Marketing Tips, online reviews, Restaurant Stories, Social Media, technology

Oh, The Horror of a 1-Star Review!

A friend stops by to see you at the restaurant before you open for the night, and gives you that concerned look, causing you to immediately ask “What’s wrong?”

She quickly asks if you’ve seen the outrageous review that was left about you on Yelp giving your restaurant only 1-star.

You scramble to your computer to check out what is being said about you online (despite it being 5 minutes until you open your doors) and gasp at the nonsense displayed before you, as you read this horrendously inaccurate review you knew nothing about. You want to reply to these comments, and explain yourself, but you have no time, and your staff is ready for their pre-shift meeting so you’re stuck… and fuming… and now it’s time for dinner service. 

All too often we hear stories similar to this one, and in nearly every instance, the business owner revealed that they wished they had known about the review sooner so they could handle responding to it. 

It can be troubling to know that anyone can say anything about your business at any time online – and it’s completely out of your control. Luckily,  how you handle responding to these reviews and how quickly you stay on top of them, is something you can control… with the right tools of course.

Meet the Social Hub (and it’s widgets)!

The Hub is a dashboard that houses anything and everything surrounding your business digitally, all in one place.

Need to know what’s being said about you online? Oh, the Social Hub can tell you. No time to log in daily and check it out? No Problem! The Social Hub can be easily set up to send you a text alert each morning with the previous day’s activity surrounding your business, if any occurred — This way you know to log in and check it out.

So what are these helpful widgets on the Social Hub?

The Reviews Widget: Your new best friend. 

This section of the Social Hub displays a basic overview of where your reputation stands, from a star-rating standpoint, as well as how you stack up in your industry. But more importantly, it streams in every review from every review site right into your dashboard. So remembering all those logins for every review site is irrelevant – you can see it all (and respond to it all) immediately from one place. (Score!) 

The Social Media Widget: Marketing made easy!

This widget is a time-saver. Once you easily connect your Social Media accounts, you can do it all. It shows all of the activity surrounding these accounts, as well as a tracker of who is following you. With a simple click, you can post out to both Twitter and Facebook at once and schedule posts to go out in advance. Saves time you don’t really have, and provides a free way to effectively market your business.

The Email Marketing Widget: (We’re pretty pumped about this too!)

Nothing beats having the ability to send out emails to your customers and bring them back in your door. This widget collects email addresses for you (attach some code we provide to your website to easily do so), and gives you the ability to craft beautiful email campaigns and track all of the stats tied to them. Yes, it’s included for free.

The Listing Score Widget: Making sure people can find you

Without getting too in-depth, your listing score is more or less like a credit score for your business. It measures how you rank in terms of search-ability across the web. So if your score is low, it will show you where to update your business info on the web so that you appear higher in search rankings, and that your customers (or more importantly, new customers) find you easily.

Full access to the Social Hub is currently offered for free to new customers for 30 days. This allows you to test it out in its fullest, so you can see just how valuable it is! Have questions? Contact us to learn more!

Local, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Score BIG with These World Cup Promotions

Next week, people from all around the globe will tune in to watch 32 countries compete in one of the most prestigious tournaments of all time—the World Cup. During the last series of games back in 2014, an estimated 3.2 billion viewers tuned in worldwide, making it the second most popular global sporting event, only behind the Olympics. Soccer might not be America’s favorite pastime, but its popularity is certainly increasing here in the US. As of 2018, 7% of Americans named soccer as their favorite sport, while a comparable 9% named baseball as their favorite. And actually, the percentage of Americans who list baseball as their favorite sport, along with football and basketball, continues to decrease—making it likely that soccer will prevail in the near future.

With soccer on the rise, promoting the World Cup in your establishment has some BIG advantages, but it’ll take a little more than just showing the matches on your TVs. We’ve put together a list of some simple ways you can bring attention to your establishment to make a little extra money throughout the entire month-long event.

