He continues: “Smaller mom-and-pop operators tend to be at their restaurants for much of the day, so it helps to develop relationships with these prospects.” If you’re selling to a more franchise- or chain-oriented restaurant, then understand that many spending decisions are dictated by the corporate headquarters, or at least by a regional or district executive.
Since this market puts in long hours, it can be hard to get your message in front of them. For this reason, a multichannel approach is recommended. “One telemarketing call, one e-mail or one direct mail piece can fall by the wayside,” says LoGuidice. Of the marketers Jackson sees developing multichannel campaigns, she points out that most pair e-mail with telemarketing or direct mail follow-ups. And she reports that those marketers using e-mail are getting good clickthrough rates.
Spielmann emphasizes that the focus of these small business owners’ livelihoods also tends to be their life’s passion. While most postal addresses on the files she manages tend to be their office location, there are chef- and food-oriented lists on the market that feature more home addresses for restaurateurs. In the case of Art Culinaire, a high-end magazine for chefs that is hardbound and costs $59 for four issues, subscribers receive the publication at home rather than risk ruining the issues with stock or sauces in the kitchen—or even the chance that another member of the waitstaff will purloin their copy, she explains.
A final piece of advice for reaching this market: “Don’t try to do business—especially phone calls or in-person sales visits—during peak meal times,” says Riehle. These professionals have to squeeze in their business management activities when the restaurant is quiet, such as the early morning or late night hours, making direct mail, e-mail, Web sites and space ads in magazines good tools for helping restaurateurs make the most of their “down time.”