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Do you want to double your covers in the next 60 days?

These 4 Simple Steps Can Double Your Covers
23rd February 2019

How much of a difference to your business would doubling your covers over the next 60 days make?

Well we're pleased to tell you that not only is this very achievable - we'd go so far as to say is if pretty straight forward!

As with most things in life, unless you know how to do something it can seem very mysterious, if not impossible. And this is equally true for increasing the number of people frequenting your restaurant.

So what is the secret?

When I was young I remember my parents buying me a "paint by numbers" picture of a Tiger. I dutifully applied paint in the right order, and at the end I had a piece of art which looked well in advance of my tender years. This same technique can be applied to marketing your restaurant.

What it comes down to is having a proven and effective strategy that takes away all the guess work -and we'd like to show you exactly how we do this time and again. Below we will...

  • Give you an overall strategy that is at the core of what we do to produce massive, quick and lasting results for restaurants
  • Establish exactly how happy you with your current marketing set-up so we can give you some great free articles to help you move forward.

A x C x R x E = Growth... Introducing the ACRE Restaurant Marketing Matrix

What is ACRE?


In our experience there are 4 distinct stages we want our customers to go through, and each stage has a specific set of strategies we can apply. Below is the ACRE Matrix

Customer Marketing Matrix

The four stages are:

  1. Attract the prospective customer
  2. Convert them into a paying visitor
  3. Get them to come back for more (Return customer)
  4. Get them to recommend and tell their friends (Endorse)

The stages follow on from one another

ACRE Matrix Arrows

If we can manage each of the stages effectively we can very quickly build our customer base and watch our restaurant flourish.

Let's look at each stage in a bit more detail...


The first thing we want to do is ATTRACT new customers. This means getting people to either visit our website, or jump directly to step 2 and Convert (come straight to the restaurant).

According to Google's Restaurant Industry Manager, Charlotte Sutton, in 2015 the way people research restaurants is as follows:

  • 37% of people use only online sources
  • 50% used both online and offline
  • 3% just offline
  • 11% did no research at all

What this tells us is that 89% of our potential customers are researching online and offline, so we need to get the right kind of information out there to attract them into our restaurant. Here's our road-map for attracting new clients...

Attract Matrix Element

There are 8 elements to setting up the best and most efficient customer attraction system:

  • Your website - set it up to maximise customer interest and give them the information they want.
  • Mobile - ensure your website if fully mobile enabled.
  • Business Pages - claim your online business pages from the 2 major search engines and optimise them.
  • Citations - get you restaurant listed on all the main citation site and make sure that the information is 100% consistent.
  • Social Media - create accounts and pages on the main Social Media Networks. Optimise each account and start to build a following.
  • Reviews - register, claim and manage all your reviews. Make sure you follow best practice and respond to all reviews (especially negative ones).
  • Paid Online Media - create paid media campaigns on the 2 major search engines and Facebook.
  • Offline - Register with offline directories. Create print, radio (and possible local TV) advertising campaigns. Create direct mail campaigns direct mail.

We recommend following these steps in the order of the list above. Once you have, and you've got everything set up just right (and before you start paying for advertising), you need to get your Conversion strategy finalised. Here's what you need to do...

Now we are getting potential customers visiting our website we need to encourage to come and eat with us.

According to a Nielsen survey ( 90% of people searching for restaurants on their mobile phone will visit one within 24 hours. 64% of them will go within 1 hour.

So how to we make sure that our restaurant is the one they pick (other than serving the kind of cuisine they fancy eating)?

Here's how to make sure you are front of their mind...


CONVERT Matrix Element


As with Attraction, there are 8 elements to converting customers:

  • Lead capture - you need to have a way of capturing customer information
  • Call to action - people need a "reason" why they should choose you.
  • Website copy - your site should be written in a way that make people want to come and try your food.
  • Follow up - automated email and sms follow-ups will help bring in new people and avoid people forgetting about their reservations.
  • Offers - what offers can you provide to get your first time visitor?
  • Online reservations - there are free and paid options for this... and you need to offer people the ability to book online.
  • Re-targeting - use this to follow people around the internet showing them relevant offers and turn them into customers.
  • Profit Lifts - once you have the customer in your restaurant, how do you lift your profit per visitor without making the customer feel like you are trying to take their money?

There is no set order to these steps, but if we were to choose 3 to implement immediately for maximum impact it would be Re-targeting, Lead Capture and Follow-ups.

Once you've been through the Attraction and Conversion phases we now want to get our customer to Return for we can increase of Customer Lifetime Value (how much profit we make from the lifetime of our relationship with a customer).


According to Global Management consultancy company Bain & Co,it costs 6-7 more to get a new customer through your doors than it does to get repeat business.

6-7 times more...

That means you could spend what you are currently spending on new business and (in theory) get 6 times the results!

The reality is that it's not that cut and dry, and while your MUST have an effective customer return strategy, new customer acquisition is critical to your ongoing success. Here's how we encourage repeat business...

RETURN Matrix Item


You'll notice we have 4 key elements here. This is due to the fact that your other marketing efforts in the first 2 steps also bleed over in to customer returns.

  • Customer Information - no one should leave your restaurant without having first given you their name, contact details (email, phone & address) and any other usual information (such as birthdays, anniversaries, dependents, etc...)
  • Follow Up - it is critical to have a follow up system in place (and have this automated)
  • Events - we like to create "special events" only for existing customers
  • Offers - customer only offers to help bring people back again and again

For us the 2 most important things you can set up today are a way of capturing customer information that makes them WANT to give you their personal details and an automated follow up (minimum SMS and Email).

Using automated follow up, you can plug in the customer information and automatically send offers around birthdays & anniversaries. This frees you up to concentrate on running your business.


The final part of our matrix is ENDORSE - we want to turn our customers into advocates who will tell their friends and family all about us. Here's how we do it...


Endorsements, or Word of Mouth Marketing, are very powerful. According to Forbes Magazine, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.

It actually makes sense when you think about it. Have any of your friends or family recommended anything to you? Have you gone to see a movie on the strength of a recommendation? How about trying out a new bar?

If this is such a great way of getting new customers through our door, how do we go about creating a referral culture among our clientele?

Endorse Matrix Element


Similar to the Return element,  4 sections that need to be ticked off. Likewise all our previous marketing filters into this section.

  • Service - This almost goes without saying, but customers who you want to endorse you need to be very well treated and experience exceptional service
  • Referral Program - You need to create a dedicated referral program to give people a "reason why" they should recommend their friends other than the fact you are great!
  • Loyalty and Rewards - create a loyalty program so customers can get rewards. This will also give them something "physical" they can show their friends and talk about.
  • Follow Up - are we beginning to sound like a broken records?!? Follow up and ongoing communication (within the context of your loyalty / referral program) is critical. Again we like to see this automated.

So there you have it... our entire system laid out for you to replicate today.

"Hold on!" you say "This system is all very well, but how do we go about implementing this?"

Glad you asked!

At the moment we don't know each other all that well (hopefully this will change!) so below are a few options to choose from. Depending on your current knowledge level, these will direct you to some training (all free) to get you started.

Alternatively we have a free video which goes into the 4 steps in a bit more depth, and also gives you some instantly actionable steps that have had a massive impact on all the people we've worked with (and each one can be put into action in 15 minutes or less!).

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