I kinda want to file this blog post under, “a damned shame.” On Sunday night, my wife Sara and I decided to eat Mexican food at a favorite neighborhood restaurant, where we’ve gone for the past three years. We enjoyed its food and ambiance. A type of music called norteño always played over the speakers, which I just learned about in The New Yorker, and was all excited to talk to them about it.
The restaurant is called Juan Colorado. Or was.
As we walked toward the restaurant, we saw that its lights were out. A sign on the door said that it had closed, and it thanked everyone for their business.
We were crestfallen. It was the only good restaurant within walking distance of our house, so this will end a tradition that goes back to when we moved to Oregon. We’ll be driving to all eating places now.
I don’t know why the restaurant closed, but I had noticed that, for the past several months, many of the letters in its sign were not lighted (from now on, this will be a harbinger of doom for me).
Juan Colorado was part of a chain, I think, although only one appears to have its own website. The Juan Colorado quasi-franchise close to us never advertised in any mailers, had no web presence, and I haven’t even seen any Yellow Pages ads. My guess is that this franchise initiated a death spiral by cutting down on marketing while sales declined, until there was no marketing budget and, eventually, no sales.
Word of mouth marketing is crucial for restaurants, but it will only get you so far, especially in a suburban market. At the very least, you need a website (even if it’s only a menu!) And not to sound too self-serving, but a copywriter/freelance writer can boost a restaurant’s bottom line by creating content that makes a restaurant irresistible.
But marketing is critical. Sara and I run one-person shops, and even we advertise (my shingle is up at the Freelance Designers website, and Sara has advertised in Spot Magazine). If nothing else, these sites help raise awareness among our target markets.
If you have a business, and you’re not marketing it, consider hiring a freelance writer. It will cost some money in the short run, but in the long-run, it may help you stay in business.