Here’s the deal, you send out coupons hoping to induce trial (get new restaurant customers) and what really happens is, you get coupon shoppers who only come when you have a restaurant coupon. And all you did was discount your already low-priced restaurant food and you didn’t get the new, $2,000.00 per year customer you were hoping for. Here are some steps you can take to attract the right kind of loyal restaurant customers and get them engaged in your restaurant business over the long haul and create raving fans rather than zombies looking for a discount.
Here are some restaurant promotions you can use to start marketing your restaurant business to a better, more loyal consumer.
Before you do any promotions, define the perfect customer for your business. Start with these general profiles and go from there:
A. Age Range
B. Income Level
D. Family Size
E. Home Ownership
F. Education Levels
G. Employment Status
H. Location From Business
I. Type Of Car
J. Favorite Charities
K. Religious Background
M. Political Affiliation
Once you have all that figured out, start to develop a personality you would like to see in your restaurant. The best way to do this is to think about the kind of famous personality might fit your outline. Here are a couple of examples:
If you’re after an average age of 55+ with a solid five figure income of retired people and those who are about to retire who has their own home, has a high school diploma, lives about 5 miles from the restaurant, drives a Cadillac or Buick, gives to the Veterans Association, is an avid golfer, goes to the Baptist church in your neighborhood and has never voted for a democrat, you might look at a middle aged Clint Eastwood and Susan Lucci.
Or if you’re perfect customer is a young, hipster with a diverse background, no kid’s never married, doesn’t want to own a home because it will tie them down, is self employed, is walking distance from your restaurant, loves art and music, then maybe you’re talking to Russell Brand and Krista Stewart.
You get the idea, right? And once you have that personality figured out, speak to them like there were your real, live restaurant customers.
Once you’re talking to the right person, here are 7 restaurant promotions you can use that will help bring in the right restaurant patrons and get them to love your restaurant brand at the same time.
1 - Special Charity Event
This only works if you have a room you can section off, so pick a couple of charities, and then bring in either local celebrities or representatives from various charities and set up a banquette or dinner party with them by reservation with a limited group. So if you have enough room for 50-60 people, only invite that many people at say $50.00 per seat, most of which goes to the charities. Then put together a 5-course meal with special wine pairings and table cards explaining the foods and wine, and get to know the guests at the event.
2 - Ambassadors Club
Start by making a few Ambassador cards that offer the holder a free meal once per month to bring in someone they know who has never eaten at your restaurant. They get the card, they know a lot of people, they get to bring them to the restaurant and have a special meal on the house. But they can only be an ambassador for 1 to 2 years, then they have to appoint someone else that they think can introduce you to new people.
3-Pay What You Want Night
This one is a little tricky, and it depends completely on the good will of your guests. But one night a month, and without telling anyone you’re doing it, you have your servers tell the guests they can “pay what ever they want” on that given night (and try not to get too upset when some of them decide not to pay anything). When they ask why, have your servers tell them that they don’t know, but once per month, at random the boss does this. That’s it. Just wait for a few months and notice the swell of guests in your restaurant (especially on off nights).
4 – Art Night
Find a local artist and have an opening for them. Put their work on your walls, send out flyers and post the opening on your Facebook Page. Then offer FREE appetizers on the night of the opening and have a party with the artist in residence. If it goes well, perhaps you can start an Art Walk in your local community, where once per month local businesses each feature a different artist and have patrons “walk” from shop to shop.
5 – Take A Trip With Us!
Create a monthly event that is by reservation only that involves great food items from various regions of the country that best represents your cuisine. So for an Italian Restaurant, select areas and concentrate the cuisine on those areas over time. Introduce this with ads in the local paper as well as on Facebook and through emails. Each comes with a special menu, special wines and is limited to 50 – 60 people and is charged as a prefix price.
6 – Future Use Coupons
Each guest who dines in with you gets a coupon that is good for their next visit based on how much they spend; at the end of each meal, your manager gives an amount off the follow up meal of equal or greater value. So if someone comes in and their bill is $50.00, the manager gives them a coupon for their next visit with 7.50 off if they spend $50.00 or more.
7 – Piccolo Night
On busy nights, have your host or hostess walk around with a tray of free samples. Have the all ready busy kitchen make up various dishes and then cut them into small portions and skewer them with tooth picks. While guests wait for their table, offer them samples.