Larry, B2B Consultant
I was so happy when a Tim Hortons coffee and donut shop opened on the US side of the Canadian border. Whenever I visited family in International Falls, Minnesota, I made a point to bring my passport so I could cross the border to Fort Frances, Ontario where I was able to enjoy a thriving store with unique donut options and excellent coffee. Keep in mind, to cross the border at that point requires a fee as you first have to cross a toll bridge to get to the actual border crossing. So those donuts had to be good!
Why did Tim Hortons fail to be profitable in the US?
My opinion is that they carried the name across the border without carrying the level of service that I found at the Canadian branch. At one location my wife and I were the only customers in the store and we were outnumbered by Tim Hortons employees. However, there was not one table cleaned and ready for new customers. At another store, they did not even carry my favorite Oreo cookie donut, which I think is a trademark of the franchise. I recently visited another franchise only to learn that many of their choices were not available. This is when it became obvious to me that the franchise could not continue.
Typically, I would rather eat at locally owned and operated businesses, rather than a franchise. Of course there are good reasons to eat at franchises as you know what to expect as far as menu choices and a certain level of service.
Locally owned non-franchise places depend on building a reputation of their own, spread by word of mouth or social media.
Local businesses must learn from the errors of places like Hortons to stay profitable.
stay in business.
If you enjoy trying out the locally owned places as I do, remember to post a Yelp review for that business. More people are using reviews as a deciding factor when choosing where to dine or buy products. Locally owned businesses can find creative ways to encourage customers to post their experience on social media or post a review on Yelp or Google. Engaging a team of professionals to assist in this effort is worth directing some advertising dollars to, in order to get the benefit of obtaining reviews and knowing how to boost them to get maximum results.
While some web design companies offer this service, not all of them do and not all that do are experienced in this realm. Make some inquiries before committing to making the investment. In the event the business has had some negative reviews, a good web company can work with the business to address those concerns and turn some negative comments into positive change.
Why your favorite restaurants are not using Postmates and other delivery services.
Several of our restaurant clients have had terrible experiences with various food delivery services. Here's an inside look at the reason some of your favorite restaurants are not participating in UBEReats, GrubHub, Postmates, etc., as well as some solutions YOU can use as a consumer.
Dear Delivery Service,
There is a lot more involved in proper delivery of our menu items.
1) The fleet needs to be prepared to immediately exit the premises and drive directly to the diner's location. We have experienced drivers from various services getting comfortable at the bar, and delaying their deliveries.
2) Based on the Yelp reviews we have received from diners who received their meals from delivery services like Postmates, other events are happening between our restaurant and the food's destination. I'm not sure what events this could entail, but it is not conducive to our customers' expectations.
3) The other problem is tipping. Our hard-working staff has no incentive to service delivered meals, and in fact, is often penalized for it. The IRS withholds based on the total sales, not on the total tips. So, a delivered sale will be taxed as if the server is receiving a full tip, but in reality, the tips are often small--as consumers don't understand the extra work involved in packing a to-go meal, and it's being split with the driver.
How Postmates can help:
Our hope is that Postmates will take this feedback seriously and enact immediate changes.
If your system changes, please let us know! We would be happy to reconsider participating in your platform.
Should I advertise on Yelp?
Q. I'm getting a lot of phone calls from Yelp, telling me that I'm missing out on business. What should I do?
A. My number one rule in sales is: if the company requires a team of cold callers, their product deserves skepticism and hesitation. It might be the best product in the world, it might be so good that everyone who finds out about it just wants to hog the filthy little secret to themselves.
Or -- it's just not worth talking about.
Either way, when you get a call from Yelp or any other cold caller, take a step back and get some expert input from someone who has dealt with the caller before.
Expert Input about Yelp Ads:
1) Do you have a Yelp page? Have you claimed it? Let's start there. That's free and takes about 15 minutes of your time. Go to Yelp.com, find your business, and hit UNCLAIMED. Follow the steps to set up your business Yelp account (different from your personal Yelp account).
2) Have you ever gotten a Yelp review before? Hrmm. Depending on your industry, Yelp may not be an integral part of your business. If you haven't gotten a review before, it may not even be integral to your own success. But of course, it might be crucial for your business' next phase of development!
3) Before advertising on Yelp, it's a good idea to drum up some 5-star reviews. But how!? We recommend and sell a software that helps you better communicate with your existing customers so they know how to leave a review, and so they won't forget! If you can't track down any 5-star reviews, you may want to rethink advertising on Yelp. Why? People who shop on Yelp also leave reviews. If the Yelp-iverse isn't jiving with your services--be cautious! Might need to change how things are operating before bringing on the critical masses!
4) Once you have a handful of positive reviews, and you've gotten comfortable with Yelpers, now you can consider advertising with Yelp. Ask the Yelp representative a lot of questions about cost per lead and overall traffic, and what is the competition doing. If you sell $5 drinks, and the lead cost is $10--this is not a good idea. If you sell $200 services, and the lead cost is $14--this could make sense!!
- Start with the smallest plan available to test the waters. Ask for a discount, and ask them to start the ads before the billing cycle begins.
- Make sure your Yelp page is set up properly with nice photos.
- Download the Yelp app to your phone so you can respond to questions right away.
- Set up an enticing offer so you get noticed!
- Evaluate each month to make sure you're getting your money's worth!
Contact us if you need help talking to Yelp. We can generally get a more honest answer because we represent hundreds of customers. Yelp would rather tell an agency the truth, in the hopes of getting 50 new customers, than stretch the truth in the hopes of just getting your business! Let us know if we can help