So a cafe just opened with a crazy 2-for1 offer, or a new bar has drinks on sale that obviously lose money. Maybe the local pub is doing an aggressive ‘kids eat free’ campaign that’s affecting the family market you rely on.

Before you join them in discount suicide, check what else you offer apart from low prices. Most of your customers don’t buy only on price, although it can be influential. How can you keep them focused on the left hand side of the menu (the food & drinks)?

If you're wondering why people still buy from you, here's a big bunch of good reasons – tick all that apply…

  • Your place is convenient, with easier parking, longer hours, shorter lines and faster service… 
  • You have more menu options, and don’t stress if people ask for variations. Hint:  mix up your prices, so direct comparisons are more difficult - don't group items by price, and play around with price endings eg $8.90 instead of $9.00.
  • The restroom at your place are always spotlessly clean – most customers assume the kitchen will be the same. They also notice the clean uniforms and the way your staff use gloves…
  • You offer other services for free eg no charge for catering deliveries, free WiFi, no surcharge on credit cards etc
  • It’s easy to find information about what you offer, even after hours. Phone calls are well handled, and the website is full of relevant information.
  • Customers can deal with you online: to make a booking, find function details, download a catering order form or inquire about a job… 
  • It’s obvious you know what you’re doing – the place feels professional and organised, and the staff are knowledgeable. Most of them have been here for a while…
  • Your place is not overwhelmed with product branding eg cola, coffee, beer etc
  • The staff always have a welcoming smile and remember your name. They obviously like working there…
  • Your business is more fun, happier, more sophisticated, more lively, more peaceful (take your pick)
  • The food has extra flavour and servings are generous
  • The beer and cold drinks are properly made and served quickly
  • Your coffee is so good it’s almost a religion – quality beans, carefully ground and made with care
  • You were recommended by someone they trust (how well is word-of-mouth working?)
  • You're a local, and support local causes - people like to support local business. Maybe you’re  an independent business, and they prefer you to dealing with a large chain.
  • Or – you’re part of a large group and people like the certainty and reputation of your brand.
  • You give genuine support to a charity or non-profit group, and do it consistently - it's not just an annual PR event.
  • And finally: staff know what to say if customers ask about your prices – they explain, and don’t apologise. Give them a script they’re comfortable with – no-one likes being criticised by customers.