What Fight Club Teaches Restaurateurs About Effective Marketing

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Fight Club

The only bistro chairs in the film Fight Club are those the corporate elite sit in right before Tyler Durden scares them into submission.  This doesn’t mean, however, that restaurateurs can’t take a few lessons from the movie.  While fighting in the basement of a bar likely won’t be good for business, there are a few distinct marketing tips restaurant owners can garner from the film.

Always Listen
When Edward Norton’s character speaks to Marla Singer about why he attends group meetings, he tells her that, when people think you’re dying, they actually listen instead of just waiting for their turn to speak.  This may be one of the most poignant messages in the film, and it reminds restaurateurs that they must listen to patrons.  

Restaurants can’t simply exist and hope to succeed.  If guests are leaving reviews about what they didn’t enjoy, it’s imperative to really consider these grievances and work to correct them.  Of course, listening means nothing in marketing if others don’t know about it.  With this in mind, make sure to publicly respond to all negative online reviews with an offer to make things right.

It’s Not All About Money

In a small cutaway scene, Tyler Durden gives a monologue which includes "You are not the contents of your wallet." This is very true when trying to fill up the tables for restaurants.  Getting patrons into the bistro chairs doesn’t require spending huge amounts of money on marketing.

With effective content marketing, video marketing done in-house, the use of viral graphics and a bit of local SEO, restaurateurs can easily make their brand more appealing and easier to find online.  None of these tactics are particularly expensive, and with automation tools and online content creators, even the smallest eatery can go up against the "big boys" in the industry.

Aim for More Than Single-Serving Friends
In Fight Club, single-serving friends are individuals that grace a person’s life but for a moment and then never cross paths again.  When Edward Norton’s character took Tyler Durden out of the "single-serving" category, that’s when things really started to happen.

The lesson here is that restaurateurs must always aim to keep patrons coming back.  This could include offering discounts for email list sign-ups, giving out coupons for those who complete guest surveys and even offering a customer loyalty program.  Having cafe tables and chairs filled with repeat patrons is a necessity.

"DO NOT Talk About Fight Club"

Even the casual fan of the Chuck Palahniuk film remembers the first two rules:  You do not talk about Fight Club, and you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!  Restaurants who engage in content marketing – which should be every restaurant – must remember this rule.

When creating content marketing, the main goal is to get people into the restaurant booths.  It’s imperative, though, that this isn’t overtly obvious.  Content is supposed to provide value to the customer.  So instead of writing a blog about how great the eatery is, why not write a blog titled "How to Make the Perfect Daiquiri" and drop a few subtle hints about the restaurant?  

Fight Club changed the way a generation viewed the world, but lessons about life aren’t the only takeaways from the film.  By paying attention to the lessons in the movie and understanding how they can apply to marketing, a restaurant can take its marketing endeavors to entirely new levels and fill up the bistro chairs in no time.