Learn the game

If you don’t know a thing about the World Cup, no worries. Before you start planning though, you should at least know the basics, like who’s playing and when. You can find a list of the official qualifying teams here and a list of the match times here. Pop culture tip: this year’s tournament will feature two of the best soccer players in the world, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi of Argentina. Both have won the FIFA Ballon d’Or 5 times each within the past decade—which means that you can expect customers to watch for this reason alone.

Consider culture

Creating a central theme for your promotions is essential and luckily, this one is a bit of a no-brainer. There are 32 countries playing, which means you have a huge variety of cuisines to feature. There are plenty of recipes you can try, and this article from the 2014 World Cup has some great ones (just be careful to ignore the recipes of those teams who are not competing this year!). If you do your research on beer around the world, your customers will also be able to travel the globe within the walls of your establishment with a “Build Your Own World Cup Bucket,” in which they can create their own assortment of international beers.

Get creative with your specials

The World Cup starts on June 14th and goes until the 15th of July, which means that you have lots of time to stretch your promotions. The chances are slim that your customers will spend the whole tournament with just you, but if you make your promotions stand out, you’ll have a much better chance of keeping them away from competitors. Take a look at the ideas below:

  • Offer 50% off drinks to customers who wear jerseys, and offer free drinks to those wearing the jersey of a team that scores.
  • Get crafty and assemble passports for your customers (they don’t have to be fancy, a folded sheet of paper meant to fit inside a wallet is perfect). Everytime they watch a game with you, they’ll get a stamp for each country playing. Once X amount of stamps is reached, offer the prize of your choice for customers to come back and enjoy during the finals.
  • Create a social media contest using hashtags: have your customers post something while in your establishment along with the hashtag ‘#[business name]WorldCup’, and randomly select one of the posts to win a free round of drinks during another upcoming game.
  • Russia hosts the World Cup this year, so consider running a promotion for Russian Vodka throughout the tournament; 7 shots for $10, 2 for the price of 1, whatever you see fit depending on your establishment.
  • Keeping your customers engaged is key, so think of specials you can run that depend on the game, like unlimited beer while team X is winning, or an open bar for the rest of the night if team Z wins.

Plan accordingly

Since this is a global event, not all the games will take place at your typical game times. If possible, use this as an opportunity to start a weekend or weekday brunch, or a breakfast buffet while you have the game playing. Don’t forget to also highlight your takeout and delivery options, as a lot of people will host their own viewing parties or have friends over during the week to watch together.

Know your demographic

Depending on your location, you might want to consider extra staffing/delivery drivers during the World Cup. For example, if you’re in an area where soccer is extremely popular, hiring a few extra people would be wise. If you’re understaffed for a packed house during the first game, chances are slim that people will return to watch the rest of the games with you.

Be sure to also consider who in your community will be joining you. Since soccer is an international sport, it’s possible that you’ll have some patrons who don’t speak English. Utilize any employees you have who may be bilingual, or consider hiring new employees that can speak multiple languages.

Although this is an incredibly exciting event for most, there’s are chance you might have some guests who are more interested in their usual baseball games, or the US Open, which also starts on June 14th. Use your judgment and choose whether or not you want to show the World Cup on all of your TVs, or just some of them.

Social media is necessary

Like any other promotion, one of the best ways to spread the word is using social media. You can create an eye-catching graphic in minutes with a number of free resources, like Canva or Typorama. If you do create your own graphics, just beware of the rules and regulations implemented by FIFA; it’s worth noting that none of your signage, decorations, marketing materials, ads, social media promotions or online content can include the official World Cup logo, mascot, trophy, poster, or slogan. You also cannot post a match schedule with your own logo. Read the official document here.

Don’t forget about email marketing also, to reach those who don’t check social media every day. Sending your loyal customers an email with everything you have planned is a great way to make sure they’re in the know, and will mark their calendars to join you.

