years, Martin has purchased numerous restaurant marketing books and followed several of the restaurant marketing gurus. “I have always been skeptical of some of their claims to get rich overnight. I tend to be a plodder and prefer to build our business sensibly and methodically,” says Martin.
Recently Martin started working with a restaurant marketing group that specializes in helping restaurants to build sound, trackable marketing using marketing software. “I like their philosophy of using a systematic approach to marketing; it matches mine.” The restaurant marketing coaches are helping Martin to begin building and structure his database.
RMG supplies the marketing software that makes it easy for Martin to capture and manage the database. In Martin’s case, he has one marketing employee that works part time doing office work. Part of her duties is to enter the data into the system. She has been amazed at how easy the software is to operate.
In a typical restaurant, 30 percent of the customers are bringing in 70 percent of the business. One of Martin’s goals is to get his existing customers to increase their frequency of visiting his restaurants. In addition, he would like to increase the group size for the guests’ visit and get them to spend more when they come in. By building a database of his frequent customers and offering rewards to those loyal customers, Martin has begun accomplishing his goals using the restaurant marketing software.
In addition, Martin would like to encourage new customers to come to his store. “With the help of RMG, I have put together a new move-in program. Clovis is a military town, so there’s high turnover. Our new move-in program offers them a free meal as an incentive to become a customer. Whether or not they come in with another family member or friend or just drive through for their one free meal, I count it as a winner. The national fast food chains lose another one! I want them to see and taste the difference that we offer. Past research shows that people who have lived in our area for more than two years prefer Taco Box over the national chains. That isn’t the case with those who are new to the community. They first need to try us before we can build Taco Box brand loyalty,” says Martin.
RMG provides a weekly restaurant marketing coaching session for Martin. During that phone interview, Martin and the coaches develop the details for upcoming campaigns. In addition to the New Move-In Campaign, Martin developed a “Boxpitality Club” after the VIP Club concept where customers are asked to fill out a card indicating their birthdays and anniversary. As members, they are offered free products on their special days and receive other redeemable offers throughout the year.
“My coach is a pro and truly understands marketing. Besides the coaching, one of the things that I like most about the Restaurant Marketing Group system is that it is fully trackable. By offering redeemable offers that are time sensitive, I will know within a short amount of time exactly how profitable the promotion was and what the return was on my marketing investment,” adds Martin.
He continues: “At this point in my career, after having spent 35 years building my business, I need a shot in the arm. I believe I have found that with the RMG system. I can’t believe all the creative campaign ideas that have been presented to me. Once we have the New Move-In and our Boxpitality Club off the ground, we’ll add additional campaigns.”
Martin is starting to look at his exit strategy and plans to retire in another six years. Before he does that, he wants to see how far he can build his business with a sound marketing plan and a little help from the folks at RMG
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