restaurant business plan

Should You Advertise Your Restaurant
in the Yellow Pages?

Most likely, the answer is no. Beyond a basic listing, you are not going to be getting very much traffic from a yellow pages ad. Here's what you should know:

Yellow Page advertising facts Yellow Page companies thrive because their advertisers never bother to put a pencil to their expenditures to see if they are getting their money's worth.

Advertising in the Yellow Pages is too expensive and attracts too few new patrons for the expenditure. The restaurant's Return On Investment (ROI) is usually too small to continue advertising in this media.

There are too many telephone books. Advertising in multiple books is too expensive. If advertising in one book returns a very poor ROI, advertising in three books will compound your loss three times. Neighborhood books are ineffective and are a waste of money.

If you reduce your Yellow Page ad in the main Yellow Page book to place one in a neighborhood book, they will reduce their ROI from the main book and get an even lower ROI in the neighborhood book -- a double loss.

Is your Yellow Pages ad working?

The first thing an advertiser has to consider is whether or not his or her Yellow Pages ad is working. Yellow Page representatives (salespersons) are going to say the Yellow Page ads are working. What else are they going to say? They are salespeople and their job is to sell you advertising in their book.

Don't depend on the Yellow Page representatives to design your ads for you. They are sales reps, not marketers or copywriters (a science in itself). They'll design ads to boost your ego instead of an ad your community will respond to. The bigger your ego, the bigger your ad, the more profit they will make.

Remember, Yellow Page ad representatives have one thing in mind -- selling you big, expensive ads.

Don't believe everything they say. They'll tell you the place down the street is going to run a bigger ad than yours. Then, they'll tell the place down the street that you are the one who is going to run the bigger ad. Both restaurants will take out bigger ads. Both will lose money, while the telephone company makes more money. Pretty good deal for the telephone company.

Don't expect fairness.

Never mind that you've paid for a bigger ad for 10 years, when you decide to downsize to a smaller ad, they'll reward you by putting you at the END of the smaller ones -- even though you may have been first in the bigger ads. That's the punishment you will receive for being a loyal customer all those years.

If the Yellow Pages company messes up your ad, you won't be adequately compensated for the damage you sustained. They'll tell you to get a lawyer and sue. They know it will cost you too much money to hire an attorney to sue them to be compensated for their mistakes. Then, if you don't pay for the ad that they've messed up, they'll shut your phone off. You are in a no-win situation when you have a problem with the Yellow Pages.

If you still have any doubts about the value of the yellow pages for your restaurant, just do a simple survey. Ask your patrons where they found out about you. Most will say from living or working in the area, on a recommendation from a friend, or other source. Virtually none will say in the yellow pages. So why pay to be found where no one is looking?

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