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Restaurant Loyalty is Dying and What to Do About It

Exit Sign When I first started off this marketing business with my business partner, I was focused on working with restaurants. Since then the company has expanded with working with tech startups, mining companies and with food and hospitality. But what has become an alarming trend among restaurants in Vancouver is the number of closures of restaurants in this city, increasing your restaurant’s profits andcreating customer loyalty are more important than ever.

Dale Mackay is a celebrity chef, and the winner of Top Chef Canada. He opened two restaurants, both of them, sadly didn’t survive. It’s not only just those restaurants, it’s the fact that even chain restaurants like Moxie’s are having trouble succeeding. There are a few issues that are related to why I believe restaurants in Vancouver, and most likely every where else is having a tough time keeping afloat.

Restaurant Loyalty Mistake: Aiming Too Much at Gen Y

Restaurants hoping to build loyalty by aiming exclusively to Gen Y’s and trying to get them to come back again and again to the restaurant hoping to get them to be a life time customers is a big mistake. Marketing to millenials is a tricky business. With discovery tools such as Yelp, Urbanspoon and Open Table, young adults are no longer interested in eating at the same establishments.

When I was growing up, my parents and I would go out and eat at the same Chinese restaurant almost every other week. It was one of the better Chinese restaurants in the 70’s and 80’s. We went their as a family until they closed in the 90’s due to retirement.

This was because competition was low for Chinese food at the time, and the customer service was excellent. They truly treated us like a family, and always complimented on how good looking my older brother was.

But today’s youth aren’t loyal to a restaurant, they want go to where it’s trendy and what’s hot in the moment. They go to where all their friends go for that particular moment and then they’ll move on to the next restaurant that opens up that has the next best cuisine.

Because young men and women love novelty they don’t want to experience the same food, they want to take their money and make the most of it.

Younger generations don’t want to want to feel shunned by friends, and so they try to keep up with the foodie talks by going to those places so that they ensure they have a place in the foodie hierarchy.

The harsh truth is that if you’re using old school methods to keep the young people in, it’s not going to be very successful. All you have to do is look at how Facebook is slowly being abandoned by teens, to realize that younger generations skip and hop like hop scotch.

Restaurant Loyalty Mistake: Forgetting Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers are working beyond the traditional 65 years old, and accumulating more wealth, and are considered the largest demographic with money to spend. I find that baby boomers are starting to lose loyalty to restaurants as well, but many restaurants that have catered to an older generation and baby boomers with sophistication have, in my opinion, survived much longer.

Baby boomers have more money to spend, and have a stronger understanding of wine and alcohol and are willing to spend more during special occasions. One of my favourite restaurants that I enjoy in Vancouver is Kits Daily, an upscale and professional restaurant that has done extremely well at attracting both baby boomers and generation X and Y’s.

I truly believe that the intent of the restaurant was to provide the greatest, freshest quality of food on a daily basis. But never at the expense of making food cheap. I think this attracts a certain type of clientele, not too mention that the menu changes on a daily basis.

What Can You Do to Create Loyalty?

1) Create Loyalty Cards

Hotels (even 5 stars) and large retail markets have used loyalty points and cards for a long time, and have been very successful at it. Starbucks has even offered different levels of loyalty rewards to ensure that customers feel special. When a customer attends your restaurant, casually ask if they would like to receive a loyalty card to collect points.

Your restaurant may not be able to have the same sophistication that these large chains have, there’s still no excuse not to have one. One of my favourite sushi joints, Sushi Zero One has a loyalty card, and the place can only seat about 13 people.

2) Change Up Your Menu with Specialties

If you’re not able to attract the baby boomer crowd, but want to increase loyalty among younger people or to create a great word of mouth referral, make sure that your menu has changes from time to time. I’m not just talking about seasonal changes, I’m talking about weekly specials that can be tested and promoted.

I would also strongly suggest that you post your seasonal changes on your website and on your Pinterest boards.

I worked with one restaurant where loyal customers wanted to come in, but they always asked if there was anything new on the menu. They had tried the old stuff, but were getting sick and tired of eating the same menu items six months later. They were craving for something different.

By creating something different, it keeps people on their toes. Even in the world of advertising, we try not to use the same print advertisements because people tend to go, “Oh that’s been done.”

