With over $783 billion in annual sales in 2016, the restaurant industry might seem like a no-brainer as an accounting firm’s industry vertical. However, without the ability to speak the language they need to hear, you might be missing out and be asked to leave before the entrée is served.
Some of the major pain points for restaurant owners are inventory management, PCI compliance, and mainstream technology implementation.
Before approaching the owner, understand what they sell, e.g., have you eaten there? It’s also important to know who their target market is, plus some statistics about growth in their demographic and geographic areas.
Once you are armed with that information, begin by seeking them out and sharing their content on social media. Follow them where they live on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and maybe Snap. Also, consider how you can get engaged in the conversation as a person versus a brand. Your online credibility can go a long way when it comes to face-to-face contact.
Michelle is a junior partner at your CPA firm. She approaches the senior partners with an idea to expand the firm’s reach into the restaurant industry because it offers services and solutions she knows they can use. She’s a “foodie” at heart and already pins, posts, and shares food-related content to her followers on her personal profiles.
She creates a new profile, with the firm and her role in the “about” section, in a variety of social media channels, like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. On her profile, she posts accounting quotes she knows food industry professionals will like, such as “CPA … will work for cupcakes,” “Accountant Powered by Coffee,” and “Food trucks are to auditors what ice cream trucks are to children.” (Andrew Harrison) She includes restaurant-related hashtags to draw in her audience, e.g., #Foodie, #Yummy, and #NomNom. She works with the marketing team to create and post videos on how the firm can help restaurant owners to grow their bottom line and increase efficiencies. Finally, she invites local restaurateurs to an event, where she’ll provide interesting food choices, cast an industry-minded key note speaker, and address some of their pain points your firm can solve.
While all of this is taking place, Michelle also grows the effort with junior staff to help increase online engagement. She brainstorms a contest idea for an outing that features a local restaurant. Additionally, she requests a small, monthly budget for social media boosted posts and search engine marketing to increase online exposure, geographically, for the firm.
Keep These Tips in Mind
What it boils down to is keeping the restaurant owner engaged. Here are some tips you can use throughout the process:
- Get to the point quickly in face-to-face meetings.
- Help them to visualize how your service will increase their business.
- Demonstrate competency in their area of expertise.
- Provide clarity, for example, rather than saying “I prepare tax returns.” Say something like, “I save clients an average of 13% annually on taxes by seeking out every legal opportunity to pay less.”
- Show you care about them and their success by demonstrating how your team supports what they are doing and how they are part of the restaurant owner’s visionary team.
If you already have a restaurant industry vertical or are looking to create one in your firm, these marketing tips should help get you a seat at the chef’s table.
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