"Dreams are extremely important. Nothing is done without first imagining. "
The brand more than a symbol, a culture
An old saying goes that you never have a second chance to make a good first impression, and nothing more in tune for a restaurant, where multiple objective and subjective factors converge in the service process, and which come to constitute the most important antecedent of evaluation of the result that is generated, by combining these factors and producing a confrontation between what is offered, how it is offered and how the customer perceives it.
The market restaurants It is a very competitive market given the proliferation of these as "first option" for those people who are looking to start a business; unfortunately, many of them fail in relatively short periods of time and others survive thanks to consumer recognition. This act of recognition, and subsequent loyalty, is only the result of good management brand.
Phillip Kotler in his book "Marketing Management" (Millennium Edition, 2000) states that the brand is a fundamental aspect in the product strategy, pointing out that "According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is a name, a term, a sign, a symbol, a design, or a combination of any of them that identifies goods and services of a seller or group of sellers and differentiates them from the rest of the competitors".
Today it can be said that the brand has ceased to be a simple symbol to become a strategic tool within organizations, and that it seeks, rather than marketing, to be able to communicate both the material aspects of the product and the immaterial and emotional aspects, and whose Perceptual value is formed from the accumulation of messages that the company issues.
With the creation of Procter & Gamble in the thirties, of the last century, the term of branding arises, whose essence is defined as the process of creation and management of brands where the attributes and attractiveness of the product are developed and managed for consumers.
Marsi Luca1 Submits that "Branding is a strategy of communication and consolidation of the brand (the brand), through which the company strives to broaden the diffusion, presence and visibility of its brand through a multitude of communicational activities ”. It should be said, then, that with the brand, companies seek to sell a way of being, a lifestyle, create a psychological atmosphere around a product and / or service and that to achieve this, they demand marketing and communication actions.
Communication in the restaurant: an asset to be managed
The concept of communication means much more than sending a message. The success of this does not depend on the number of messages but on the understanding (reading) of these and logically, for this to occur properly, aspects such as culture, levels of socialization, psychological profile and, in many cases, up to the perceptual threshold of the target audience. To illustrate the above, I dare to suggest that it is not the same to say: "We are not thaumaturges, but we try"To say"We don't do wonders but we tryNote that if we apply the first example it will be interpreted by a very specific audience whose intellectual level is high and have an extensive vocabulary. If we apply the second example, it will be interpreted by a larger audience.
Continuing with the popular proverb there is another who says that "it is the small details that make the big differences"And nothing more true. Many entrepreneurs have used it at some other time; much of it by recognizing simple acts of great value to the customer. However, I cannot fail to point out that there are a large number of messages that can be sent through simple details and that generate differences.
Due to the particularities of gastronomic activity, where there is a process of personal interaction between seller and buyer, I can point out many that, as a result of previous studies, I have been able to identify as factors of great influence on the mind of the consumer and that generate the desertion of this one, to use some term. I can cite from a stain in the filipina of the cook to the presence of fingerprints on the cutlery or crockery in which the food or drink is served to the customer.
Personal appearance exerts great power over consumers, with this I do not mean that you have to hire models for the service, but rather to observe the conditions in which the direct contact personnel with the client present themselves and offer the service. The transportation of food and drinks from the kitchen and bar to the living room, exits and entrances to the different areas, the posture when taking an order, the tone of voice, even the way of charging are aspects that send messages and those messages are decoded by clients and which then allows them to take strategic.
Another example is the structure of the letter. Many gastronomic companies have chosen to apply merchandising tactics in them where, in addition to the description of the dish, they accompany it with a photograph of it. When a restaurant It does this by sending a message to the client, and although at the beginning of the article I made reference, I take it again: the photograph is a message of what the client will receive if he orders it, if there are noticeable differences between what is shown and what served, the customer will perceive a scam and will negatively judge the restaurant.
The hygiene of the premises is another communicating element. I am going to include in this group the scraping of the table. The client assumes as part of the hygiene the act of removing the used supplies and highly values the change of tablecloth or the cleaning of the table once the clients leave the premises. Generally, this type of valuation is not made by the customer who leaves, but the one who is next to him, consuming.
And so, like the previous examples, many more that send messages: respect for opening hours, the existence of the products that appear in the menu, the immediacy of the service, the music, etc., all constitute acts of communication that must be consider inside the restaurant.
The communication strategy in the restaurant. Ingredient for success
It is said that together with the management economic and financial, in addition to that of human resources, communication contributes to achieving the objectives set by the company. Conceptually it can be expressed that communication is a process of interaction that occurs between human beings. It is a phenomenon of a social nature that encompasses all the acts that occur to transmit or exchange information and that includes the use of different media or channels.
Companies often bet on advertising when it suits them, at peak moments when a personality is presented or when a unique event is going to occur at the moment, and unfortunately they do so without considering the organization's strategic and marketing plans. They are unplanned actions that generate great risks, since they demand financial resources and if the message is not well studied, the response may lead to failure.
That is why today communication strategies can be considered as an indispensable ingredient for success, especially because of the versatility, complexity, competitiveness and globalization that characterizes the world. The Communication strategy is part of the marketing plan that in turn emanates from strategic planning, which means that there cannot be contradictions between them, since they are all developed according to the same objective.