With the right amount of planning and promoting, the World Cup can be fun for your guests and profitable for you—a true win-win for this summer. If you’ve got other promotional ideas, we’d love for you to share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If your business can use some help with marketing, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

For more marketing tips and ideas catered to your business, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter or follow this blog!

Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media, technology

7 HUGE Ways Your Business Can Benefit from Offering Free Wi-Fi

If you own a restaurant or small business in 2018, you know by now that technology can help you out tremendously. Sure—we did just fine without it 20 years ago, but today, outdated or a total lack of technology can put your business at risk of several problems, including slow operations and unhappy customers. In fact, 73% of diners today agree that technology enhances their guest experience. One of the most important tools aiding in that statistic? Wi-Fi. It’s no secret that free Wi-Fi has made its way into many local restaurants, but what you might not be aware of is the new set of consumer standards that has come along with it.

You might not believe it’s necessary to offer Wi-Fi in your establishment, but keep in mind that your customers might think otherwise. Read on to see how offering free Wi-Fi can not only make your customers happy, but can also benefit your business as a whole.

Already offer free Wi-Fi? Click here to see if you’re using it to your business’ full advantage.

First and foremost, it can earn you more money

According to a study conducted by Small Business Trends, 62% of small businesses saw an increase in the amount of time customers spent in their establishment once free Wi-Fi was implemented. And half of those businesses reported customers spending more money too. It’s not hard to believe that more time spent equals more money spent as well.

It can attract more customers

In most areas of the country, consumers are expecting free Wi-Fi, so why not give ‘em what they want? If you can’t deliver, it’s very possible that they’ll move on to your competitor across the street who does have Wi-Fi. Simply putting up a sidewalk sign letting people know that you have free Wi-Fi is enough to grab people’s attention. Suddenly, your business becomes an attractive spot for people to get work done or conduct casual meetings with co-workers.

It can lead to free promotion of your business

 Offering free Wi-Fi makes it possible for your customers to access the internet immediately—which means they’ll be able to post a picture of their awesome looking meal to Instagram before it’s forgotten about by the time they get home. Or, they’ll be able to share their 5-star experience with the community on Yelp or TripAdvisor right away.

It can make your guests more comfortable

In the US, our values are changing—and so are our eating habits. As we become more work-oriented and less people-oriented, more and more of us are dining alone. Although it’s slowly becoming the norm, the stigma attached to dining alone still exists. Allowing guests to use your free Wi-Fi makes it possible for those who are dining solo to feel a bit more at home by connecting with friends online via social media.

Already offering free Wi-Fi?

If your business is already offering free Wi-Fi, how is it benefitting you so far? If you’ve noticed an increase in customers and sales, you’re definitely on the right track, but there is actually a lot more that your Wi-Fi can be doing for you. Take a look at the checklist below to see if you’re truly using your Wi-Fi to your business’ advantage.

❏   Are you receiving insight into your business practices?

When paired with a CONNECT router, your router can actually provide you with information about your business that you might not already be aware of. For example, find out which days the most people are connecting to your network to see which of your daily specials are popular, and which ones can use some updating. Or, use the data to see which times of day are dead, and run a promotion to get more people in the door during that time slot (i.e. 2 for 1 drinks from 2 – 4 pm on Tuesdays).

❏   Are you growing your mailing list?

Consider using WiFi Connect, which will prompt guests to connect to your network using their social media login or their email address, and will have them agree to receive future emails from you in return. It’s one of the fastest and most effective ways to collect email addresses.

❏   Are you marketing to your guests based on tracked behaviors?

Through Wi-Fi Connect, you’re able to track who’s connecting to your Wi-Fi and how often they visit you. Encourage people to return to your establishment by running a promotion for loyal customers (i.e. a free dessert on your 5th visit/network connection). This tool is invaluable because it can help you turn ordinary guests into loyal customers.

