A high impact restaurant marketing campaign must have the restaurant team not only cooperative but also enthusiastic.
After so many years of leading teams and motivating them to "promote the specials", "suggestive sell" and "upsell", it is odd to hear of restaurants which forbid the staff to eat anything off the menu. Limiting the restaurant team to "hands off the menu" might be counter productive.
While the restaurant industry is the largest employer in the nation (there are more restaurant staff than teachers), many of the hard working staff can't afford to eat at the place they are employed. If the restaurant ownership says "no" and the staff are unable to afford dining, how can they offer personal testimonials?
A restaurant marketing idea that will improve awareness of both the management and the employees:
Once a month have an all day free taste test for the staff. This would allow the management to watch and learn while the restaurant staff partake in the best of what they serve their guests.
What have your restaurant employees been itching to order? Note their body language and comments. Restaurant companies pay for marketing research which includes consumer surveys. Here is an internal source of feedback which might be missed.
If the team says: "This is terrible", there is less chance of success. If they say: "This is the best of the best", their enthusiasm becomes the foundation for a great promotion.
Which menu items the staff choose may be a revelation to the management team. Should the staff fall in love with a particular item, they become ambassadors for the product and their recommendation to the guests becomes a personal testimonial instead of a script.
"You have to try the ___________" needs to be heard not only in words but with passion.
"I wonder why so many on the team would order the ____________?" a restaurant owner might ask.
The younger palates may not appreciate the unusual tastes of a more sophisticated culture but at the very least an appreciation of the management can occur as the monthly taste test creates a bonding moment and conversation.
I have been surprised by the outcomes and increased confidence in the team. Over time I found the restaurant manager or owner was not necessarily the smartest person in the room. Apparently, those who worked the business hands-on had a bit of savvy as well and as a combined unit offered much more than one might expect.
What is the cost of this monthly investment? Depending on the number of staff and type of menu, can't say. More importantly, what is the cost of waste for items which do not sell? How much opportunity is missed with raising guest check averages? What is the cost of having a team with no or low knowledge of the products they serve? There are more questions to ask than "how much does it cost".
Consider what the management might learn about the menu and how the restaurant marketing can be enhanced by having a once a month all day free taste test for the restaurant staff.