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Tell people what you do

Jul 04, 2006 | Blog

A new Asian fusion restaurant opened last week at the end of my road and it is a welcome addition to the range of food outlets within a ten-minute walk of my house.

I would totally understand if you are wondering what that has to do with "events venues": All I can say is that the opening of this place was highly emblematic of the way we seem to go about doing things in the UK "hospitality": industry that I thought I should tell you about it. See if it rings any bells.

For the last three months a team of people has been busy gutting the place and transforming it into what is actually a very attractive new restaurant. The décor is modern, light, airy and comfortable with small tables for intimate couples and large circular ones for bigger groups. The new management seems to have thought of everything.

On opening night I secured a table by the window across the road in the local pub. I got myself a pint and watched the new restaurant. And watched. And watched.

Meanwhile, across the road, the staff wandered around the empty restaurant and looked at the window. And looked. And looked.

By seven o’clock there was still no one in there. At half past someone went in for a takeaway. When I went over at half past eight there were only two people eating. By the time I left another table of four had arrived.

Now, I can’t claim to know too much about the "restaurant": business so I can’t say whether this was a successful opening night or not. My hunch is that is was a bit of a disaster. The management had done everything they possibly could to make everything good except the crucial one of actually telling people that it was now there.

There have been no menus through the door, no adverts in the local press, no posters up, nothing.

This seems a bit pointless. Why didn’t they ask the landlord of the pub to dish out leaflets to customers in exchange for a couple of freebies? Why didn’t they contact the local chamber of commerce and invite members to a grand opening night buffet? Why didn’t they do a leaflet drop in the area?

There we are, three ideas and I’m not even a PR consultant. It surely can’t be that difficult.

Unfortunately, this mirrors certain venues in the "events": industry. They get all excited about what they have to offer but then singularly fail to get a message across.

I’m the last person to advocate spending too much on advertising but the fact remains that sometimes you gotta do it.

Otherwise, how will your customers ever hear about you?

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