These days, restaurants have to be constantly innovative and on the top of trends in order to reach their top marketing potential. But it can be incredibly easy to confuse an inventive marketing tactic for a gimmick. While an exhaustive list of restaurant gimmicks might as well be longer than a research paper, here are some common restaurant-related gimmicks that, if you are employing in some fashion, you should stop using.
“The Daily Special”
Unless this is one of the most popular items in your menu (if it is, it’s time to take a closer look at your menu), having a daily special in your menu can be construed as a desperate way to make your restaurant known, or worse, that your restaurant isn’t doing particularly well.
You have to keep in mind that the menu is supposed to highlight your place’s greatest culinary contributions. Having a daily special not only means that you don’t care about the rest of your menu, it can also, in a more subtle way, that you’re looking to make a quick buck.
If you do want to make something special however, offer limited-time menu options or offer special discounts around holiday seasons (here are some for June).
Filling your walls full of paraphernalia.
It can be too easy to fill your restaurant’s wall full of art and collectibles a-la-Planet Hollywood. And it might look cool that these celebrities came to your restaurant and were nice enough to sign whatever photo you could get of you and your celebrity together. But you’re not running your restaurant to make an example of good interior design. Unless you plan on having a caricature plaster your restaurant’s wall full of caricatures, it’s better to stick to a mural or just a few paintings (local contributions can be a cool touch too).
Not accepting all the major payment methods.
Does your restaurant only accept cash or don’t take, for example, American Express? Congratulations. You just gave your patrons a reason (or worse yet, another reason) to not come to your restaurant. Sure you can provide an ATM on your premises, but maintaining and renting (or buying) an ATM can be costly as well (and on the flip side, very few banks waive ATM fees–a lot of them with restrictions). Additionally, with so many credit card processing services available, it’s almost impossible today not for your restaurant to accept credit cards.