Taking Phillip Kotler as a reference again, he states that for the development of effective communication it is necessary to understand how communication works, noting the presence of nine elements in it: Two represent the issuer and the receptorTwo others represent the main instruments of communication: the message and the mediaFour represent the main functions of communication encoding, decoding, response and feedback. And one last element that represents the noise in the system.
In this way, it exposes the need for issuers to identify which audiences they want to reach and what responses they want, developing the ability to encode messages that the target audience is capable of decoding, transmitting them by efficient means that reach that target audience, and developing feedback channels. so that they can know the public's response to the message.
Likewise, the International Tourism Organization states that communication actions are divided into five types:
To which is added, according to other authors, directive marketing because it is characterized by the use of various means of communication in its implementation and development.
In summary, it can be argued that for the communication process in and in the restaurant to be successful, it is necessary to develop a coordinated strategy for all the activities to be carried out.
The restaurant's communication plan. Elements to consider
The Communication plan, as well as the marketing plan, of which it is a part, is a written document that describes how the company aspires to perceive the desired image of the organization by the different publics to which it It is also directed where the communication objectives to be achieved in a given period of time are expressed, detailing the strategies and action programs necessary to achieve the stated objectives within the foreseen term.
In this sense, it can be said that the restaurant's communication plan defines the characteristics of the public it is going to address, seeking to avoid cracks between what the customer perceives and what he offers, and like for other documents Strategic preparation of the same requires, first of all, the study of the culture of the organization, allowing you to feed back from the opinion of your internal customers, which will guarantee the power to involve them in the process of development and subsequent implementation.
The success of the communication plan is said to lie in the fact that the actions carried out are characterized by being original, creative, responsive to the demand of the target audience, credible, direct and persuasive, in such a way that the client is perceived or have access to a message, motivate it, know the characteristics and attributes of the product, etc.
Outline of the Strategic Communication Plan
1. Description of the situation. It is nothing more than the description of all those strategic assets that characterize the company such as organizational strength, the company's reputation with customers and competitors, work environment, as well as other aspects such as the attitudes and behaviors of employees. vis-à-vis customers, the quality of the products and services offered, the environmental actions carried out in the company, the elements that guarantee consumer safety, hygiene, among others, in addition to reflecting the history of the company, sales results, among others.
2. Communication objectives: they must indicate what the objectives are, what they want to achieve with the activities that are launched. Goals must be quantifiable, measurable, and must be achievable, realistic
3. Communication strategies: It consists of choosing the way to develop each of the communication areas in order to achieve the objectives.
4. Target audiences (Target market): It consists of describing the various target audiences to which communication is directed and in which communication efforts will be concentrated, characterizing each one and reflecting those aspects that differentiate them and that motivate or justify the communication plan.
5. Basic or key messages: It is the element that you want to communicate by choosing the characteristics or attributes to communicate, as well as the tone or style of communication.
6. Recommended actions: It consists of defining the activities to be developed and the means to be used to develop the plan.
7. Timeline or calendar: it is nothing more than the planning in time of each of the actions to be carried out.
8 Budget: It consists of defining the economic amount that will be allocated to the implementation of the strategic plan for comprehensive communication.
9. Control and monitoring: Measurement of the course and fulfillment of the plan in order to carry out corrective actions to try to achieve the objectives set.
10. Indicators: Although in another article we discuss how to measure the efficiency of the restaurant's communication plan, the measurement indicators should be structured as follows:
Physicists: they are the ones that measure the actual degree of compliance with the programmed actions.
Financial: They are the ones that will allow contrasting the actual execution of the budget against the one initially programmed.
Impact: reports the actual number of people the messages have reached.
Result: measures the actual number of results achieved such as the number of visits to the website
It is important that the person in charge of the development of the communication strategy knows that, independently of the previous scheme, this strategy can be structured in various campaigns in correspondence with the objective pursued, in this way, different means can be defined to fulfill a target or reach an audience, which does not necessarily have to be the same for another target.
Selection of restaurant communication tools and actions
The tools and actions to be implemented will be in correspondence with the objectives that are defined and that have been previously indicated. For this it is important to take into consideration the public to whom you want to send the message and the peculiarities of the tools, so for example if I am going to use direct marketing I could create a database of my clients and keep them informed about the various offers of the restaurant etc. If, for example, I am going to use advertising, I must define what means I am going to use according to the public to whom I want to send the message and how often (specialized magazines, newspaper advertisements, radio spots, television spots, leaflets, flyers, etc.).
Summarizing I must say that the communication plan, in addition to providing an order, ensures savings for the entrepreneur, since instead of making isolated communication efforts, this document allows resources and capabilities to be deployed in a clear and controlled manner, also allowing the identification of costs incurred and the impact of the actions on the economic and financial results of the restaurant.
A final message as always.
Dear administrator / manager of restaurants: not because you read it you have to know how to do it. If you want to be successful and reach your customers by developing a communication plan for your restaurant, seek help, no one will criticize you, it is better to invest in something that will give us benefits in the future, than to save by doing something without knowing and that will cost us more if we were wrong.
1Marsi Luca, Corporate Strategies, Social aspects and consequences for the Community. Mémoires et Travaux 2006 Center de Recherches Ibériques et Ibéro Américaines. Université Paris X- Nanterre.