So, are you using Wi-Fi to its greatest potential? Get in touch with us to change the way you market to your customers and to start growing your customer base. If your business runs any Wi-Fi based promotions or has any techniques for smarter marketing through Wi-Fi, we’d love to hear them! Share with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram today.

Holiday Marketing, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

7 Simple Ways to Go Above & Beyond this Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and for most restaurants, it’s the busiest day of the year next to Valentine’s Day. Last year, more than 92 million Americans celebrated in restaurants, while another 21 million ordered takeout or delivery. If you don’t have anything planned yet for your establishment, the time to get started is now. Whether you identify as casual dining, fine dining, quick service, fast casual, or a family restaurant, there are plenty of ways to get creative and attract big crowds for Mother’s Day. The question is, how will you stand out against the competition to get customers headed your way?

1. First things first, offer something special for moms.

Studies show that moms are looking to splurge on their day, and we don’t blame them. Think of dishes you can offer just for Mother’s Day that feature seafood or steak as the main attraction. If your establishment is more casual, consider offering a complimentary dessert or appetizer for mothers. If you do plan on offering anything for free, don’t forget to advertise through social media and email marketing!

2. Make it exclusive.

If you don’t normally serve brunch, make it the event that happens only this one time each year so that your customers won’t want to miss it. The same goes for lunch and dinner—the more popular preference for Mother’s Day meals. This also makes for a great opportunity to introduce a signature Mother’s Day cocktail, and this list of 20 ideas from Serious Eats is sure to leave you feeling inspired.

3. Think beyond food.

The meal is important, but keep in mind that most moms are really looking to create memories with their families on Mother’s Day. Make it an extra special day in your establishment by taking it a step further and hosting a fun event, like a cooking or art class.

4. Don’t forget the gifts!

Set your business apart from the rest by giving away flowers, chocolates, and other goodies to all mothers who visit you. Raffling off prizes is also a great way to attract more customers and promote return business—especially if you use social media to let everyone know about it! Speaking of social media, think of ways you can use it to your advantage to bring in more people. For example, try creating an eye-catching post captioned something like, “all moms who mention or show this post to their server will get a FREE appetizer!” Of course, you can replace appetizer with anything you see fit; entree, dessert, cocktail, etc. This is something that will not only make your guests happy, but is sure to get a ton of attention around your business online.

5. Make Mom proud by giving back.

No one is more thoughtful and generous than a mother, which makes Mother’s Day the perfect opportunity to partner with a charity or local organization. Advertising that you’ll be giving back to the community is a fitting way to bring in business while helping out a great cause.

6. Set the mood.

Don’t skip the decorations—ambiance is important! Create a relaxing and enjoyable environment adorned with beautiful flowers, special napkins, decorative napkins, etc. Mom is expecting the best! Live music is an excellent touch also.

7. Be prepared!

There’s a reason that we’re sharing these tips in April. You absolutely do not want to wait until the last minute to start planning. Set aside a little bit of time a few days each week to make sure that everything will be perfectly in order by May 13th. Before you get started, here are a few more tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep things simple for your chefs and servers by sticking with a prix-fixe menu
  • Be prepared to accommodate both kids and older adults
  • Make sure you’re prepared to serve people with food allergies or dietary restrictions (don’t forget to educate your servers so they can answer any questions thrown their way)
  • Encourage customers to make their reservations early (consider offering a gift card towards the following visit to those who reserve early enough in advance)
  • Use your more experienced staff and let everyone know who will be working with plenty of notice

Regardless of how your business will be celebrating Mother’s Day, using social media to get the word out and spark interest is important. If you’re not sure how to go about it or simply don’t have the timedon’t push it aside. Get in touch with us and we’ll help you get on track!

Let us know how your business is getting involved this Mother’s Day by reaching out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

For more marketing tips and ideas catered to your business, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter or follow this blog!

Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Online Listings

It’s no secret that the most popular way to find new places today is by searching online. What’s less obvious though, are the factors affecting how easily your business is found in a search. Before you spend time and money on SEO (search engine optimization), take a few minutes to read this guide and learn how your online listings play much more of an important role than you might think. In this quick guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about listings, including what they are, how they affect your business, and how you can gain more business by monitoring and managing them. Let’s get started!

What are listings?

A listing is your business’s basic information displayed for others to find. Aside from more exposure, being listed online is no different than being listed in a phone book—the ultimate goal is for consumers to be able to contact you and find your business. Depending on the source, a listing might have your:

  • business name
  • street address
  • phone number
  • website URL
  • hours of operation

Some websites and sources that might have your business listed are Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor, Yahoo, and Bing. It’s important that your information is listed correctly so that potential customers are able to easily find you.

My listings are incorrect! How?

You might’ve searched your business online before and realized that some of the information presented to you was incorrect. Well, due to the nature of some of these sources, anyone can change your information. Before blaming your competitors, it’s possible that one of your customers actually suggested an edit to help out the general public. Think about it: you’re listed on Google as being open 7 days a week, but you’re actually closed on Sundays. Your customer, who either knows you very well or was disappointed after trying to visit you on a Sunday, saw this mistake on Google and corrected it.

Why does it matter if some of my information is listed incorrectly?

The smart ones will figure it out, right?

They might, but realistically, they might not. If you’ve ever had a customer complain to you about a menu item they saw online that’s no longer available, relying on a false listing causes just as much frustration. We’ve all experienced it; calling a number you found online that’s no longer in service, getting so lost because the address in the GPS is outdated, and the list goes on. As much as 73% of consumers lose trust in a business with inaccurate listings and we don’t blame them. Making sure your listings are correct and consistent across multiple popular sites will only benefit you in the long run.

In addition to preventing angry customers, correcting your listings can also land you a higher spot in a search. A higher spot in a search means more exposure, and more exposure means… more customers! It might not make total sense to you just yet, but let us explain: search engines, like Google, rely on consistency. If your information is presented differently on Yelp than it is on Facebook than it is on Twitter, how will Google know which listing is actually correct? They won’t, and since they are so unsure, their best bet is to not display the information at all. Why? Because if people can’t rely on Google for accurate information, they’ll stop using it. So, your best bet is to correct your listings and make sure they match across all sites.

How do I go about correcting my listings?

If you haven’t already, it’s absolutely necessary that you create business accounts on the previously mentioned popular sites (Google, Yelp, Facebook, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, etc.). This way, you—the business owner—are in control of the page. It’s important that you do this so that you have the ability to respond to any reviews written about your business, answer any questions people might ask, and of course correct any misinformation. Correcting false information on these sites is a start, but remember—anyone can go in and change your basic information on most sites. And not to be the bearer of bad news, but… there are hundreds of sites out there that have you listed—sites that we both have never even heard of before.

So, correcting your listings one by one is a solution, but clearly has its flaws. We know how frustrating this can be, and that’s why we’ve come up with a better solution for you: Visibility Enhancer. Through Visibility Enhancer, your information is synced on a daily basis to 30+ of the most commonly used listing sites. We’ll also walk you through every step of the way, and show you how to monitor and manage your listings in 1 easy portal.  The best part? Visibility Enhancer also includes Menu Sync, which means that the most accurate version of your menu will be distributed to these sites as well.

It’s time to stop losing customers to your competitors and start winning them back. Get in touch with us today to speak with an expert and learn more.

For more marketing tips and ideas catered to your business, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter or follow this blog!

Marketing Tips, Nutrition, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Making a Difference in Your Community During National Nutrition Month

If you’ve ever received a review online for your business that’s said something similar to:

“Had to leave because there was nothing healthy on the menu”

“Everything was fried and loaded with sugar or grease”

“If you’re trying to eat healthy, this place isn’t for you”

We can assure you, you’re not alone.