3) Treat Your Customers Equally

While baby boomers are the ones that are spending more money, and they are most likely to come back, don’t forget to treat all your customers equally. It’s a very hard balance int he world of restaurant marketing. The reason is because baby boomers are the ones that will spend, but it’s the younger people who are going to be the one telling people about your restaurant on social media faster than most people.

Young people are the ones most likely to introduce new customers into your restaurant, while baby boomers will too, they won’t be able to do it at the speed that Gen Y’s do.

But this also means taking your customer feedback seriously, and responding to their Yelp Reviews, or reviews on Trip Advisor. Respond to both good and bad comments, and just taking that extra interest will show that you’re quite serious.

Great customer service to all is vital, and if you’re finding your staff isn’t motivated in delivering the best, consider using gamification in your restaurant. This is how I increased sales at a cafe I managed a few years back.

What are you thoughts, do you feel that restaurant loyalty is dying and competition is too fierce? And what do you believe the solutions are.

Photo courtesy of Oliver Biederbeck.

How We Got The Vancouver Christmas Market 3000 Facebook Likes

Vancouver Christmas Market Banner We’re very grateful to be the social media marketing agency for the largest Christmas Market in the Pacific North West. The Vancouver Christmas Market, which operates from November 24th to Deceber 25th, has been around for 3 years, and during those years the number of visitors to this world famous Christmas Market has totaled 400,000. Every year it gets more and more popular as an additional 20,000 visitors dropped by in 2012 than 2011.

Of course one of the most common questions that float around the internet is regarding social media marketing is…

“How do I get More Likes for my Facebook Page?”

During the time that MCNG worked with the Vancouver Christmas Market, we were able to increase the number of Facebook likes from 6300 to 9300 for an increase of almost 50% within less than a 2 month period. Here’s how MCNG and along with partnering agencies accomplished that goal and was able to get additional thousands of likes.

1) Have a Facebook Social Plugin on Your Website

Part of website design is knowing how much content to put on the landing page of your site. For the Vancouver Christmas Market there are several different points that allowed web visitors to click on our Facebook page, but the Facebook page was never blatantly advertised on it because it would be a huge distraction.

Instead ,a tab labelled News was created, which when a user clicked on the tab she would see a large Facebook social plugin (It took up about 1/3rd of the page). Web visitors could like the Facebook page as well as be informed of what was happening at the market. In this case the, the plugin is the main visual feature upon clicking on news making it dominant.

Creating interesting content that discussed about upcoming contests, discounts, and posting wonderful photos were part of the strategy that lured visitors of the website to like the Facebook page.

2) Cross Promote Your Social Media Channels

It’s important to cross promote your social media channels with others. For us we ensured that we tweeted important contests and announcements that were too long for Twitter would be redirected to Facebook. This would bring awareness to the Facebook page and helped us gain likes. But we also ensured that we promoted our Facebook page in the YouTube video that we created.

It’s important that if you are creating a YouTube video and you want to drive more traffic to your other social media sites that the link is listed in the first two sentences.

Many marketers make the mistake of leaving it to the end where people are required to click more. But the huge majority of people won’t click on the show more feature.

We also used a URL shortner, with the ability to track the number of clicks, to save on valuable space in the description box.

Some of the blogs and newspapers we responded to also used a Facebook plugin for commenting. This was great way to have people aware and drive a little bit of traffic to the Facebook page.

What I did notice was that many of the blogs that we responded to had a commenting system related more to Twitter, whether this was through WordPress or Disquis. A great opportunity to connect your Twitter accounts to your blog commenting.

3) Hold Contests that Encourage Comments and Shares

One of the ways that we drove Facebook traffic was to hold a 12 Days of Giveaways contest. Prizes ranged from free entries and carousel rids to a $90 foodie galore experience, we had a lot of vendor support for the contests. Some of the contests were announced on Twitter while others were announced on Facebook.

The prizes of the contests were announced a week before they officially started. This allowed for our loyal fans to get a sneak peek of what was to be expected. We also sent out reminders of those contests to keep our fans excited and in the loop.

The Facebook contests involved two themes. They would either focus on online engagement, or listing the location of where the giveaways would be and people had to physically be there.

For our contests we encouraged our fans to comment and publicly share our Facebook posts. Those that did publicly share also received an additional entry for great prizes from the Vancouver Christmas Market. By encouraging people to comment and publicly share several contests and posts, we were able to reach friends of fans.

This strategy was a big part of helping us reach over 3 million impressions over the course of the two months.

