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A Brief Story of How the Wrong Restaurant Marketing Strategies Can Make Your Restaurant Unpopular

By: Urszula Zywer


Restaurant Marketing Mistakes

Since you surely follow restaurant marketing strategies that have been well thought out, naturally there’s no way your restaurant will fail. However, there are many bumps on your road to success and if you are not careful enough, chances are you might trip up.

At the customer’s mercy

All restaurant marketing strategies must apply one golden rule: it’s the customer who decides your restaurant’s success. Sure, overall it’s in your hands, but good will is not enough. You have to take care of your customer the same way you would like to be taken care of when paying for any service.

Statistics show that there’s a long list of restaurant marketing mistakes that can lead one’s business straight to disaster. According to a British study, over 45% of businesses have to close because of the owner’s general incompetence. In the study, incompetence is described as lack of knowledge about the market, bad restaurant marketing and financial management, and bad pricing. Still, this is all very general—that’s why we prepared a short list of the most common mistakes that will drive any customer crazy.

Keep your cutlery clean

It doesn’t take any complicated restaurant marketing strategies to comprehend what’s very important to absolutely every single customer—and clean cutlery is one of these things. Actually, clean is not enough. Restaurant standards should assume that the cutlery is clean after being washed and then polished. Even the hungriest customer can lose their appetite after seeing water stains on a knife or fingerprints on a spoon.

Don’t forget about the restroom

Even the best restaurant marketing strategies can easily be flushed away by a dirty restroom or one lacking the necessary appliances. Stinky toilets and sticky floors are huge mood killers—no customer wants to experience that while they’re on a romantic dinner or a joyful get-together. There’s no way a customer leaves the restroom in a good mood if there was no toilet paper or the soap dispenser was empty.

A word about unpleasant staff

Now put yourself in a customer’s position: you come into the restaurant, everything looks lovely, you know the menu is great. You’re ready to order and this vexed waiter approaches to take your order while rolling his eyes as you ask him about the specials. There’s no room for staff like that—that is if your restaurant marketing is any good.

Remember that being unpleasant doesn’t just mean talking rudely or giving the customers hateful looks—it’s also about general behavior. Leaning against the wall, talking to co-workers and playing with the phone is not welcomed by potential customers.

Appearance matters

The look of the staff should be included in all good restaurant marketing strategies. All waiters should be dressed the same way, with an exception for a supervisor and a manager. If there’s a theme to your restaurant, you might order some special clothes that will match the interior design. If not, just go with simple shirts and pants or skirts. Remember that a black and white combination never goes out of style. Besides wearing appropriate clothes, the other thing that your staff should always wear is a smile, of course.

Cash only

Even if everything goes well and you’re not making any of the above-mentioned mistakes, there is still a reason for a customer not to come back to your restaurant. The food was delicious, the staff were nice, but as the bill comes in, the customer finds out that they can only pay with cash. Nowadays, many people don’t even carry any cash with them—they pay using their cards or mobile apps. By depriving them of that possibility, you deprive yourself of a customer. Always be prepared to let your customer pay however they want and, if for some reason you can’t do that—let them know about it before they order their meal.

Orders only by phone

When you are running food delivery, it is very important that you have an up-to-date restaurant website with an online food ordering system. 85% of hungry Internet users are looking for a restaurant online. If you don’t have your own website, it’s as if you don’t exist at all. You lose your client and your profit.

It is also important that the website be mobile. Already, more than half of the traffic on the Internet comes from mobile devices. If you have a non-responsive side of the restaurant, then you make it difficult for customers to use it.


Being aware of what scares away your customers is the key to good restaurant marketing. Avoid making those simple mistakes we mentioned and be aware of the fact that there’s more to this subject! Anytime you’re developing or modifying your restaurant marketing strategies, think like a potential customer who uses the service, not the owner or a manager who provides this service.

Published: December 20, 2018

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urszula zywer

Urszula Zywer

Urszula Zywer is a restaurant marketing specialist and content writer at UpMenu. She is crazy about food and crazy about sports—and loves to combine the two. An experienced writer and eater, she’s also very picky when it comes to restaurants.

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