Day 65 – The Puzzle – Just Putting This Somewhere


What started 15 years ago as a strategy to replace direct mail and create a loyalty program has become so much more.  As I learned about why Kamron started Repeat Returns in 2008 I chuckled at how similar our paths were.  Here he was on one side of the game a restaurant owner creating a product to get him to the next level and there I was working with restaurants on the same concepts.  

In 2023 we acquired Repeat Returns with the goals of it becoming our “go to” software for our clients.  Up to that point my marketing firm, Restaurant Marketing That Works, replied on third party software to connect a complex restaurant VIP program we’d built.  I saw buying Repeat Returns as our chance to own the software we used and make it exactly what we wanted for our clients.

Then I did something I don’t do that often, I waited!  I sat back and watched.  I learned what Repeat Returns was and how restaurants used it.  I saw what they loved and hated.  I saw what I loved and hated. And then after 4 months I devised a plan.

These two companies would not run side by side, they would become one.  We would create the ultimate restaurant marketing platform.  By taking both companies and putting them together we could create a solution to every restaurants marketing needs.

So off I ran with an idea to create an “all-in-one” industry first platform. The graphic below was my first shot at what I saw.

It all starts with a customer management software and goes from there.  A VIP program driven by RR’s smart systems, customer acquisition, loyalty, review management, web development, social media marketing and finally high level coaching.  


I’d cracked the code!

And then reality set in.  Was I really createing the ultimate restaurant marketing platform, or trying to be everything to everyone while giving no one exactly what they needed. Then I looked at my desk, at the piece of paper that I’d taped to my desk that read “become obsessed…DRIVE-SALES.”


The most powerful products and services created are built from necessity. They are built by owners looking to solve a problem THEY HAVE!

Recently I was in Las Vegas for David Scott Peters 2 Day Restaurant Transformation seminar and heard Bruce Earle tell the story of how Margin Edge was created.  It was created by a restaurant owner looking to fix a problem he had daily that he did not see available on the market.

It got me thinking back to why Kamron created Repeat Returns, the exact same reason.

It got me thinking about my own journey and why I created Driven Media Solutions all the way back in 2008.

Then it got me thinking (I know a lot of thinking) about why Driven Media Solutions evolved into Restaurant Marketing That Works.

And finally I asked myself why I created that flier “become obsessed, DRIVE – SALES”.

I did it for two reasons, I knew that my company would only go as far as it could if I became obsessed with the sales of products, but more importantly the SALES of our restaurant clients.  Since 2015 we’ve been focused on helping restaurants prove their marketing is working by showing them trackable evidence, AKA sales that happen when we send an email, make a Facebook post, etc.  

And that brought everything full circle.  What do I hear customers say every single day.

I need sales.  Lunch, dinner, catering, upsells from appetizers, desserts, etc. 


So I looked at that big fancy cool looking chart of the services I wanted to offer and said “YOU NEED TO DRIVE SALES TO THESE RESTAURANTS.” And I thought long and hard, what really does that.  Meaning, what have I learned the past 16 years in running the marketing for hundreds of small businesses and what have I seen from the Repeat Returns side of things?

I looked at what I know to be true.  It starts with building a customer database and having a tool, a customer database software, to help you use the database.  One that tells you the whole story, not just pieces of it.  A software that is built 100% for restaurants and designed to leverage technology to take these customers on a journey so they SPEND MONEY in your restaurant.  Whether that’s through a VIP program, a catering funnel, a loyalty program, a birthday program, etc.  By any means necessary how can we help restaurants DRIVE SALES through their marketing.

Then I thought about the biggest issue I’d seen through the years with any marketing program, attention.  And attention comes from PEOPLE.  Which means that no matter how awesome this software was, it needed fuel. It needed our customer acquisition program that we’d fine tuned since 2015. 

And last, and probably least, it needed what I loved but it’s 100% needed NOW, BRANDING!  

I thought, what if we created a platform that was 90% focused on driving sales and accidentally building brand along the way.  Then we’d have the best of both worlds. We’d help these restaurant owners short term with the sales they need to thrive and survive and along the way help them build a brand that is unstoppable. 

