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Does your restaurant have that WOW! factor?
Roger Beaudoin ◆ Today’s Restaurant Contributor
When I was starting my first restau- rant so many years ago, I made it clear to my staff that every dish coming out of the kitchen had to have what I called “WOW” Factor. That meant that the portion size, presentation and every- thing about the look, smell and taste of each item had to make the customer exclaim to the table “WOW”! Quickly, this became a “hook” in my establish- ment and those that followed.
I love to talk to operators and man- agers about the power of “hooks” and your restaurant wow factor simply can- not have too many hooks. A hook is any- thing unique, exciting and powerful that sets your restaurant apart from the com- petition that your customer will talk about. Hooks build customer loyalty and that all-important “word of mouth” marketing. I recommend that you sit down with your team and have a good
old-fashioned “brainstorm” session to talk about “What’s Really Special” about your place that your entire staff can present to the guest. Don’t overlook all the other powerful ways to present your “hooks” such as table tents, your menus, chalkboards, signs and internal market- ing ideas of all kinds.
chandise that were impulse sales items as guests entered and left the restau- rant. Our location was at a ski resort, so we installed a snow making machine that actually made snow on the dance floor. Are you getting the idea? It’s all about the “WOW” whether your hooks are as dramatic as these or more subtle to fit your brand and theme.
Roger Beaudoin, Restaurant Rockstars
“I’ve always believed that dining out in any restaurant should be an “event” and this is certainly what I look for when I dine out in anyplace USA or re- ally anywhere in the world. A restau- rant should provide endless reasons to dazzle the customer, invite them back and create “affinity” with each cus- tomer. There really is No Greater, more Cost-Effective form of Marketing than this simple idea.”
About Roger Beaudoin: Roger Beaudoin is the founder of the Sales Stars Server Training System, Author of Rock Your Restaurant, a game- changing guide to Restaurant Finances and Creator of The Restaurant Rockstars Academy. He is a successful restaurant entrepreneur who has founded and operated 4 restaurants/hospitality companies over the past 22 years. He recently sold the Matterhorn SKI BAR in Maine, a seasonal restaurant and bar that generated over $1 MIL- LION dollars sales in just 4 months, with double the Net Profit of the average full-serve restaurant. While running The Matterhorn it was named “BEST SKI BAR USA” by Skiing Magazine and “Classic SKI BAR” by SKI Magazine, as well as re- ceiving restaurant accolades from the New York Times, Boston Globe, Framers Travel Guides, Powder Magazine, Yankee Magazine and other publications over the years. Roger is a Speaker at industry events, Host of the Restaurant Rockstars Podcast and is frequently interviewed as a Guest Expert on other industry podcasts as well. In ad- dition to providing turn-key restaurant Staff Training and Financial systems, Roger Coaches and Consults to restaurants of all types. As more than 50% of restaurants fail, he has a deep pas- sion for helping new restaurant owners not only survive but knock it out of the park! (There is no reason for them to make the same mistakes he made 20 years ago when he started his first restaurant). With over 20+ years in the business, he is a genius with restaurant analytics, branding, training, systems and efficiencies and uses that ex- pertise to help restaurateurs create not just restau- rants, but BUSINESSES that ROCKS PROFITS!
Roger wrote this article first in “Total Food Service" who originally published the piece. For more info visit
◆Hooks build customer loyalty and that all-important “word of mouth” marketing.
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Now back to the “WOW”. Once the plate presentations were creating ex- citement and buzz, I started to think about creating “WOW” across my restaurant. The front entrance, the host counter, dining rooms, the bar, the bathrooms, etc. I was actually in- spired by Las Vegas. Now don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not suggesting that you install a casino in your restaurant, although the cash flow would be nice. What I mean to say is everything about the famous Vegas “Strip” is about dazzling your eye, creating ex- citement and compelling you to spend money! So my team and I looked at every area of our restaurant and bar and applied this concept to creating “WOW”!
First it all starts with your staff. Right from the get-go, I trained my staff to be “entertainers” on stage, attentive to every need, personable and to present their unique personalities to the guest. This alone became our restau- rant’s “Secret Weapon” and a powerful competitive advantage. The signature dish that built our restaurant was wood- fired Neapolitan pizza, so of course we built our “brick oven” right in the mid- dle of the dining room. We had a large host area and it certainly didn’t hurt that we created lots of appealing retail mer-
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