Yes—these reviews are frustrating to receive. You might read them and think something along the less censored lines of cook your own food then if you’re trying to be healthy! But before getting too angry, let’s rewind to half a century ago, when restaurants played a different role in our lives. To most, restaurants meant once-in-a-while treats or special occasion meals. Since then, American values have changed, and today, nearly one-third of our meals are prepared away from home. Why? We’ve become more work oriented; our families now have 2 working parents instead of 1, we work longer hours, spend more time commuting back and forth, and of course, we have less time to cook.  In only the past 30 years, our dependence on restaurants has skyrocketed—and so has our obesity rate.

As a whole, more than every 1 in 3 adults are obese in the United States; a rate that has changed dramatically since 1990. Many people have since educated themselves on how to live a healthier lifestyle, but struggle when it comes to dining out. As a restaurant owner, you can make a huge difference by only making a few small changes and adjustments within your establishment.

Out with the old, in with the new

With Spring comes change, and your menu offerings are no exception. Health aside, it’s important to rotate what you offer depending on what’s in season in order to give your dishes that fresh taste, boost of flavor, and colorful appearance. Plus, advertising new menu items is a sure way to pique interest and draw in customers. Giving your entire menu a makeover can benefit you in more ways than you might think (more on this later), but if you can’t do that, think about adding inserts or creating a separate menu for lighter options. If for some reason you can’t get these new items in print, it’s essential to get the word out via social media and email marketing.

Make it exciting and keep your guests interested by offering a new special every day or week, and getting a contest going. Whichever special gets the most customer votes can be added to your main menu for them to enjoy regularly. If you’re the creative type, giving your specials health/fitness pun related names can really create a buzz around your business too. I had the ‘Oh My Quad’ turkey burger and it was only 200 calories! Just as amazing as the ‘Keep Kale-ing It’ salad.

Let’s talk food

As great as it would be to replace all of your unhealthy menu items with more nutritious options, we know that’s just unrealistic. There are, however, small steps you can take to encourage healthier choices among your guests. For example, ditch the salt and use herbs and spices to season your meat and sides; you’ll get just as much flavor with half the sodium. The same goes for sugar—try using natural juices instead. Here are some other initiatives you can take:

  • Add a non-fried vegetable to your list of available sides (the more the merrier)
  • Have kid’s meals come with a healthy side by default (all-natural applesauce, veggie medley served raw or sauteed in olive oil, house made sweet potato fries, and more!)
  • Offer smaller portions
  • Stick to trends! Add a fresh pressed juice bar or build-your-own options for items like salads, burritos, grain bowls, etc. (huge selling point for millennials!)

Every vegetable needs a spokesperson

The sad reality? Adding healthy options to your menu doesn’t necessarily mean that your customers will order them. Here’s where your staff comes in. They’re already pros at upselling pricier dishes, so why not add your nutritious options to their repertoire too? If someone is asking their server for a recommendation, it means that they trust the server enough to at least consider giving whatever is suggested a shot.

Arming your employees with facts on nutrition as well as all of your new dishes in training can only benefit you. Make it a team bonding exercise by getting your employees together to try every new dish and quizzing them on each afterwards. They can work together in teams, and the winning team can win the prize of your choice. Or, try carrying out the contest passed training; whichever employee sells the most healthy dishes in a month’s span wins a free gym membership for a month, a gift card to a health food store or somewhere that sells athletic wear, a healthy cookbook, a free kayaking lesson—anything you see fit! Pun totally intended.

Menu Makeover

Remember when we said that giving your entire menu a makeover can benefit you in more ways than you might think? Let’s go back to that. As mentioned earlier, just adding healthy options to your menu might not be enough. Some of your guests might see the word ‘healthy’ and look away. And realistically, we know that not every business has a dream team working for them, so perhaps recruiting your staff might not be enough either. What can help you though, is the way your menu reads to your guests.

