Restaurant Marketing: Be the “Only”

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Betterness is subjective.  We have all seen “best burgers in town”, “world’s best margarita here”, or the most dreaded “we have good food, good service and good atmosphere”.  Why would we believe these claims on restaurant signage out front?

One of the best practices in restaurant marketing is to be the “only.”

“You don’t merely want to be considered the best of the best; you want to be considered the only one who does what you do.”

Every restaurant – from McDonald’s to Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago – all claim to have good food, good service and good atmosphere.  Any restaurant that claims to be better is by design opening itself up to competitive comparison.

Great restaurant marketing isn’t about being better, it’s about being different.  Being better is more to do with restaurant operations than restaurant marketing – you still have to outperform the competition on the points where comparison is applicable, but for marketing you want to emphasize those points where there is no comparison.

If McDonald’s and Burger King both sold an identical burger – or one that has little point of difference – they have to compete on price.  Which they do.  Both offer value menus.  If Burger King were smart though (actually if the franchisees weren’t so hard to manage and hadn’t run off Brad Blum), they would focus on flame-broiled and beat McDonald’s by making a fried burger irrelevant (those days are gone now though as too many others have read this point in the famed Al Ries books and since created chains focused on flame-broiled to much success as Ries more or less predicted).

You ever wonder how those defense contractors sell $800 screw drivers to the government when there is supposed to be a fair competitive bid system?  They do it by short-circuiting the bid system and claiming “sole source provider” status.  They say, “This screw driver is manufactured specifically for this screw on this toilet seat on this submarine and we are the ONLY company that manufactures it”.  When they do, they no longer have to compete on price because they aren’t the “best” but the “only”.

In your own restaurant marketing, you want to be considered not the best, but the only.  Don’t focus on those message points where you are better unless you can substantiate how you were better from first being different.  We are all conditioned to notice what’s different, not what’s better.

Restaurant Consultant Aaron Allen

Restaurant Speaker

Restaurant Media Source

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