So with that, our new initiative was launched.:



Then I looked at that massive list of offerings above.  

8 products that we were going to offer, and I asked myself and my team “what do we all dominate now and know 100% we can do to DRIVE SALES?”

And with that, our services offering was narrowed to 3 items.

– Repeat Returns would go from a 3 level restaurant marketing software to ONE, IGNITE!

– Restaurant Marketing That Works Acquisition program would become ONE, ACCELERATE!

– And our high end 1-2-1 collaborative coaching program would now be, DOMINATE!

And with that I give you the new company name, this is what Restaurant Marketing That Works and Repeat Returns have become…


Y with a Y?

Because as I said above YOU need to drive sales and we are going to help you do it, we’ll be the DRYVER!

Stay tuned…

Day 64 – The Puzzle – Documenting Your Journey

Twice in the past 24 hours I’ve repeated this statement “stop using social media as todays money mailer and a place to puke your menu pics. Instead tell your story and become the reality show your community is craving.”

I want you to do me a favor so that you can understand what I’m talking about.  Look up the 3 local restaurants near you right now and go to their Facebook.  

Chart how many posts they made since May 10th and then how many were selling something, not selling something, solid community posts or telling their unique story.


– Selling = Post about WHY to come eat and drink there.

– Not Selling = Happy Memorial Day & NOT SELLING “come celebrate with us”

– SOLID = Community oriented post (ex. one of the posts on Restaurant #1 was a little league team celebrating their big win).

– Telling Your Story = Exactly what it sounds like

The picture above is mine, on the back of a piece of mail that arrived today.

Restaurant #1

– # Of Posts = 32

– Selling = 22

– Not Selling = 6

– Strong Non Selling Post = 4

– Telling Their Story = 0

Restaurant #2

– # Of Posts = 14

– Selling = 12

– Not Selling = 1

– Strong Non Selling Post = 1

– Telling Their Story = 0

Restaurant #3

– # Of Posts = 16

– Selling = 15

– Not Selling = 1

– Strong Non Selling Post = 0

– Telling Their Story = 0

I’m not going to go any deeper than the numbers above.  If you can’t see the opportunity that exists and how BAD your competition is then that’s your fault. 

Day 63 – The Puzzle – The $15 Small Pizza And WHY I Keep Going There

Friday night was pretty normal for me this week, I left the gym and headed home.  On the way home I did what I do most Fridays, swing by Strongs Brick Oven Pizza in Union Kentucky.  On this night I was rolling solo since my wife was out of town with my daughter and my son was at kick boxing.  I think that’s why the dollar amount of this pizza stuck out, it was simply a personal size pizza just for me, my bill came out to $15.85 or aprox $14.85 before tax.

Think about, $15 for a small 10 inch pizza, seems kind of high right?  After all a small pizza is selling between $7-10 at most places. 

But this is the important part, the price was a non factor.  I asked myself, what if it was $20…I’d still buy it.

WHY?  Because the pizza I was picking up was a ONE OF A KIND creation by the pizza geniuses there.  I get the Almost Famous Hot & Spicy.  It’s got bacon, a spicy sauce, peppers and then the dump crumbled up bbq chips on top.  IT’S UNREAL!  It’s so damn good, and it’s the ONLY place I can get this pizza.

It’s kind of like Doc Style wings at Barleycorns, no one else was them.

So why is this the subject of this blog?  Because all of you are trying really hard to get people to spend money with you and more importantly you’re trying to get MORE money when they do visit.  So when you offer a product like this pizza that no one else has, price is removed.  It’s my favorite pizza, so whether it cost me $10, $15, $20 or $25 I’D BUY IT!  

Now I will say, when we start talking about $25-35, it’s going to have me thinking.  But honestly, it’s so damn good 🙂

OK, but you’re thinking “Matt, what’s TJ’s LinkedIn message have to do with this?”