One thing I need to stress more is that if you want to increase the reach of your posts, don’t be shy to actually ask your fans directly to share your content, such as “Don’t forget to Share with your friends!” This simple call to action will get you a higher reach of fans, but don’t abuse it. Use it for your best promotions and posts.

4) Have Exclusive Discounts for Facebook Fans

One of the best ways that we increased our reach and the number of likes to our page was to announce special discounts or theme days. When discounts were offered to targeted groups, through targeted posts that allowed us to create relevant to that group. Many of those in the group felt compelled to share the news with their friends.

An example would, free student night. Posts would be targeted to a specific age group, and geo locations.

However these deals wouldn’t explicitly be stated on the website page, it would only be found on Facebook and Twitter. This was a great way to reward loyal fans who engaged with the social channel (since those that were to engage with it, were also more likely to see the feeds we posted) with free entries.

Increasing the awareness of the page was strategically important in driving more likes.

5) Advertising the Contests/Promotions

Facebook Glass Because the page already had 6000+ likes, we didn’t feel the need to try to advertise to get more.

But we did do advertising, but none of it was explicitly to get more likes. The ads that got the highest click through rates, were the ones that were presented contests as well as unique promotional activities such as, “Ugly Sweater Day” or “Find a Pickle in the Tree Day for kids.”

The ads were targeted to specific demographic groups that would most likely be interested in the event. We also noticed that by creating great advertising content, people not only saw the posts, but some viewers of the ads who had clicked on it would also like the page.

Advertising contests and special events through Facebook that linked to a post specifically allowed us to kill two birds with one stone. It allowed for people to be informed about the events, and it provided an opportunity to drive loyal fans that may not have been aware of the Facebook page to visit the page and engage with the post and like the page.

Need us to help with creating an integrated marketing strategy, then contact us today at vince @ mcngmarketing. Operators are standing by :) .

Photo courtesy of Scott Beale

How Hotels can Increase their Web Traffic

Shangri-La Hotel Downtown Vancouver Large hotel chains such as Starwood, Shangri-La and Fairmonts have large marketing budgets and have dedicated web teams to help them remain competitive across the world, but how does an independent hotel or motel in a city increase their web traffic and compete with the large chains. I’m going to go into detail on how hotels with smaller marketing budgets can attract more customers to their hotel website.

1) Start Blogging About Your City to Increase Web Traffic

Most guests that stay at a hotel are either their for business or pleasure. Either way, all of your guests are probably very curious to know what’s going on in your city. While there are several travel guides like Frommers and Lonely Planet, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start a blog that informs potential guests about why your city is such a wonderful place visit.

Spend about once a week to create new blog topics of interest to your guests. If you’re not sure what would be of interest to them, ask existing guests what would have helped them prepare for their trip before they leave your hotel.

I’m going to use my hometown, Vancouver, as an example. Here are some potential blog posts that I would suggest for a hotel in Vancouver to write about to increase their web traffic.

1) Top 10 Free Activities to Enjoy in Vancouver
2) The top 5 Concerts that are taking Place in Vancouver in the Summer
3) Top 10 Can’t Miss Restaurants to Eat in Vancouver
4) Fun Family Activities in Vancouver During the Summer
5) What to See in Vancouver in One Weekend
6) The Best Ways to Get Over Jet Lag
7) Top 10 Places to Get A Suit Made Last Minute in Vancouver
8) Top 10 Honeymoon Places to Visit in Vancouver
9) Seattle and Vancouver? What’s the Difference for Tourists?

The important part of starting a blog is to think like an actual hotel guest. Chances are your website already has some great information about rooms, rates, about the spa, and availability. But what’s the next thing that most guests’ want to know? They want to know what there is to do.

By continuously updating your website on a regular basis to adjust to the seasons, you can attract new customers from out of town that are looking for information that you are providing. These people would be considered warm leads in booking a hotel with you.

Consistently blogging helps with search engine optimization (SEO). Google search engine loves fresh content. They love it when writers contribute great content. And by contributing on a regular basis, you can compete with much larger hotels.

3) Target Niche Keywords to Rank Well for Google

Targeting words such as “Vancouver Hotels” and expecting to be on top for that search word in three months is nearly impossible, at least it is if you don’t use black hat SEO. Especially if you have to go against the big boys like Expedia and Travelocity who spend millions of dollars to stay on top of rankings. It’s more important to use your website’s blog posts and copywrite to focus on keywords (aka search words or phrases) that will help you increase your web traffic.

