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Market Your Restaurant to Corporate Groups

Posted on | January 2, 2012 | Comments Off on Market Your Restaurant to Corporate Groups

Article by Cindy Baccetti

It’s a common conversation. We meet with a new restaurant member and immediately hear that group business, especially corporate group business, is one of their most desirable types of business. But all too often this does not result in a targeted group dining marketing effort. This is frequently the key missing element in a restaurants marketing and advertising campaign. This disconnect between the stated goal and the execution of a plan is a huge challenge for restaurant owners. Many things affect the decision to forego group dining marketing including lack of time, scarce resources or simply lack of knowledge. A targeted, sustained group dining marketing effort with the specific goal of increasing corporate group dining is critical for the long term success of many restaurants. Those who are doing it well are reaping the rewards. Those who are not may find it is a costly mistake especially when so many restaurants are doing it and doing it well. How to start? What to do? These are questions we hear every day. One reason for failing to go after group business is that restaurants are forced to focus on their traditional business since that’s what pays the bills on a regular basis. Additionally a successful group dining marketing program targeted at corporate users requires a lot of resources, knowledge and a sustained focus making it difficult. There are several critical elements to a successful group dining advertising effort.

Keep it SimpleGroup dining guests are very different from other guests. They are looking for information quickly and in an easy to understand format. They want specific details they can use to make decisions about their upcoming event booking. Many restaurants believe, in error, that a busy corporate or group dining prospect will be able to visualize booking a group event at a particular restaurant merely by looking at their website. But that just doesn’t work. Providing only a standard dinner menu, abstract photos and little information about hosting a group event is a common mistake. Group dining prospects are only concerned about their next event and the most successful restaurants, many of which are Groupdyne.com members, successfully ‘paint a picture’ of what a group event in their restaurant feels like, and better yet what it tastes like. A guest so clearly envisions their event that they wouldn’t even consider booking elsewhere.

These valuable prospects simply do not have the time to guess about the items critical to the success of their event. You must lay it out for them in the most simply and easy to understand terms. Your corporate guests are busy and navigating thru countless pages on your website that do not provide them the group dining information they are looking for will surely lead to your losing their interest, and ultimately the sale.

Know Your Spaces & PlacesTaking a current ‘space inventory’ is one of the most important steps in a new group marketing campaign. At Groupdyne.com we see things through a group dining focused perspective and many times we see things that our restaurant members simply do not. An ‘outdoor terrace’ becomes a ‘semi-private room’. Another common mistake is not understanding that every restaurant has a private dining room… if a 100 seat restaurant allows their space to be closed for private events they have a private dining room for 100. You must get a group mindset. When meeting with a new restaurant client we almost always create a new space inventory. Taking a new look at your spaces and places is critical to an effective group marketing campaign.

What’s Cooking?Do you know which menus and in what formats are most requested by corporate dining guests? We do. Compiling a library of past group menus with special themes and concepts allows you to show your creativity. Corporate guests enjoy browsing past menus for ideas and suggestions. At Groupdyne.com we regularly review our member’s group and seasonal menus and make recommendations and suggestions.

A Picture is Worth…[well you know the rest]You know what they say….A picture is worth a thousand words, well perhaps, but it must be the right picture. Again expecting a group dining guest to somehow see a photo of your beautiful waterfront view or an attractive couple drinking martinis in your bar and automatically expect them to conceptualize hosting a group event at your restaurant is a stretch. We regularly conduct group dining photo audits and are surprised at what we find or shall I say what we don’t find. Photos of your spaces, group menu platters, room set-ups and hopefully an event filled with guests are all critical. Make it easy for guests to see themselves having an event at your restaurant, not feeling like they are your first group reservation.

A Quick, Complete and Courteous ResponseWhat is considered a ‘good’ response time when responding to a group dining inquiry? What should you send to the potential guest in your first interaction? If you aren’t sure, how do you know where you measure up against your competition? They say that races are won in inches. Similarly a successful group dining response program should be measured in minutes. We are often surprised to hear about what and how long it takes some restaurants to respond to their corporate dining guests. People that have researched a restaurant, and have taken the time to send an online request are at times left to wait 2-3 days to then be told to call the restaurant for more details about availability. No deal. Group sales verbiage, quality and quantity of event information and ultimately your response time are all critical to converting a lead to an event. How do you measure up?

About http://www.groupdyne.comFrom corporate dinner meetings to wedding rehearsal dinners, family celebrations to holiday gatherings, Groupdyne.com helps you find and book the perfect restaurant for your upcoming event. Browse over 2,000 group dining restaurant listings in 17 US cities including: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, DC.

Groupdyne.com was built on the premise that planning meetings, special events, group lunches and dinners should be easy, intuitive and fun. The site connects users with a powerful, integrated database of restaurant information, specifics on private and semi private dining rooms and other offerings, chef biographies, capacity details and menu information to make planning group dinners simple and carefree. Users also benefit from standardized profiles that allow for quick side-by-side restaurant comparisons and one-click e-mail submission for simple email communications, video content and more. Groupdyne.com is quick, easy and free-to-use.

About Cindy BaccettiCindy Baccetti brings over 20 years sales, marketing and business development knowledge to Groupdyne.com. Her extensive experience in the hospitality industry, which ranges from full-service restaurant, bar, and nightclub operations to catering establishments, museums and conference centers, has given her a unique insight into this market. This expertise, coupled with sound business instincts and innovative negotiating skills, produces results with universal appeal in the restaurant industry that are directed at improving bottom line results.

Groupdyne.com is the result of the vision and passion of Cindy Baccetti, who recognized the need for a specialized search tool for people planning group dining/meeting events in restaurants and similar venues, whether they are professional meeting planners, or just planning major personal events. She created the hospitality website allowing users to locate group dining venues nationwide. Her leadership includes creation of the initial concept, assisting in the site’s graphic layout and programming code development, guiding the concept from start to finish.

As President, Cindy oversees Groupdyne.com’s daily operations, providing clear, strategic leadership and extensive industry expertise. She is responsible for the company’s corporate positioning, branding and identity, public relations, member engagement marketing to ensure strong connections with website users and member venues. Cindy also oversees Groupdyne.com sales and internal communications, corporate affairs, and community relations efforts and serves as champion of the company’s brand in the market. For More Information About Groupdyne.com400 Mercer Street, Suite 308Seattle, WA 98109(206) 407-3808 or info@groupdyne.com

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