TJ pays attention and he’s heard me rail on this exact pizza restaurant for being bad at marketing.  As I think about it, I can’t say a whole lot that’s good about their email, text and social media.  In fact, they don’t even email or text me.  And I’d be willing to be a large sum of money that don’t have me in any type of marketing database.  They do exactly the opposite of what I believe it, which leads me back to TJ’s question.

WHY am I still eating there?

It’s 100% due to the location of the restaurant, not the pizza or anything else.  

I’d had this pizza at their Newport location a few times per year, and LOVED IT.  That’s how I knew about it when they opened up a mile from my house and that’s why I’ve eaten in hundreds of times since they opened here.  BUT I never went out of my way to visit the Newport location, even though they had my favorite pizza.  WHY?  Out of sight, out of mind.  They were an after thought and we only visited when we were in Newport for another reason.  

But now, I drive by it MANY TIMES per day.  I’m typing this on a Sunday, and I’ve drove by it twice on the way to run this morning and twice on my way to dinner tonight.  If this restaurant was located a few miles in one direction or the other my visit frequency would be 75% less.  

They are getting my business due to their restaurant being in my line of sight 40-50 times per week, and they happen to have my favorite pizza.  Stack on top of that great customer service and a clean restaurant and it’s a dangerous combination.  BUT remove from that the Union location and I’m a 2 times per year customer vs 40-50!  

TJ, your answer is PROXIMITY!  

And to hammer this point home even more, 9 out of 10 friends of mine from the region tell me when I drag them along “I love this place, but never come.”  I ask why and the answer is always the same, out of sight…out of mind!

But imagine if they were running marketing like I preach, oh SNAP, they’d be dangerous.

Imagine the possibilities….

If they were running marketing campaigns with a 3 mile radius to gather data

If they had servers asking for data.

If they had a tech stack when I called into order my pizza that got my info.

IF they had my info and used it how many more visits they could drive, the catering they could sell me, the appetizers they could sell, the desserts they could sell….

TJ, you’ve got me on my soap box and for that reason this is also topic of episode 630 of Restaurant Marketing SecretsCLICK HERE to listen!

Day 62 – The Puzzle – Handling Customer Complaints Online For Your Restaurant…STAND YOUR GROUND!



You and only you can be the gate keeper for your brand, so do exactly what Michelle did here.

Before you read any farther into this blog, CLICK HERE and read the post Michelle made to defend her restaurant, Case & Bucks, from some online shade.  It’s absolute gold and once you read it you’ll have the context you need for the rest of the blog.

Ok, now back to the action.

DAMN, didn’t she freaking DOMINATE that post!  

First, let’s get this out of the way and I’ll warn you, this will go against everything you’ve ever thought.

HOPE & PRAY for some negative posts like this monthly.  WHAT!?  Are you crazy Matt, well yes a little 🙂

Let me explain, here are my 5 reasons you want this stuff in your life:

#1 – If you don’t get hate, then you’re not taking enough action.

#2 – Hate and people throwing shade will EXCITE you and bring out that fire (like it did with Michelle).

#3 – It will force you to take action and put on paper how you REALLY feel.  Because I know none of you really “FEEL” how your social media looks.

#4 – It will prove to you how awesome you are because you’ll get 10x the love than the hate garnered.

#5 – And last but not least, it will show you the power of using social media to tell your story. Then HOPEFULLY it will get you away from posting lame ass food pictures every day and instead get you on team MP and using the written word and videos from your heart.  The power of properly crafted content NOT around your food will draw in more and more people and help you finally market your restaurant correctly. 

Great job Michelle, now that I know what you have in the tank I’m going to be on the lookout for some more heartfelt content to connect you, your brand, your team and your food with your community.

The Puzzle – Day 61 – Opening A New Restaurant? Bring Locals On the Journey Like Bri And Jonathon Did

How should you market opening a new restaurant is a question I get all the time.  

My advise is ALWAYS bring the community along for the ride.  Show them them the construction, the craziness that is building out a new restaurant.  

You can do this pretty easily with a smart phone and Facebook live.  