If I had a hotel in Vancouver and I happen to be near Rogers Arena where the Vancouver Canucks Play, I might aim for the keywords, “hotel near Rogers Arena.” Other examples might be, “Hotel on Robson Street”, or “Dog Friendly Hotel in Vancouver”, or “Kid-Friendly Hotel in Vancouver”, or “Lesbian Friendly hotel.” The goal is to look for words that have low competition that you can rank well for quickly, instead of spending 2 or 3 years to rank well for like the phrase “hotels in Vancouver.”

It takes time and patience to research niche keywords, but by aiming at niche keywords that your competitor is most likely not going to aim for, you’re able to reach that target market, and as you start ranking well for those niche keywords, you will start ranking better for the more competitive terms like “hotels in Vancouver.”

4) Ensure Your Pictures are Titled Properly for Search Engine Optimization

If you’re running a hotel, chances are that there are potential customers that want to see what your hotel looks like. And yes, they’re probably going to go to sites like Trip Advisor to see, but there will be a few people who are going to Google for Images of your hotel. This is where you can drive more traffic to your website. Pictures that are clicked on in Google Image search pop up and then when closed lead to the site that the picture is on. This means a picture on a hotel website that says, “pool” is going to get lost in a sea of other photos that are titled pool. However, if you labelled your hotel “Shangri-La Pool in Vancouver” Then when people Google Shangri-La Vancouver under Images, the pool will show up.

This goes for bedrooms. Instead of giving a picture the title King Suite, title it King Suite at Burrard Inn. In order to do this properly, ensure that your photos are renamed before you upload them. Instead of having the photos named, DSC13532.jpg.

5) Provide an E- zine to your Newsletter Subscribers

I would highly suggest creating an e-book that highlights in detail about the wonderful activities that go on in your city, and update it every year. Travel books are popular. There’s no second guessing that, but why should travel books get all the attention. Why shouldn’t you create an e-book that people will start to get to know and download it from your site in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter.

Since many of your guests are booking flights months in advance, they probably are curious to know what’s happening in Vancouver at around the time that they arrive. Being able to provide them a seasonal guide of what’s happening will make their life much easier in terms of planning their trip. You can also use the e-zine and have some space to highlight advertisements about hotels and amenities. Also provide advertising space for your partners in the tourism industry.

Since the e-zine is free, don’t be surprised if you see it slowly spread over the Internet in the most random places. Having people view the e zine, and mentioning your hotel will definitely get a few searches online. Providing potential guests with valuable information makes them comfortable and your hotel look like an expert about the city.

6) Hold Contests for Local and Out of Towners to Build Links

Part of driving more traffic to your website, and being able to rank well within search engines is through link building. Here’s the short and sweet of what link building is, it’s when other sites links to your site. Just like right now I’m linking to Shangri-La in Vancouver downtown. When you have high quality authoritative sites linking to your website, this is an indication to Google that this site must be important.

You can have ten random websites link to your hotel website, but one link from the Huffington Post or the Globe and Mail is worth more. There are creative ways to get there, but for a small hotel a good way to link build is to look for travel bloggers, or local bloggers to work with and offer contests. Offer a free one night stay at your hotel. Ensure that when your contest is being held with bloggers that they have a link connecting to your site.

If you are in Vancouver, then you may want to pair up with a Seattle lifestyle blogger for the contest to get more out of town guests. Do you research carefully as not all bloggers are created equal. Notice how often they blog, how long they have been blogging for, and what other giveaways they have done in the past.

While it may seem like a tremendous effort, driving traffic to your website is a commitment that pays off. Once you have amazing content on your website, it stays there and will continue to drive traffic to your site. Surprisingly it’s not the new content that will drive most of your traffic, it’s the older content that will. And since most hotels go on for years and years, you can guarantee that if you do what was mentioned above, you’ll see a wonderful payoff for your hard work.

For more information on how to create a great online marketing strategy for your hotel feel free to contact MCNG Marketing.
Photo courtesy of Shangri-La Vancouver Hotel.

6 Best Practices for Facebook Restaurant Marketing

Facebook Eating a Person

With Facebook reaching the mark of 1 billion users, it’s hard to ignore this social media giant. The biggest questions isn’t whether Facebook is useful for restaurant marketing, or how it affects a restaurant’s profit, it’s the debate of how long it will be before Facebook makes changes to their Facebook Pages.

