Opening the Doors to Live Music

People are drawn to music. So you’d think more restaurants would offer live music. Is it some kind of marketing oversight or just not worthwhile?

There’s some truth in both. But with some forethought and the right conditions, it can be an effective marketing strategy, bringing in more business, expanding your clientele and communicating your brand.

So which restaurants? Restaurants generally that will receive the most benefits have some slow nights, some unused space, and a need for new customers. Although it should in no way discourage other restaurants, these restaurants will see the most return on their investment. A lot depends on the restaurant, especially what clientele it has and what type of customer it hopes to attract. Therefore, when choosing an act, it’s important to find the middle ground between your current customers and potential customers. Don’t alienate one to please another.

It all matters how it’s carried out. The trick is ensuring that all the conditions are right.  In the beginning, that means a certain amount of preparation, and promotion is involved.

The preparation begins with choosing the right music. It may seem simple. But the music is important. Here are some questions that need to be thought about: Does it appeal to your customers, do the musician/s have a following already, does it fit in your setting?

The soundest approach is letting the customers choose the musicians. With either Facebook or YouTube, you can poll your customers about which music or specific act they like. Even better, you may send out an ad, through Craigslist, and ask for musicians to submit a video.  Then, through Facebook, encourage customers to vote on which is their favorite. Not only does it give you a good idea of what they like, but those who chose the winning band/act are already halfway to checking them out at your restaurant. Along with that, as a general rule, go local. A small act’s following is normally nearby, so give preference to bands/acts in your area because it will attract those already familiar with their music. Lastly, the band/act needs to match your brand. To make it as pleasant as possible, your restaurant should communicate the band about the noise level, so that to not interrupt conversation. Be very clear on what you want so the band does the best job possible.

Still, this brings up a larger matter. A restaurant should collaborate with the band in regards to marketing. Bands have websites and Facebook pages that can be great places to advertise your restaurant. Put links up so these fans can go directly to your website. Also, encourage the act/band to send out an email to their fans including information about your restaurant and the band’s performances there.

Don’t forget your own responsibility to get the word out. Along with signage, it is wise to put up the schedules and banners on your website/Facebook page to let everyone know. Couple the addition of live music with a promotion that brings customers in. This will help because if the customers become attached to the band/act, there is a good chance they will become regular patrons of your restaurant.

So before you dismiss live music, take a moment and see if there is potential business out there that only needs a little preparation and thought. Besides, live music has a way of drawing crowds that were once beyond your reach.