OR you can go next level like Bri and Jonathon of Wooden Paddle did.  WOW is all I had to say when I watched this.  

I really don’t have much to tell you, I think you’ll get your biggest bang for your buck by simply watching their video and thinking “how can I do this.”

CLICK HERE to watch the video.

FYI there’s NOTHING holding you back from doing videos like this EVERY WEEK even if you’ve been open for 30 years.  It’s freaking free to create your own reality show online, JUST DO IT!

Day 60 – The Puzzle – Time Is On Your Side

Forget the picture above for a minute and read below before you look up.

We all have bad days.

We all have bad weeks.

We all CAN have bad months, if we allow bad weeks to add up and bring us down.

And I suppose we can have a bad year with what I mentioned above and with life events that wreak havoc. 

But right now I want you to focus on the big picture.  Whether we are talking about the sales in your business, the traction in your marketing or your weight loss journey, NOTHING worth doing happens fast and easy. 

Now LOOK UP!  Look at the picture and no it’s not an eye test but now that I look at it I’m getting dizzy 🙂

Each row is 1 year, 52 dots, 1 for each week (at least it should be, but I could have designed it wrong).

There are 15 rows, each representing a year. 

The rows are black, blue and orange to point out a 3 year increment.

FIRST = I like viewing any goal in a 3 year increment.  After reading the book Vivid Vision by Cameron Herold in 2019 I realized that was the right path for me.  WHY?  A lot can happen in 5 years, and don’t get me started on 10 or 15!  So when I look at a path to finishing a goal I know can picture what it looks like in 3 years.  Especially once you get 6 months to a year into it., you’re like “ok, 2 more of these”.  Today I’m going to run a hill twice, it’s 4.5 miles total.  When I get back up the hill after round one I’m always like “ok, 1 more time.”  I view looking at 3 year plans the same way.

SECOND = Each dot is 1 week to show you have insignificant a bad week, heck a back 5-10 weeks, REALLY IS!  Look how small of a sample size a few weeks is in 1 year, then 3 years and then 15 years!

THIRD & FINAL POINT = 15 years!  As an adult and entrepreneur I think we all have to be able to DREAM!  And I don’t know about you, but no dream I want is reachable in 3 years.  A goal, yes.  A DREAM, NO!!!!  So as I sit here at 48 years and say “I want this” I know it’s a big lift.  I know it’s a long road, but I also know I have a lot of DOTS that I can screw up on in route to this dream.  There are 52 weeks in a year, 156 weeks in 3 years and 780 weeks in 15 years.

So when I have a bad week I start to think, WHO GIVES A SHIT, it’s .0012 of the time it’s going to take me to get to my dream, it’s really really insignificant. 

FYI, go by the book Vivid Vision and READ IT ASAP!

Day 59 – The Puzzle – Rule Of 1/3’s With Restaurant Customer Acquisition & Conversion

It’s hard not to ask the question.

It’s hard not to question peoples sanity.

And it’s impossible NOT TO WONDER “where would my sales be every week IF everyone walked in?”

I get it, trust me, I REALLY REALLY get it!.  As a company we have 500 or so conversations with restaurant owners every week.  About 150 of those owners schedule a meeting.  About 100 of those owners SHOW UP (yes 50 of you skip the meeting without notice, the meeting you scheduled). And about 40% of the restaurant owners say YES.

It’s in our nature to wonder WHAT IF all 150 showed and all 150 became clients.  It’s our opportunistic side.

So when I say I can relate to you in this matter, I can.  

Restaurants that run customer acquisition marketing campaigns know my pain.  This past week I was in Virginia Beach meeting with a long time client, Dean of Firebrew Bar & Grill, and the question came up “where are the other 65% Matt ?! ”  

Dean is like you, a restaurant owner wanting to drive sales and grow his top line sales and of course net profit.  But when he looks at the prior 4 years of working with us he can’t help but think “what if the other 8,000 customers who opted into our marketing program walked into my restaurant for JUST 1 visit.  Heck, what if 4,000 of them walked in for 10 to 15 visits.  His restaurant would be double, maybe triple the size it is now and his sales problem would be GONE!