Facebook Pages are different from personal pages. Personal pages you get to add friends, and you can restrict who sees your profile. Facebook Pages are designed more for businesses, brands, personalities, and are easily differentiated from personal pages because you have the option to “Like” them.

With the several different changes that have happened with Facebook changes over the years, there are still some great practices that have remained throughout Facebook’s algorithm that will help you get noticed by your “Likers” and those that happen to drop by your page.

Here are 6 Best Practices for Facebook Restaurant Marketing:

1) Respond to your Customers

I can’t stress this enough. Facebook wasn’t designed as a static website where you just post updates. It was designed to create opportunities for fans to engage with their brands and vice versa.
What does engagement on Facebook really mean?

For the restaurant business it means when people compliment your photos that you’re thanking them for their compliment. It means that when someone tells you that they had an amazing experience at your restaurant that you don’t just respond with a click of a “Like,” you respond with a warm response such as, “We’re really glad to read that you had a fantastic time at Timbo’s Restaurant. And most of all appreciate you taking the time to let us know, we hope you have a fantastic upcoming week.”

Clicking the like button is poor customer service, and just plain lazy. After all, you wouldn’t just hold your thumbs up if someone said they loved your duck confit in real life right?

2) Start Conversations on Facebook

Start conversations that get people wanting to talk to you. Ask them questions about what makes great customer service. Ask people for the opinion on what type of free goodie they would like for liking the Facebook page. Do they prefer a dessert, do they prefer an appetizer or a percentage off of a main menu?

One of the worst parts about starting conversations is that nobody responds. And I want to assure you that it’s not the end of the world. There are a few factors involved such as the time of day, how many other messages you may be competing with in the users Facebook newsfeed and so on.

That’s okay, not everything you’re asking is going to be a big hit. But the great thing is that you’ll start to notice what has a great response.

Most restaurants rush, rush, rush. And they forget that they are starting conversations with real customers and real people. All you have to do is remember that, and think of conversations that would be of interest to your Facebook “likers.”

3) Hold a Contest that Rocks

First off, be very careful about your country or state laws regarding contest, and the term and conditions that Facebook restricts.

In Canada, you technically must ask people a skill testing question, and ensure that no purchase of is required.
Contests are such a wonderful way of having fun with your fans and a great contest can drive more likes and more engagement during the contest period than anything else.

Vancouver is a big hockey town. The restaurant we represented wanted to drive the number of “Likes” to our restaurant client’s page, so we held a draw for two Vancouver Canucks tickets.

We not only promoted it on Facebook, we cross promoted it with Twitter, and encouraged people to “Share” the contest with others (at the bottom of every Facebook Page post you make, people have the option of sharing that particular post with others.)

The power in getting people to like the page was actually in encouraging people to “Share.” Because once people share, others who wouldn’t normally see your posting have no seen it. This was part of our strategy in getting 3000 more Facebook likes for the Vancouver Christmas Market within 2 months.

4) Create Posts that even Superman Would Want to Read

Along with Novo Pizzeria, our marketing agency, took a great opportunity to deliver pizza to Vancouver International Airport because our customer had jokingly tweeted that she would love to have our pizza at 8:30 am during a layover to another Canadian city.

Well we didn’t hesitate for a second, and delivered a wonderful Neapolitan pizza to her and her friend at 8:30 am. We took a photo and posted it on Facebook the next day. It definitely got people talking, and many customers had positively commented on the story.

These stories of unusual and extraordinary customer service drove discussion and also drove likes. On top of that such stories are sticky and make such a wonderful story that customers will remember for a long time.

5) If Picture is a Thousand Words, One of Those Words is Hungry.

People love visuals, and they love it when you’re able to show off new menu items that you’re about to launch for a new menu, it’s a great way to tease them to come in.

It’s also a great place to be able to show off some of your signature dishes that your loyal customers may not have had a chance to ever see.

Include some great writing along with your photos and describe the menu items the way you would want your top notch servers to describe it. Your description should be mouth watering so that it drives people to come in.
If you’re Facebook page is starting to look like it’s being filled with too much text, that’s the time to add some photos.

