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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why restaurant software guys published a book about successful restaurant owners



About a year ago, Wes and I started batting around an idea for a restaurant concept, and we decided we'd try to open a restaurant together one day in ten years or so. Right now we're 100% focused on Schedulefly, but we figured ten years from now we may be at a point where we can give it a try. Who knows if we will? Lots could happen between now and then, but either way it's fun to think about it.

One day we were discussing the topic when one of us said, "You know, it'd be cool to do that, but most restaurants fail, and neither of of us has experience owning one. Why don't we go start finding out what it takes to succeed by asking our customers?" Then we realized that any tips and advice we learned would be good material for our blog, and it suddenly made sense to allocate time to have some conversations with a few successful owners. After all, our blog readers are mostly restaurant owners, aspiring owners, or people in the restaurant business, and all of them would appreciate meaningful wisdom shared by their industry peers.

As I began interviewing a few owners and asking very high-level, open-ended questions (i.e., "Why do most restaurants fail?", "Why have you been successful?"), it was clear their responses were full of value. Each of them said at least 2-3 things during their interviews that stopped me in my tracks and made me think, "Wow! That's incredibly insightful!"

As we began blogging the content, it didn't take long for us to decide we needed to do something more with it. It was simply too good for us not to do something bigger. Restaurant people that don't follow our blog (which is millions of people) needed to see it. We started batting around the idea of putting the content into a book.

We figured a book would not only be extremely interesting and educational for us, but it could end up being our biggest marketing tool and help us accelerate Schedulefly's growth. Once that realization hit us, the decision was easy! Restaurant Owners Uncorked was born.

We don't like to spend lots of money (traditional advertising and marketing almost have to be very expensive to have any effect), especially when we can come up with inexpensive, creative solutions that will also ultimately make a significant impact. And we believe this book will do three key things to help our business that traditional advertising and marketing can't do:

1. Help the people in the industry we serve. We want to help existing owners and aspiring owners increase their chances at success. They are all Schedulefly's customers and potential future customers, and if our customers aren't successful, or if restaurants keep failing at extremely high rates, that's not good for our business! Why not find a way to help foster success?

2. Inexpensively build brand awareness for our company. It costs next-to-nothing to conduct interviews over the phone, transcribe them, self-publish the book and tell our customers about it to build sales momentum. We're also working to get the book into the hands of restaurant media (on our own, without a pr firm - more on this topic in a future post), in order to generate pr and buzz, and we're sending copies to heads of culinary schools. We believe this is a far more effective (and much less expensive) brand-building strategy than sticking banner ads on web sites and blasting out thousands of emails. While the book isn't about Schedulefly, several owners unsolicitedly mentioned in their interviews how Schedulefly helps their restaurant(s), and we leveraged the back of the book to introduce our company to the reader.



3. Create an additional revenue stream for our company. Schedulefly will build a perpetual revenue stream with this book, to help offset the time I spent and the (minimal) costs of creating the book.

So there you have it. That's the story behind Restaurant Owners Uncorked. If you want to read the stories of these twenty awesome restaurant owners, and learn what strategies and philosophies have helped them succeed, then grab a copy on Amazon, and enjoy your read!

Wil

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