So the question comes up, why are those customers engaging in a marketing ad for the restaurant, giving us their contact information and NOT doing business with us?

At a basic level, it’s the rule of 1/3’s.  

Meaning, 1/3 of these people will NEVER be your customers, 1/3 are your best opportunity and 1/3 are stuck in the middle. 

Below is a link to a podcast I did on the topic that digs deeper into WHY, but in this blog I want to focus on another side of the equation.  I want to discuss what makes that main 1/3 easier or harder to get.

It all comes down to 3 factors:

– Type Of Food

– Level Of Service

– Location

In episode 629 of my podcast, Restaurant Marketing Secrets, we dig into this topic a little more, CLICK HERE and have a listen to the other side of this conversation



We’ve run over 100,000 restaurant marketing campaigns around customer acquisition.  I’d challenge more than ANYONE ELSE and what I’m about to cover is based on those results.  

This example requires to you think a little different about the bullseye.  Normally I’d show a bullseye and talk about how we are trying to build a marketing campaign to target our exact customer.  But in this example I’m going to talk about how the closer you get to the center the MORE to exclude people and the harder or more expensive it becomes to acquire customers for your restaurant.  

First is your type of food.  If you’re a burger, chicken or pizza concept then you fit to EVERYONE!  If you’re a Thai restaurant, your fit a lot less peoples taste buds.  And on top of that, the Thai eater (me) still will eat at the widely accepted food categories on the outside of the bullseye.  Think about it in the terms of 100 people:

– 80 to 90 of those people would eat anything in the orange area (burgers, pizza and chicken)

– 60 to 70 of those people would eat anything in the white area (Mexican, hot chicken)

– 30 to 40 of those people would eat in the blue area (Thai, Asian and other ethnic foods)

So if you’re running a marketing campaign for a Thai concept, you’re only relating to a fraction of the audience which leads to less opportunity and lower conversion rates.

Next, let’s dig into the type of service.  This also ties into the price of service too.  I don’t think we have to go to far into this.  Based on the economics, types of service and price point knocks people out. If you’re a fast food joint everyone is a potential client, whereas a fine dining establishment is probably only going to appeal to 10-20% of consumers.

Now let’s look at location.  I’ll use two examples here.

First is Shaheen’s restaurants.  Shaheen works for me, but before that he was a restaurant owner for 28 years.  From 2013 to 2020 when he was a client of ours he had 2 restaurants in downtown Cincinnati.  Both restaurants catered to the office workers. In fact one restaurant, Simply Grand Cafe, was on the 1st floor of Great American Insurance’s global HQ.  So 95% of his customers were always going to come from that company.  His other restaurant was Burrito Joe’s one block away.  That business had a broader range of office workers to choose from since his location was more central to other office buildings.  

BUT with a location that appeals to only office workers, you lose a lot of people, which is why Shaheen was closed from dinner and on the weekends. 

My second example is a former client of ours that had a fast food chicken tender concept off the expressway ramp where consumers live.  This location was EASY to get to and was off the exit people take to go home, in fact it was on the right side where you turned to head home, so they had the best of both worlds.  And they are located in a place where there’s also a decent amount of commerce and business traffic.  PLUS people who didn’t work near the location were passing it twice per day.  

Shaheen only has a chance at lunch for his downtown location typically once per week.  But the chicken tender spot has a captive audience all week.  Here’s the breakdown on 100 people:

– 80 to 90 of those people are around the chicken tender brand every day because they live in the area

– 50 to 60 of those people are around the chicken tender brand 5 days per week because they work there PLUS it’s an easy “take home to the family product for dinner”

– 20 to 30 of those people are around Shaheens downtown spot when he’s open. 

SOOOOO with the breakdown out of the way here’s an easy way to wrap a bow around this.

If you are advertising for customers and you are a restaurant with an appealing food type, service/price point and location you are RELATING to 80-90% of those people seeing your ads.  Whereas, if you’re a restaurant with a more specific type of food, with a higher price point in an urban area you are only going to appeal to 30-40% of the customers seeing your marketing. 