6) Facebook Should Never be a Loner

Now that Facebook doesn’t allow “Fan Gating” (There are 3rd party apps that do allow that now) that doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to drive people to “Like” your page. For example I’ve listed a great way of increasing, “likes” by holding a contest. It’s also important to not look at Facebook as a single entity. You have to look at it as part of your integrated marketing strategy.

Do you promote your Facebook account on the bottom of the restaurant menu? Or if you own a cafe, do you have a little stand that encourages people to “Like” your Facebook to hear about exclusive offers? Are you using your Twitter account to promote your Facebook account as well? If you mention that you have a Facebook account on Twitter, you’ll be surprised that a few of them will click on it and click “Like.”

Have you found a way to increase engagement with your Facebook fans? We’d love to hear some of your ideas.

Help with Yelp
Yelp Banned this Marketing Book from Amazon

Tired of good 4 and 5 star reviews being taken down by Yelp? We know businesses are frustrated at Yelp, and we’ve found out some of the secrets that Yelp has that they don’t want business owners to know. That’s why they banned the book. Inside MCNG Marketing’s book it covers:

1) How to keep genuine reviews from your friends and family to stay on Yelp and not get “flagged.”

2) How Yelp ranks which reviews to show first and how long they stay up for, and how you can use this to your businesses advantage. (I don’t know anybody else that has studied Yelp Engine Optimization)

3) How to deal with aggressive and poor reviews to gain customer loyalty and much more.

MCNG has worked with a business that has over 140,000 visitors a year with their Yelp reputation and business and this book can do the same for your restaurant.

The book is priced at $4.99, which is less than a price of appetizer at your restaurant, but can save and earn you thousands off dollars a year.Let’s be honest, Yelp is here to stay.

If you’re not satisfied with your purchase you can get back 100% money back within 30 days of purchase. Payments are secure as we process via credit card through Paypal. Purchase now.

Buy Now

How often are Americans Eating Out?

More Americans Choose to Dine In to Save Money



running of the waiters

On May 16, 2012 Harris Interactive did an online survey of 2,451 Americans between March 12-19th. Here were some interesting highlights from their research that will offer you some great insight into the dining habits of Americans.

1) 63% of Americans have dined out at a fast food chain in the last month. 53% have been to a casual dining restaurant, and 50% have dined out at a casual restaurant chain. 18% of Americans have dined at a fine restaurant establishment, and about 9% of people dined at a fine restaurant establishment chain (like Morton’s.)

2) About a 1/3rd of Americans have reported that they have been eating less frequently at fast food, casual dining, and casual chain restaurants. One interesting fact that stands out is that 1 in 10 Americans have reported to eating out more frequently.

3) 71% of Americans are cooking at home now, because their primary goal is to save money. While 57% considered going out to eat as a luxury as opposed to being an everyday activity. These numbers aren’t that far off from their Canadian counterparts with the study done by Ipsos Reid.

Approximately 70% of Americans across all age groups from 18 to 66 are finding that they are cooking at home more often to save money.

4) About 29% Americans say that they will cut spending in other areas in order to keep up with their dining habits.

What drives Americans to go eat at restaurants?

The following factors are what motivate diners to go out and eat.

1) 90% said good prices.
2) 84% said their mood (such as cravings for a particular style of cuisine).
3) 81% say a specific dish that they enjoy.
4) 80% said convenient location
5) 78% a broad variety of menu items.
6) 59% said special offers.
7) 58% said healthy items that fit their dietary need.
8) 60% of Americans say choosing the same restaurant is not important to them, nor is a menu that usually has new items.

According to an article by MSN Money, The average American spent $2,505 a year on restaurants in 2010, down from almost $2,700 in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, which is making it harder for restaurant’s to be more profitable year over year.

Times have never been tougher for a restaurant. This is why that you have to ensure that you restaurant stays extraordinary in these times with excellent customer service and brand differentiation and to create intense loyalty. Until consumer confidence rises in the U.S. expect more and more Americans to choose eating at home as the norm.

Help with Yelp
Yelp Banned this Marketing Book from Amazon

Tired of good 4 and 5 star reviews being taken down by Yelp? We know businesses are frustrated at Yelp, and we’ve found out some of the secrets that Yelp has that they don’t want business owners to know. That’s why they banned the book. Inside MCNG Marketing’s book it covers:

1) How to keep genuine reviews from your friends and family to stay on Yelp and not get “flagged.”

