The Restaurant Marketing Echo Chamber

Echo chamber: a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, often drowning out different or competing views (definition courtesy of Wikipedia).


Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/psyberartist/.

I might ruffle a few feathers with this, but here goes.

There’s a very real phenomenon in the restaurant industry that we need more innovative marketing leaders to tear down from within.

It’s a reality that too many restaurant marketing managers are quick to tune in to a small group of insulated peers, while tuning out the unbelievable marketing opportunities that are unfolding and the lessons they could learn from trendsetters. As a result, they are:

  • Quick to make the smallest of tweaks to their email marketing campaigns, but slow to review, let alone overhaul, their email strategy and dramatically improve their engagement.
  • Quick to take more photos of their entrees and make those photos the sole focus of their automated Twitter posts, but slow to review, let alone overhaul, their customer experience in-venue.
  • Quick to spout their rigidity with brand messaging — to the extent that they speak to a painfully narrow subset of consumers, but slow to take a look at smart, innovative things others in their own industry are doing.

When I hear about the conversations the Marketing Executives Group (National Restaurant Association) has, or read news about brands like Rita’s Italian Ice tapping an outsourced provider for a comprehensive games/surveys/referrals/loyalty marketing platform across 625 locations, or listen to Kelly Roddy and Nate Riggs talk about how to stay relevant, cool and hip (if that’s important to you), I get excited about where the restaurant industry is headed.

Read:  Promoting your Restaurant? Keep These 7 Things in Mind

But then I eat out. Again. And again. And again.

And I sign up for this brand’s loyalty program. And that brand’s email club.

And I’m disappointed by how much this restaurant could be doing to engage me when I’m on-premises. Or that one could be doing to communicate with me and cause repeat visits.

It is certainly no crime to have a core group of trusted peers with whom you bounce around ideas.

But in a time when there are so many companies offering extraordinary tools that can be easily adopted to transform a  brand’s marketing, and a time when the marketplace screams for restaurants to offer a compelling customer experience, I’m dismayed by the stubbornness.

But……I think this begins to change in 2014, and I’d love to see more marketers from the industry push the envelope.

Are YOU ready to?

About the author

Brandon Hull

Brandon is the original founder of NextRestaurants.com. He has helped thousands of restaurants implement innovative marketing strategies, campaigns, and tactics by incorporating new technology, in order to attract loyal guests.