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Five Ways to Tranform Your FOH Team into Your Restaurant Marketing Team

Want to supercharge your restaurant marketing and ultimately grow your restaurant? Then hire entrepreneurs! Ok, bear with me, there is an important take-away here, I promise! Let me describe the profile of the entrepreneur that you, as a restaurant owner want on your team:

  • Great personality, outgoing; what you might call a “people person”
  • Customer-service focused; someone with a genuine interest in making your customers happy
  • Perceptive; someone that is adept at reading people and situations and is able to connect with your customers in a sincere, individual and appropriate way
  • Smart, wise, career-minded; someone that views a position on your team as an opportunity to grow and make a lot of money, (as opposed to someone who “waits tables” at your restaurant)

You might even have one or two people like this working for you now. If so, you already know their value to your restaurant. If not, you don’t know what you’re missing! Here’s why: it’s those “entrepreneurs” within your restaurant that are enterprising enough to build their “client base” by creating unique experiences for your customers that will keep them coming back and spending money. It’s a win/win/win … the diner wins because they feel special, like they have an exclusive “in” at your restaurant; your server/bartender, etc., win because they make more money as a result of increased tips; and you, the restaurant owner or restaurant GM win because these efforts help your restaurant to grow and flourish over time.

So what can you do to foster this type of environment in your restaurant?

  1. Make sure that every one of your employees understands their role in your restaurant marketing activities. Create a “sales-focused” organization. (Be careful here: there’s a fine line between tasteful “selling” and obnoxious harassment!).
  2. Encourage your staff to get to know your customers. Learn their names, their favorite dishes, their special requests.
  3. Profile your staff on your website, on your Facebook page, (see A New Facebook Layout: Secure Your Business Success for more tips), on your Instagram profile, (See Your Restaurant on Instagram for more tips), etc. Allow their personalities to come through; with their permission, share periodic updates like “Hi, this is Shelly and I’m working on the patio tonight. Stop by to see me!”
  4. Hold a seminar about “personal brand” with your team to help them understand how they can individually contribute to the growth of your restaurant … and their paychecks … by building a strong brand for themselves and associating that brand with your restaurant’s brand. (Careful here too: your staff needs to understand both the opportunity and the responsibility that comes with building their association with your restaurant).
  5. Although this seems obvious, it’s important: Require that they are personally knowledgeable about your menu; develop an opinion about what they like/dislike; above all else, they should be honest and sincere AND it would be great if they preferred some of your high margin/premium items.

When hiring and training your team, ensure that your servers, bartenders and other FOH staff understand their role in your restaurant marketing and empower them to become enterprising business people with a strong repeat client base (your customers) and a great product offering (the dining experience at your restaurant!).


If you’re a restaurant owner, don’t forget to download our free Tampa Restaurant Marketing white paper by submitting the form below:
Restaurant Marketing 101: The Restaurateur’s Guide to Doing It Right.

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