2) How Yelp ranks which reviews to show first and how long they stay up for, and how you can use this to your businesses advantage. (I don’t know anybody else that has studied Yelp Engine Optimization)

3) How to deal with aggressive and poor reviews to gain customer loyalty and much more.

MCNG has worked with a business that has over 140,000 visitors a year with their Yelp reputation and business and this book can do the same for your restaurant.

The book is priced at $4.99, which is less than a price of appetizer at your restaurant, but can save and earn you thousands off dollars a year.Let’s be honest, Yelp is here to stay.

If you’re not satisfied with your purchase you can get back 100% money back within 30 days of purchase. Payments are secure as we process via credit card through Paypal. Purchase now.

Buy Now

How Music and Noise Affect Restaurant Sales and Customer Experience

Too Loud
Does the type of music that your restaurant plays cause customers to drink more? Or does classical get them to spend more than top 40? Which music turns over tables fastest? While music and behaviour at restaurants hasn’t fully been explored, this blog article will give you the quick lowdown of some scientific studies on how music is affecting your customers. Some of the findings are contradictory.

Does the level of sound affect the way your customers taste food?

Back in 2010, a team of researchers from Unilever decided to test this out. They blindfolded 48 people and gave them food to try out in two different sound scenarios. Scenario one involved silence, while scenario two involved putting on headphones with noise being played. They found that when people had headphones on with white noise in the background, people found their food was less sweet and less salty than when they ate the food in silence.

It’s speculated that because airplanes have so much white noise in the background that that’s the reason people feel airplane food is generally bland.

What if it’s a sound that the person likes? Does the food tastes better?

While there has not been a study that has made this conclusion, the same researchers above have noted that it seemed people enjoyed their meal more when they were able to listen to sounds they thought were more pleasant.

Which causes people to spend more time at a restaurant, slow or fast music?

Clare Caldwell and Sally Hibert, from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow did a study in an Italian restaurant in an affluent neighborhood. They decided to test out how fast music (music that was 94 beat/minute or faster) and slow music (72 beats/minutes or less) affected how long people stayed at the restaurant.

They found that slow music caused diners to stay longer at the restaurant by 13.56 minutes.

Which is why you’ll see that many fast food places play pop music to try to get you to get out as soon as possible. While other locations like Starbucks will generally play slower music to keep you at the store to make it your “third” home.

Do customers spend more during slow music or fast music?

According to the researchers from above ,it was found that people who listened to slow tempo music spent 18.14 pounds on food, and 9.12 on drinks. While those that listened to the fast tempo music ended up spending 16.14 pounds on food and 6.04 pounds on drink.

A study in 1986 by R.E. Millman found that his fast versus slow music group spent about equal amount of money on food. However the study did find that people in the slow music group spent 40% more on alcohol than their fast music counterparts.

Does the type of music being played affect how much is being spent?

Stephanie Wilson from the University of New South Wales in Australia set out to answer this question. She did a study at a popular restaurant in Sydney called Out of Africa. There were some interesting findings. She found that people didn’t stay at the restaurant after 11pm when classical music was being played.

But here was a break down of how much people spent at the restaurant depending on the music.

No music, average spend was $17.12
Easy Listening = $19.67
Classical = $20.20
Pop = $21.01
Jazz = $21.82

Another interesting observation that came out was that higher income earners had no significant correlation with higher spending.

The difference between this study and the other ones I’ve researched is that this one did factor in age. The clear majority of subjects in this study ranged from the ages of 20-39.
The approximate age that many restaurants aim for as their age demographic.

Does loud music and noise annoy customers?

In 2011, Zagat reported that it was the number two complaint that people had about restaurants. Service was number one. Yes many customers find loud music and loud noise very annoying, so why does it seem some of the most popular restaurants do it?

In my personal opinion, I think it’s a way to divide generations of eaters and attract specific demographics. Since older people don’t want to dine in fast paced and loud noise restaurants, they generally stay away from those places, instead vying to go to restaurants that play classical music.

While loud pop music is seen as vibrant and energetic. This type of music environment which is closely associated with the night club environment tends to attract a younger crowed. After all how many older people do you see in nightclubs in North America? This will give you some idea why some stay away from night clubbish type restaurants.

Last Thoughts:

Noise levels are becoming a big issue, and are being included in more and more reviews of restaurants. Zagat has them, and even Open Table describes loud music as “energetic.” Music can definitely help increase how much a customer spends, and I personally would encourage you to try out which types of music bring in the most amount of money. It’s all about testing what works and what doesn’t.

