Low or declining is NEVER the problem. Rather, insufficient sales is a symptom, not the problem.
You might say that this is just semantics but the difference between labeling a condition like low or declining sales a problem versus a symptom is a key and very critical distinction.
When sales are viewed as THE problem, operators often automatically assume the solution is what? More marketing.
While marketing is certainly an important part of generating sales in most restaurants, a change in marketing is not the cure for every case of insufficient sales.
If your sales are too low or have been in decline, sure, a different marketing approach might help but it’s likely, the situation has more to do with what you’re doing or not doing in your restaurant every day and how you’re being perceived by your guests.
We live in a cause and effect world, if your sales are too low something is causing it, so before taking any action, I believe the best place to start is to first step back and objectively look at what’s going on in your restaurant and in your local market.
First, consider the following questions:
How’s your food quality? Is it consistent?
Is your service staff friendly and responsive?
Are you giving your customers exactly what they want? How do you know?
How does your restaurant’s value proposition and experience proposition compare to what your customers can get at your competitors?
What are you customers saying about you? Check comment cards, Yelp and other review websites?
Sitting down to contemplate and, if necessary, research questions like this will help you consider and identify factors that you may be totally missing when you assume you’ve got a “sales” problem.
Running a business in an intellectual endeavor, not an emotional one. If your sales stink, don’t immediately assume more or different marketing will fix it. It may make it worse.
Get some time to be quiet and think about what may be going on in your restaurant that may be keeping customers away or causing them to not return as often.
Low or declining sales is always a symptom, so focus on identifying the real problem. I believe you’ll quickly see that finding and addressing the real problem(s) is the only way to come up with an effective and lasting solution.