This does two things.  First, it costs you more to get the right people since you have waste on your ads.  Second, you have lower redemption rates on your offers since people don’t make it to your location as often or don’t dine in that segment as often as others.  


Day 56 – The Puzzle – How A Local TV Station Got DOMINATED By A Mom & Pop Restaurant

Local 12, the CBS TV station in Cincinnati has 746,000 followers.  Biggins Diggins a one location independent restaurant in Massachusetts has 5,200 followers.

So how did this small Mom & Pop restaurant with following 143 X smaller kick their ass on the posts below?

Well it’s actually quite simple, but let’s break down why I think this happened with my top 5 reasons…

1st – TV is DEAD!  Channel 12 may be a big bad media company backed with big bucks, but their time is past them.  

2nd – Channel 12 and other new channels are not the primary news source online for consumers.  They get some attention, but much.  While big media companies were busy ignoring the internet in the 2000’s, consumers and online media outlets became the leader in supplying news.

3rd – The story they posted is about a cable show.  First I’ve gotta say, I love Guy Fieri, the show and what he’s done for the restaurant industry, but CABLE was dead 5 years ago.  Triple D is a badass show, but it’s on a medium that people simply don’t watch anymore and with each day that passes they become more and more irrelevant.

4th – Consumers now have direct access to the news source.  Like I mentioned in point #2 above, WE have become today’s news outlet.  You and I, our business pages and online companies like America’s Best Restaurants.  We have more of an influence over people that TV and Cable TV.

5th – The source.  People LOVE other people and they want to see you win.  The video by Biggins Diggins shows 2 people that are a part of that community and they will get behind that more than they will posts like Channel 12 made.


Now let’s examine one big factor that many restaurants don’t seem to take into account.

It’s 2024, what you have in your MIND of what a “TV” station is, IS NO MORE!

TV and Cable are dead, and this thing called Social Media is the new TV station. 

Let me give you an example.  There’s a friend of mine that is for some reason fixated with being featured on Triple D.  He’s always talking about it in videos and making posts about getting people to tag Guy so he can get on the show. The funny thing is, his videos about Guy will get more local views that being on DDD 🙂

Is DDD a badass show, yes.  

Is Guy THE MAN, yes.

Is one of my goals to get Guy as a spokesperson for the ABR Roadshow and America’s Best Restaurants, YES!

But, that doesn’t take away from the facts.  


Now will being on DDD hurt this restaurant, of course not, there will be a lot of benefits, but NO WHERE close to what he thinks.

Show’s like DDD are easy, really easy to beat at a local level with viewers that are LOCAL!  A show like DDD might have big nationwide #’s, but when you break it down it’s literally a few hundred around your restaurant. 

Now take a video like the one below from Biggins Diggins, that sits with 13,000 plays in less than 24 hours.  Videos like that get 75-85% local views, meaning the reach of this 1 live Facebook video on the restaurants Facebook page will reach 10x+ more than if the appeared on a national televised TV show.  

And the video doesn’t go away, in fact it can and will get better.  

A TV episode only gets seen when it airs, which might be 1-2 times per year.  A video on your restaurants Facebook page doesn’t go away.  It has what we call in the marketing world “evergreen” opportunity.  A video like this on Facebook will gain viewers over a few weeks, Instagram over a few months and YouTube over years.  Plus, you can and SHOULD put a small advertising budget behind it and make it stick around longer. 

And if I didn’t make a big enough point there, let me give you my experience.  

On March 5th 2023 at 9pm I was a guest on one of my favorite all time shows on the History Channel, The Food That Built America.  I was featured in the show 21 times I believe and got a TON of camera time. I was IMPOSSIBLE to miss.  It was a blast and an honor.  They replay the prior weeks episodes every Sunday, so for 6 months on Sundays my episode aired with all the others. 

This was a big honor to be invovled in a show like this.  I was in the company of rockstars like Adam Richmond, who wouldn’t be proud.  