If you feel like you don’t have the extra time, just remember that once you get the right music, each customer is probably going to be spending about $2 more on each order. If you’re serving about 100 people a day, then that’s an extra $200. Which amounts to an extra $6000 a month. Which is an extra $72,000 a year. Not bad for making sure you have the right music choice. You can probably see why Starbucks takes their music so seriously now.

Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in finding more ways to increase your restaurant’s revenue.

Help with Yelp
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MCNG has worked with a business that has over 140,000 visitors a year with their Yelp reputation and business and this book can do the same for your restaurant.

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Why being Good is the Death of the Restaurant

closed for good

Good just Isn’t Good Enough


I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s not good enough that your restaurant is “good.” It’s not good enough that your food is “good.” It’s not good enough that you service is “good.” It’s not good enough that your location is “good.” It’s not good enough that your Facebook restaurant’s marketing is just “good.” I’ve probably “gooded” this paragraph to death.

Good is a death word in the restaurant industry. When people tell you that your restaurant is good, that means that they enjoyed their experience but they didn’t think that anything was memorable. They are also telling you secretly that they’re not going to mention your restaurant until someone brings it up.

Good Restaurants Don’t Survive

The truth is that good restaurants don’t survive for long. Exceptional restaurants survive for the long haul. This doesn’t mean that these places are exceptional in every area of the restaurant business, but they usually provide something exceptional. Something that sticks to a customer’s mind.

This could be exceptional value. Large amount of food that is cheaply priced. A restaurant could provide exceptional service so that when half the people walk in, they’re greeted by their name, and those that are not, their names are being learned. It could be that the restaurant has an exceptional idea with their cuisine such as Kits Daily in Vancouver, where the menu changes every day. Or ensuring that you find ways to exceptionally market your restaurant and have great creative ideas.

My Experience at an Exceptional Restaurant

Though I don’t always get a chance to visit the restaurant, Le Crocodile is still one of the best restaurants I have ever attended. I’ve been there three times, and during the three visits I have always had a pleasant experience. The moment I walk in the maitre d’ was attentive and always took my jacket and all my accompanying guests.

While the restaurant has an air of sophistication, the staff are anything but pretentious, but instead are friendly, humane with a side of light hearted humour in the way that they treat their guests. I never felt that my age was discriminated when I first went there.

No matter what I ordered, or how much I ordered, they always did a great job to make us laugh and smile. They taught us in what particular order we should eat our food to optimize the flavours of our dishes. Lastly, their food has been exceptional. When people ask me which restaurant to go to, I tell them to go to the Zagat Rated Le Crocodile. I promise them that they won’t be disappointed.

Good, Good…GONE

Sadly many restaurants aren’t prepared to be exceptional, they’re always prepared to be good. Most working restauranteurs don’t go and introduce themselves to their customers. They don’t go out there and ask for honest feedback because they would rather be comfortable than to improve.

All restaurant owners should watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi to truly understand what being exceptional is about. Exceptional is a war. It’s a war because if your restaurant doesn’t want to be exceptional, another restaurant will.

Another restaurant is willing to go out there at every charity event out there. Another restaurant is willing to respond to Yelp reviews. Another restaurant is willing to go out there and meet their local business owners. Another restaurant out there is finding a way to continuously learn new cooking techniques. And while you may think your restaurant is doing well right now, that’s only because you haven’t had a better neighbor move in one block down yet.

It’s when you realize that the new competition moved in, that your complacency is what will be the death of your business.

Even in restaurant marketing, I’m always trying to learn something new every day. I’m always trying to think of ways to help make a businesses marketing better. And no one else can be responsible to be exceptional except you.

Could you imagine where Apple would be today, if they just settled on being good. Or if Coke was always satisfied as the number one selling drink and thought that they were “good” enough for the public. Good = death.

I’m sorry, if your restaurant is aiming to being just good, then you might as well join the 80% of good restaurants. 10% of them are terrible, and then 10% are in the exceptional category. If you’re finding it hard to get your restaurant to the next level in both customer service and in sales, then consider gamifying your restaurant.

Being good, is another word that your restaurant sucks. When was the last time you raved about a good restaurant? When was the last time you raved about an exceptional one? And what was the difference?