My new book, "Turning Your Business From Asphalt Into Gold: How To Market A Parking Lot - The Universal Business Lessons We've All Forgotten About" is turning into an Amazon best seller.
Available only on Kindle, the book keenly reminds of us the marketing lessons we've forgotten about in this wired impersonal world. From Asphalt Into Gold is great expert advice that works for your restaurant or any other business.
believed if you can market a parking lot and turn it into a huge success, you can do it with any restaurant. Read how Robin turns an ordinary piece of asphalt
into a booming business in Houston,
Texas … and apply the lessons to
your own business.
Here's what one advertising agency CEO in Miami, FL said about "Turning Asphalt Into Gold" -
"Great book about differentiating a company! I agree with the author that the vast majority of businesses all look and act the same - and unfortunately their sameness is not a good thing. They're apathetic and almost act like they're doing the customer a favor. What this book does is turn the tables on that thinking and show us that ANY business can find a way to differentiate and create a remarkable customer experience. Principles like going above and beyond, mining customer data, creating cross promotions, finding new revenue streams, having a referral program, and more are revealed in the most unlikely setting ... a parking lot. Very well done, Mr. Cohen. Thank you for this little gem of a book."
"Turning Your Business From Asphalt Into Gold" is available only on Amazon's Kindle at the "whopping" price of $2.99 by clicking on: www.Amazon.com
where is Oprah when I need her!
Of course, your menu is right there on your tables, where it’s needed today. But what about online? Do a quick Google search for your restaurant name + menu. If you’ve been in business for awhile, your menu will pop up on dozens of sites that generate tens of millions of visitors. Your menu is everywhere, copied, shared, and stored across the digital world, often without you lifting a finger. How did it get there? It turns out that your menu has value to other web companies as a piece of digital real estate. Let’s look at some of the ways menus find their way onto the web.
The Menu Aggregators:
Since the earliest days of the internet, companies have been loading menus onto the web, sometimes simply typing it in, but now commonly capitalizing on menu databases and web crawlers. The earliest business model was content aggregation: build enough menu web pages to attract a lot of search traffic, creating an ad-supported business. This model, from companies like MenuPages and AllMenus, tended to favor those in major cities where it was easiest to gather lots of menus by hand.
Restaurant Service Providers:
New restaurant service models, such as online ordering company Seamless, also required online versions of menus. The menu was often used to stir up initial business, prove the service value, and finally to hook the restaurant to sign up. Again, these companies were most interested in restaurants from big cities.
The Local Guides:
Content aggregation evolved into more refined businesses: review sites, travel guides, dining guides, map guides or large newspaper sites. Standout names include Yelp, UrbanSpoon and TripAdvisor. Menus have found their way onto these sites in numerous ways, from companies recycling existing menu databases to pre-loading menus to bait new restaurants to participate. Many small and midsize cities also have their own grassroots local business guides.
With the recent explosion of mobile apps, menus have been carried into dining guides and social utilities, such as Foursquare. It is impossible to scan through apps like you can a Google search, so it’s much more difficult to know where your menu resides or if it is up to date.
Your Web and Social Menus:
It’s likely that you have intentionally put your menu online in a few places, too. Ideally, your own restaurant website is the first result in your Google search. Blog templates are ubiquitous and cheap, so it’s easy to set up a website and keep your menu up to date. The same goes for your menu on Facebook, where all of your customers are busy connecting.
Making the Most of Menus Everywhere:Is all of this online menu proliferation good for restaurants? Hypothetically, both parties win if enough of those web surfers become your new customers. But there is plenty of potential for misinformation. Who ensures that your menu is the right one? Did your price, items, or logo change or does it change frequently? Is someone asking you to pay them to update that old menu?
Amidst growing demand from restaurateurs for more control, service providers such as MustHaveMenus have begun to promote the concept of Menu Management. This gives you the ability to manage the design and printing of a traditional tabletop menu, plus control its use and appearance in data mode, where it becomes a powerful marketing vehicle across the Web, Facebook and beyond. The goal is for you to maximize the power of your menu from one convenient place.
Guest post written by Jim Williams, Founder & CEO, MustHaveMenus.com
99% of restaurants and retailers that shut down or don't meet their sales expectations – the rosy sunglasses worn when they first opened the doors - do so because they haven't developed a plan for success. And of course, not planning for success immediately defaults to planning to fail. Sounds disastrous? It is!
Most restaurants and retailers trudge along for years without having a sales-building marketing plan and find comfort in being just another average business. When this happens - suddenly and without notice - a competitive restaurant, hotel or retailer opens in the neighborhood with a plan in hand and soon dominates the marketplace.
It's critical to not to let this happen to you. Comfort is great, but it's a trap too many businesses fall in.
So, if having a plan is so important to the success of a restaurant and any business, then why do so many not have a plan?
The answer is simple: As a business owner, no one ever took the time to teach you how to write a plan, and if they did, you were probably scared off because of the marketing-speak – objectives and strategies – and the thought of thinking that you had to write a lengthy "War and Peace" 100-page plan, that would become obsolete the moment it was completed. All of that is enough to discourage anyone from writing a plan – including me!
There are much easier and fun ways to write a plan and even have your staff involved – and it won't take months and months of drudgery to write.
This month at Pizza Expo, I'm doing an exclusive high-level workshop on how to build your own six month sales-building plan – and format it in less than 30 minutes!
If your mind is channeled to succeed, then follow me on this and let me persuade you that having a plan can be the best thing you've ever done for your business and your personal life.
Can't make it to Pizza Expo? If you're a restaurant, a hotel or a retailer in dire need of a plan for success, then let me know. I can help get you there ... faster (and better) than ever.
I get a lot of questions on why I charge $10.99 a month (4 weekly issues) for my WOW restaurant marketing newsletter, while others are available for free. The answer is simply "value."
As a business person, I'm sure you despise giving away free product all of the time. It truly hurts the bottom line.
The fact is, there's absolutely no sustainable value in "free."
And that's why amidst all of the free marketing newsletters that frequent your inbox, five years and 350 plus issues ago, I made a decision to produce a short concise weekly newsletter focused on 35-seconds of intelligent restaurant marketing and executive management insights.
My goal was ... and still is ... to help restaurant owners/executives take it up a notch and be great. I also decided to make my WOW newsletter subscription-based - as an impetus to provide valuable content not found in the various freebies that are out there.
While I know it's easy to get spoiled with all of the free newsletters, there's always a catch somewhere - an up-sell, a sponsor, a tease, or articles by ghost writers with absolutely no restaurant marketing experience, a way to increase one's email list, or just plain inferior content.
Wow is written by me - a
45-year restaurant marketing professional, who consults with restaurants, does workshops for restaurants - all on a regular basis - who like you, places a value on
My client, Barry's Pizza, one of the most successful pizza/Italian restaurants in Houston - who gets $25 for a small pizza (it's absolutely fabulous!) - has a sign posted when people flinch about his prices: "Quality is like oats... if you want nice fresh oats, you must pay a fair price ... unless of course you can be satisfied with paying a cheaper price on the oats that have gone through the horse."
The next time you get a free hospitality marketing newsletter, there's a chance - much like the oats - it's been through the horse. :)
Insights, adventures & mis-adventures in Restaurant & Hospitality Marketing from Joel Cohen, one of the country's top marketing authorities.Contact via email: (written out in full to prevent spybots) jcohen at restaurantmarketing dot com