But I quietly wondered if it would do anything or our business.  My team and I were curious how much this national exposure benefit for our company.

It’s been 15 months since the show aired and it’s aired no less than 50 times on the History Channel and it’s done NOTHING for us 🙁

I’m being dead serious when I say nothing.  I’ve had aprox 20 people text or tag me on Social Medai regarding the show.  I get an occasional text with a picture of me on the TV and a friend saying “I know Matt Plapp”.  

And all of this makes complete sense, the show airs on Cable TV and NOBODY WATCHES CABLE TV!

Now let’s take the fight ONLINE vs on TV, since we’ve already established we no longer watch TV.

As you can see above, this HUGE well funded media company can’t beat out the local restaurants video :). Heck, even on their video in the bottom middle with is a PAID feature, they only have 1,600 video views 🙂

They have a Facebook audience that’s 143X larger and a TV presence EVERY DAY hyping their socials.  Yet a local restaurant with an audience a fraction of their size is DOMINATING THEM!

My friends, you have to update your thinking.  You have to think about where we are TODAY.  We are not on sofas watching tv.  When we are on a sofa it’s on a streaming service and our phones.  And the vast majority of the content we consume now is on our phone and away from the home.  

I’ll leave you with this.  

As I mentioned in episode 622 of my podcast, you can get MASSIVE attention, when you mix in some excitement.  And in the video that sparked this conversation, linked below, they are announcing something exciting to their fans.  The owners are giving great news to the people that support them the most and more importantly THEY control the story and get all of the engagement on their platform.

If they can beat the TV and Cable stations, so can you!


Day 55 – The Puzzle – Why Does Your Restaurants Marketing Suck?

This is the “STAT” line from a Facebook post made 24 hours ago by a LEGACY awesome restaurant in Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky.

They have 23,000 fans and yet only 6 engaged.

That’s .00026% of their fan base.  

Not 1%

Not a tenth of .1%

Not a tenth of a tenth .01%

Heck not event a tenth of a tenth of a tenth .001%

Now, I don’t claim to know math but I think what I typed above is correct, and if not I think you get the point.  

Basically NO BODY engaged with this post.  

And the bigger reason for that is due to more than likely NO BODY seeing the post.

And the major faction in that, is they’ve not only lost the attention of their fan base on Facebook, but they’ve lost the algorithm. 

In Episode 622 of my podcast Restaurant Marketing Secrets I talk about this and how a local restaurant uncovered PART of the secret sauce, CLICK HERE to listen.

Now Facebook is simply one part of the equation and just because you suck at Facebook doesn’t mean you suck at marketing, BUT it’s a very telling peak into how you market.  

So back to the question, “Why does your restaurants marketing suck?”

In my opinion the answer is found in education and implementation.  

Think about it.  

Why is someone massively overweight?  They’ve not educated themselves on nutrition and exercise.  And over and above that, if they have, then they have failed to take the proper action.  

Why is someone broke, AKA has NO MONEY?  It’s the exact thing, they’ve not taken the time to either figure out why and how, or taken the steps to get UN…BROKE.

People who know and don’t take action, that’s beyond me. I simply don’t understand that, but that’s for another blog post.

So with regards to your restaurants marketing, I simply think you don’t know.  

Restaurant owners are some of the hardest working people I’ve seen in my entire life. I think the root of the problem is that many of you still think of marketing from the 1990’s as marketing.  Back then you bought commercial space from a media company.  And then they helped you design an advertisement. 

That’s not how it works today.  Todays platforms like Facebook are not advertising companies first, they are social platforms first.  Email marketing was not built for you to sell shit, it was built for you to COMMUNICATE.

I could go on and on, but the core issues is that you think every place you can put your message is a radio station or newspaper and IT”S NOT!  

Marketing in 2024 is night and day from 1994.  Back most of what you did within your “marketing plan” was paid advertising and YES that’s how you should have used those platforms.  

But in 2024 your marketing can’t always be advertising, that’s just not how the world works now. And you, as a restaurant owner have to pick up books like the one below and RETRAIN your brain.

