A comprehensive guide to marketing by a 25-year restaurant-business veteran.
Iskenderian, the co-owner and marketing director for the California-based Mediterranean restaurant chain Zankou Chicken, debuts with a manual specifically designed for fellow restaurant owners. The author points out that there are more than a million restaurants in the United States and asserts that 40 to 60 percent will fail within three years of opening. This handy guidebook, though, might help improve these odds, as it’s a nicely honed combination of case study, general marketing advice, and interviews with industry professionals. Iskenderian begins with an engaging overview of Zankou Chicken, a family business that got its start more than 50 years ago in Lebanon. The story of the transition of the business to southern California after 20 years and its growth to eight locations in the state is an engaging tale in and of itself, but it’s the family’s awareness of its brand attributes and how to apply them to an American audience that stands out: “The most important ingredient to get right in order to have a successful restaurant,” writes Iskenderian, “is exceptional food quality.” The book’s second part offers a menu of business and marketing strategies, techniques, and tips geared toward the small restaurant owner. It encompasses such key topics as business plans, branding, websites, restaurant reviews, customer relationships, and advertising. The third section delves further into restaurant management and marketing, with chapters covering everything from employee morale to menu creation to negotiating leases. Throughout the book, Iskenderian includes relevant lists, such as “The 8 Traits of a Strong Brand,” “52 Ways to Increase Restaurant Sales,” and “10 Ways to Throw a Great Grand Opening.” The last section is comprised of interviews, conducted by the author, with other professionals, such as John Healy, general manager of the restaurant Morgan’s in the Desert in Palm Springs, California; it’s an informative potpourri that ranges across various topics. Iskenderian’s writing is always cogent and informative, and he shares insights that only an experienced restaurant owner could have.
An authoritative work that should be immensely useful to new and experienced restaurateurs.