Marketing for Restaurants: A cautionary tale

Marketing for Restaurants: A cautionary tale

I’ve not long come back from a family holiday in Tenerife.

We love Tenerife – the weather’s (usually) hot and sunny, the beaches are great, and the kids love racing each other up and down the long seaside promenades.

There’s just one thing that niggles me about Tenerife.

The restaurant owners.

Now, we’ve not had any Basil Fawlty style stand-up rows with any of them, they’ve not given me food poisoning, or really caused me distress in any way.

No, what gets my goat about the bar and restaurant owners in Tenerife is the way they market themselves.

Or, more correctly – the way they DON’T market themselves.

It would appear that the only weapon they have in their “marketing for restaurants” arsenal is desperately trying to drag people into the bar against their will.

“Hungry sir?”

“No, thanks mate – we’re All-Inclusive at the hotel just there.”

“Maybe just a burger then?”

“No thanks mate.”

“Beer? Cocktail? Coffee? Ice Cream?”

“No thank you.”

“Come back tonight! We have best steaks in town!” he shouts at me, as I’m now several feet away, having kept walking the entire time.

Three seconds later, and I have the next bar owner waving a menu in my face like a high street Chugger…

“Welcome family.. something to eat? Lunch? Beer?”


When working with One Percent Club members to market their business effectively, we often come back to the concept of being “Oversubscribed” – this stems from Daniel Priestley’s book of the same name.

Think Apple, having queues of customers snaking outside their stores for the launch of a new iPhone.

Think Glastonbury – selling 120,000 tickets to a music festival in minutes… Without telling any of the ticket buyers WHO they’re going to see!

Think of limited edition chocolate bars, and “one of a kind” supercars.

People REALLY want what they can’t have. FOMO plays a big part in being oversubscribed.

When you’re oversubscribed, you can name your price.

When you’re undersubscribed (like our Tenerifian Restaurant owning friends), you join the race to the bottom, with “€1 pint of beer” being the blunt object you try and force customers into your business with.

And if you’ve ever walked down “the strip” in Playa de Las Americas, you’ll know just how many bars and restaurants are taking part in that race to the bottom.

Marketing for restaurants isn’t difficult. Most of it can be systemised. It requires a little thought, and a little careful planning.

A little more thought than simply “how can I try and force some of these people who are walking past to come into my restaurant?”

One day whilst walking along the strip, I was stopped in my tracks – initially by a bar owner desperately trying to manhandle me into his empty restaurant, but then subsequently by the bar next door, which had no “Chugger” outside. Yet it was full.

What did this establishment have that the desperate owner in the bar next door didn’t?

They had a welcoming atmosphere.

They had a good online presence (Google Local, Trip Advisor, etc)

They had lots of repeat custom.

They had good branding.

They had a marketing plan.

We considered stopping there for a coffee. But we couldn’t.

They were full. Oversubscribed. Not a spare seat in the house.

And not a “€1 pint of beer” in sight.

marketing for restaurants

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