Day 54 – The Puzzle – You Must Demand THIS From Your Restaurants Marketing Plan

Marketing isn’t just making a Facebook post every day.

It’s not just sending an email to send an email.

It’s not waking up on February 10th and saying “what are we doing for Valentine’s Day this year, how about this?”

And more importantly it’s not something you do and don’t have expectations, DEMANDS actually. 

I’m of the opinion that anything worth doing, is worth measuring and when I see the state of restaurant marketing today it’s apparent I don’t share that mindset with most restauants.

First, you must have a goal for your business.  Next you must have a marketing plan to help with that goal.  And finally you must have some DEMANDS from that marketing plan

As an example, one of those demands should be a trackable path, AKA restaurant marketing funnel, for the marketing efforts.

I went down a rabbit hole the other day of looking at what restaurants do on Facebook on VERY EASY “marketing holidays” to get attention.  But more importantly I wanted to know what their FUNNEL was. 

As I suspected, most just make a post with a weak call to action.  No tools to take advantage of engagement and no way to measure if it was effective.  In fact the only measuring stick they have is seeing it got NO engagement.  

AND GOD FORBID they have a funnel that leads to trackable sales.

THEN I looked at another marketing campaign that was planned, executed at a high level and measured.

It was a restaurants post for “National Pet Day” on April 11th.  The post was made on April 8th, but planned well in advance.  Planning this allowed for amazing graphics to be created, a solid CTA and a traffic driving strategy to be put in place. 

Over the next week I’m going to talk about my “Restaurant Marketing Demands” and today we’ll start with my FIRST DEMAND…


Let’s talk about what you should DEMAND from a simple 1 off marketing campaign like this and what happened.

#1 – You should demand it get attention, eyeballs!

#2 – You should demand it get’s engagement!

#3 – You should demand a path where that engagement equals customers opting into your restaurants marketing program

#4 – You should demand your restaurants marketing program have trackable systems in place to know who’s in your funnel, when they visit, when they don’t visit, etc. (more on that on the next blog).

SOOOOOO, what happened with this campaign?

But first, here’s how we build our campaigns

We make an organic Facebook post, then we put a $25 ad behind it targeting one of their custom audiences.  Next we send either a text, email or messenger campaign.  In this one we used Facebook Messenger.

No onto the stats (some images below.

#1 – EYEBALLS = It had 3,753 impressions and 2,605 people reached on the post.  It was aprox a 50/50 split between organic and paid traffic.  Now keep in mind, 2,605 LOCAL CUSTOMERS is a solid solid number.  Too many times we think posts need a HUGE audience, but I think you’d all welcome 2,605 customers walking through your doors soon :). The Messenger broadcast (pictured below) had a 76% open rate and reached 2,034 people.  We don’t have anyway to cross reference the audience from each, so I can’t even guess what the duplication would be.

#2 – FINGERS…AKA clicks, comments, shares AKA ENGAGEMENTS = 521 Facebook post engagements including 218 comments and 226 clicks.  The messenger broadcast had a 7% click through rate, which is HUGE.  Emails commonly get under a 1% click through rate.  This one had 191 clicks!!!

#3 – DATA = Aprox 53 people joined their restaurants customer marketing program through these engagements.  Now a single social media campaign takes some WORK to drill down to sales in our system right now.  WHY?  Because many of these campaigns are bulked together since they are all part of a bigger picture.  We are working on a better tracking solution for our new platform, so stay tuned.  BUT as I’m typing this I did a little leg work to simply grab a little data for you, plus it’s LATE at night and I’m tired.  In the week around the promo aprox 15 NEW customers walked into restaurant as a result of this post and spent around $525.  



A simple 1-off campaign reached a few thousand people, got around 800 people to engage and drove 15 BRAND NEW customers in to spend $525.  

HMMMMM, what if they did that EVERY WEEK?

But more importantly, what if they are like many of you and don’t have a plan set up to KNOW that happened, then they’d never know if they should do these more often.