Far too many companies spend millions of dollars marketing an inferior product and average service. But if you promote a dud, guess what? More people will know it’s a dud. Great marketing (“We’re committed to excellence!”) can kill a bad business! (“Sorry, not my section.”)

Marketing campaigns are important, of course, but they can backfire if your staff isn’t trained to provide exemplary service. And, even if your staff is trained to provide great service, if they aren’t trained to sell effectively, your marketing ROI isn’t living up to its potential.

Once your restaurant is running at the desired levels of service, you can unleash the marketing beast. Until then, it makes no sense to attract more guests into a restaurant that doesn’t sizzle. In fact, many marketing ideas — clever ones, too — have bitten the dust because the service supporting them was merely average or OK. The best sequence? Fix the product, make it outstanding, then market it. You can call on numerous marketing strategies such as TV commercials, radio advertising, remotes, coupons in the local paper, newspaper advertising — even an “Under New Management” banner. These external methods, however, aren’t nearly as important as what you do internally to get guests to come back.

Based on Now That’s Service That Sells! The Art of Managing the Sizzle, sequel to the best-selling book in foodservice history, Service That Sells! Click the book titles to read excerpts and learn more.