Jeffrey Summers is a 29 year veteran of creating, operating, Coaching and consulting with successful food service concepts that include national and international chains, franchises and independentoperators. He is an award winning business Coach, consultant, speaker, writer and blogger who offers real world Coaching and consulting help on every facet of the food service business.
He is also the president and founder of RestaurantWorx™, a full-service, national and international, Hospitality Coaching and consulting firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. Besides helping clients achieve success by working with them one-on-one, he frequently speaks at and attends numerous industry events as well as at local, state and national small business groups in order to share his passion for the business of food and hospitality.
SuperHero Marketing reached out to Jeffrey to get his insight into online marketing for restaurants and business in general.
SHM: In regards to setting up a website for a restaurant what are the top 3 things you would advise the restaurant owner to make sure that the web design firm implements?
Jeffrey: First you need to make sure that the designer you use has worked with and understands the needs of restaurants. They are unique and have special marketing needs that usually get overlooked by both the operator and therefore the designer that mineralizes the website’s effectiveness in driving sales, traffic and engagement.
Secondly, you need to understand how the website is your marketing hub and that it’s role is to facilitate and amplify the effectiveness of each marketing tactic you employ.
Thirdly, operators need to build their guest experience into the website using as many sensory tools as possible – blogs, video, audio, etc…
SHM: How important do you feel social media is to a restaurant’s marketing strategy?
Jeffrey: Social Media is extremely important to a restaurant’s overall marketing strategy because it should amplify the differentiated value found in your guest experience. This is what we mean when we talk about creating a ‘social business’. However, it can also be a big liability when utilized improperly as it can serve to amplify your mediocrity as well.
SHM: What social media platform do you feel is more effective for restaurants – Facebook or Twitter? And Why?
Jeffrey: The best social media platforms for restaurants are those where your guests congregate. It does a business no good when you are all over one platform or the other and then find that your guests are somewhere else. Also, operators forget that the big three (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) are not the only social media platforms you should engage with. The best ones are usually local websites run by local newspaper or chambers of commerce and the like.
SHM: Location based marketing platforms like Foursquare and Gowalla are becoming extremely popular. Do you see them having a role in all styles of restaurants – for instance do you feel it fits with fine dining establishments?
Jeffrey: No. Foursquare and Gowalla are nothing more than coupon and discount distribution platforms that have no connection or relationship to the level of guest engagement that you need to build long-term success in the restaurant or hotel business. An operator has to create and facilitate the tools internally to engage his guests on a more intimate level rather than outsource it to a product like these that does nothing to help you differentiate yourself.
SHM: What blog do you follow most?
Jeffrey: That’s a tough one because I have hundreds in my RSS reader. If I had to choose just one, I’d have to pick Alan Weiss’s “Contrarian Consulting” blog (ContrarianConsulting.com).
SHM: What tasks do you wish you could delegate or outsource?
Jeffrey: I delegate everything I can so I can focus on the work we do with clients as well as the time needed to build relationships with them.
SHM: Best dish you have ever had?
Jeffrey: Any dish that is served by my favorite Chef, Charlie Trotter.
SHM: If you were not doing Restaurant Worx what would you be doing?
Jeffrey: I get asked that all the time but I honestly wouldn’t want to do anything else. I’ve been in this business my entire adult life and I love it because it’s my passion. I’m having way too much fun to do anything else.
SHM: What prompted you to establish Restaurant Worx?
Jeffrey: We started RestaurantWorx™ because we saw a need in the independent marketplace that no one else was filling. Basically the need of independent operators to have access and support from people who have created success in the industry by rolling up their sleeves and actually getting the work done. We’re not theorists; we’re more pragmatic problem solvers and innovators.
SHM: What is the most important skill someone should possess before starting a restaurant?
Jeffrey: The ability to engage people on an emotional level that builds and supports real, organic relationships. If you have that, we can teach you everything else.