Best Way to Contact Restaurant Owners?

by nic16 18 replies
Hi everyone. I just moved to a new state and have decided to start a placemat advertising business. I was hoping to get some advice on the best way to approach restaurants. I was thinking that I could send them sample placemats with their logo through e-mail or regular mail and then follow up with an e-mail or phone call to meet in person. I live a few hours from my target area so figured this may be easier but if it isn't effective then I will just go into the restaurants first. My thinking was that most restaurant owners are busy during business hours so this would be less intrusive. Would love to get some thoughts on this.
#offline marketing #contact #owners #restaurant
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  • Profile picture of the author umc
    Use the search function and you should be able to find a ton of threads on this very subject. I know it has been brought up a lot over the years.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
    Originally Posted by nic16 View Post

    Hi everyone. I just moved to a new state and have decided to start a placemat advertising business. I was hoping to get some advice on the best way to approach restaurants. I was thinking that I could send them sample placemats with their logo through e-mail or regular mail and then follow up with an e-mail or phone call to meet in person. I live a few hours from my target area so figured this may be easier but if it isn't effective then I will just go into the restaurants first. My thinking was that most restaurant owners are busy during business hours so this would be less intrusive. Would love to get some thoughts on this.
    There is NO "BEST WAY".

    Never has been.

    Never will be.

    THAT...is the problem with your question.

    Instead, there are MANY WAYS to approach restaurants... and other businesses for that matter.

    Many Proven Ways.

    They ALL work. They ALL work well, too!

    I speak from experience. The only one I haven't used and probably never will is a website that I create specifically for that purpose.

    Cause...it's just too damned easy for me to pick up the phone and call them.

    I am a lazy buzzard. I admit it! If I can sit on my butt and close business today...right now...I will.

    Is that the best way?

    Not if you need exercise.

    Ron
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    • Ron,

      You are so right! I just get a bit stir crazy around 2:00 PM which just happens to be the best time to go to a restaurant and talk to the manager or owner.

      They probably have some cash in their pocket from the lunch business and would be a good time to ask them to trade some of that money for some of your placemats.

      Deej
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Best Way to Contact Restaurant Owners?
    Walk in the front door.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
    You might look for something closer to home.

    Doesn't need to be a restaurant. The same type of ad program can be run in a smaller community with a popular convenience or grocery store.

    Foot traffic is the key.

    Ad programs like these are renewable and can run for years.

    Good for your cash flow.

    Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author softprodigy
    I like your approach of email marketing but you need to plan it accordingly when you can get maximum reach on your mails and response which I think 10:00 AM is the most suitable timing. Otherthan it, you can take help of Social Media Channels like FB, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIN. You can send friend request to all the hotel owners and then update your social channels on regular basis so that they will get alert for every update.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
      Originally Posted by softprodigy View Post

      I like your approach of email marketing but you need to plan it accordingly when you can get maximum reach on your mails and response which I think 10:00 AM is the most suitable timing. Otherthan it, you can take help of Social Media Channels like FB, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIN. You can send friend request to all the hotel owners and then update your social channels on regular basis so that they will get alert for every update.
      Or he could just walk in and avoid all the IM noise.

      It's easier. Saves time.

      Ron
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      • Profile picture of the author softprodigy
        Yes, Ron, your suggestion is 100% effective and generate lead. But if somehow the restaurant owners are busy then you can drop a call at the available time.
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        • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
          Originally Posted by softprodigy View Post

          Yes, Ron, your suggestion is 100% effective and generate lead. But if somehow the restaurant owners are busy then you can drop a call at the available time.
          Which is why I suggested a project closer to home, so that the OP could come back at a later time and talk - face to face - with the owner.

          This isn't "lead" generation.

          The restaurant is the Distribution point.

          It can be hard to follow if you haven't done a project like this yourself.

          Ron
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          • Profile picture of the author savidge4
            Originally Posted by Ron Lafuddy View Post

            Which is why I suggested a project closer to home, so that the OP could come back at a later time and talk - face to face - with the owner.

            This isn't "lead" generation.

            The restaurant is the Distribution point.

            It can be hard to follow if you haven't done a project like this yourself.

            Ron
            Critical critical point here. Closing a location is different than closing a sale. I totally agree with the closer to home concept. The reality is that face to face will be needed to effectively close locations.

            The flip side of this.. the spots that are on the mats... that's lead generation and can be done over the phone - email etc.

            When I did this in the past.. I would procure the location first, and then lead gen the spots once that was in place. BUT.. you are committing big at that point.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    It's a safe bet most restaurant owners/managers will hang up on you If they get a phone call. The idea isn't even realistic.

    Now If OP wants to do a mockup and send a free sample via snail mail, that would be more likely to generate a warm lead than a phone call. The product is visual, not happening on the phone.

    You need to be in the restaurant at the slowest time of the day. First shift usually makes all the buying decisions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ricardo Martinez
    if you go in to the restaurant to talk to owner, do not go during any meal time. go in the afternoon between lunch and dinner (2-4 pm) or before the breakfast/lunch rush. Restaurant owners hate to be bothered during a busy mealtime rush. I have worked at restaurants that won't hire someone if they don't follow this very basic rule. I'm sure the same would apply with the chances of success of your sales pitch
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  • Profile picture of the author rappormomentum
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
      Originally Posted by rappormomentum View Post

      Have a meal in their restaurant.
      It's actually better if you don't have a meal.
      You're there for business, not a dining experience.

      If they say no to the offer, you're free to leave immediately
      without the need to finish a meal. Go to the next restaurant'
      on your list.

      Someone will take the deal.

      Ron
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Lafuddy
    Another point to keep in mind is that the busy time may be the only time to catch the owner in.

    They may leave immediately after, especially if they own more than one restaurant.

    You have to adapt to the situation

    Ron
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    • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
      Originally Posted by Ron Lafuddy View Post

      Another point to keep in mind is that the busy time may be the only time to catch the owner in.

      They may leave immediately after, especially if they own more than one restaurant.

      You have to adapt to the situation

      Ron
      You have to adapt to the situation

      There you go.

      GordonJ
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  • Profile picture of the author RichardThessen
    I highly recommend that you start by reaching out to your existing network to see if anyone you know knows a restaurant owner. Anytime you can get an introduction, take it.
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  • Profile picture of the author fancytop
    For me direct mail works very well, but there is nothing like direct contact with a prospect, to get it from cold to hot in a matter of minutes. Of course, that depends on whether the person feels comfortable making cold calls or not.
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  • Profile picture of the author crookedborg
    You should introduce yourself as a power blogger or food columnist. They will greet you then.
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