Restaurant Marketing Tools: Local Marketing – The Sensei Of Success

Social Media and PR


Why? Because when we recognize something, it gives us a feeling of ease, familiarity, and automatic credibility and that makes it easy for us to part with our money. As marketers, our sole purpose is to create the “Oh yeah I’ve heard of that” response from customers.

In a nutshell, what we’re talking about here is trust.

Have you ever noticed after someone tells you about something they loved, that you suddenly see it everywhere? That something has now entered your awareness, and as a consumer, you now have a higher propensity to purchase it. We call this “word-of-mouth marketing.” On the list of marketing modalities available to employ, this tactic is numero uno.

Restaurant franchise companies provide their stores with “LSM” (Local Store Marketing) manuals. If you own a McDonald’s or a Sharky’s Wood Fired Mexican Grill, central branding needs to be replicated in every market. However, the way that each franchisee appeals to their consumers in their area is very different.

One of the ways that indie restaurants do this, is by sprinkling in a little familiarity. In Malibu, where I live, the restaurants include a few Malibu vintners on the wine list or the local One Gun Ranch ingredients. In other areas, I’ve seen restaurants create signature dishes with ingredients foraged from the local farmer’s market. In the case of Sharky’s (who was a client of ours), they showcased Deardorff Lettuce Farms on their menu, and many Southern California restaurants showcase their use of Harris Ranch beef.

Local focus is a marketing rule that is important for every type of business, whether for a restaurateur or beauty product sales. Every human alive holds onto their money – for anything – unless they feel a level of trust.

Let’s look at a breakdown of consumers. Statistically, some segments are more cautious, namely baby boomers born from 1946 to 1964 who favor comfort and familiarity – they’re not adventuresome. Gen Xers, (born 1965 to 1980) are very cynical of large institutions and are self-reliant. They like to make their own decisions. Gen Y, (born 1981 to 2000) move in posses and are experts at group-think. They really care about who they are buying from and will make social responsibility the sole reason to buy. Millennials (born after 2001) are “eco-fatigued” and have never known a world without computers, the internet and cell phones.

So, get to know who your customer is, extrapolate backward to give them what they want, and apply that to every aspect of your business. If they are millennials or Gen Yer’s, give them payment methods like Venmo and replace your valet curb for Uber. Look around to see how these consumers behave in your region and mirror back to them how they behave – and I promise you, your business will thrive.

The only thing that matters in business is selling, so everything you do must come from the standpoint of the customer.


Alyson Dutch, the CEO of Malibu, California based Brown & Dutch Public Relations, is the
author of PR Handbook for Entrepreneurs and PR Handbook for Food Franchisees. Dutch’s
communication style is straightforward, genuine, and savvy. Her passion for her work
drives her to apply her knowledge in a creative, yet methodical manner. In addition,
she has a keen understanding of the cultural sensitivities that rule the business
marketplace and commands the media’s attention.

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