Just because it’s healthy, doesn’t mean it has to be called ‘Healthy Chicken’ and listed under the ‘Lighter Choices’ section. Your guests will be much more inclined to try a “Chef’s Recommendation” or “Traditional Favorite” anyway. Here are some other ways to use your menu to get your customers to gravitate towards better choices:

  • List calories to show the difference between wholesome and fattening items (convenient for those who count calories, and becoming a requirement in more and more states)
  • Don’t single out your healthy items by making them more expensive than everything else
  • Highlight the healthy dishes using bold/larger fonts or icons
  • There’s a science behind the placement of menu items and customer choices; read more about it here!

If you don’t start implementing health and nutrition into your establishment, your competition will beat you to it. In fact, take a look at this list of The #1 Healthiest Menu Option at 40 Popular Restaurants. We have full confidence that your healthy dishes can be 100x better!

Let us know how your business helps make your community a healthier place on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Holiday Marketing, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

St Patrick’s Day: Your Pot of Gold This Month

Irish or not, millions of people from dozens of cities around the United Sates look forward to parades, parties, and rivers dyed green in honor of Saint Patrick each year. The tradition has come a long way since it was first brought to the states by Irish immigrants back in the 19th century. In the US today, it’s more of a celebration of Irish Pride—and a huge one at that; more people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the United States than there are people in Ireland! As you might have guessed, restaurants and bars benefit hugely as a result.

For the restaurant industry, the timing of St. Patrick’s Day is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s the boost in sales many have been looking for after weeks of slow nights following the holidays and winter snow storms. With a little planning, lots of hyping on social media, and a bit of Irish luck, March 17th has the potential to be a great success for your business.

Get In On the Action

Is there a parade or festival happening in your town or somewhere nearby? Events like these are wonderful for the community, but do have the potential to prevent people from visiting you. Think about setting up a food truck/stand in a prime location, so that you can reach your customers even if they’re not physically in your establishment. The chances are pretty great that you’ll attract some new customers this way too! If you don’t sell food, then coffee, hot chocolate, or your branded apparel will all work too.

Feature Traditional Irish Foods

In many parts of the country, this is the only time of year that true Irish fare is offered in restaurants. Whether you’re Irish or not, there’s a good chance you’ll go for the Corned Beef & Cabbage over the ordinary cheeseburger on St. Patrick’s Day. Consider adding Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Soda Bread, Potato Soup, and other well sought-after items to your menu for the week. If your business has a specialty or a best seller, fusing your own creative take with a classic is a great idea also. Ice cream shops, start testing out your Irish Coffee Ice Cream!

Does your establishment already serve an Irish specialty regularly? We see a great opportunity to partner with another local business here. Having another business feature your dish is an excellent way to gain more exposure—especially if it’s advertised on their social media as well. In return, you can serve their signature cocktail or famous dessert.

Get Creative with Your Specials & Events

There will most likely be a lot of options for places to go within your community, so making your business stand out is key. The possibilities are endless for promotional ideas, but keep your audience in mind when planning. Depending on your type of establishment, consider the ideas below:

  • Irish themed trivia or karaoke night
  • Whiskey tasting
  • Costume contest
  • Live Irish music
  • Sponsor events such as free meals for designated drivers and free services to arrange rides for people under the influence
  • Plan a bar crawl with businesses next to yours or nearby

Remember, offering a discount or giving something away is not a loss. Think about promotions or deals you can implement that will keep customers thinking of you long after St. Patrick’s Day is over. For example, consider a “Luck of the Irish” promo, in which customers are randomly chosen to receive a gift card or discount towards their next visit. You can also offer a discount on the purchase of three items or run a buy-two-get-the-third-free promotion as per the three leaves of a shamrock.

Think Decor

Last but not least, all great celebrations need decorations. You don’t have to go too crazy; think gold and green balloons, or green-decorated menus or inserts for your specials. If you can’t decorate the space you have, use your food and drinks!  Try a fun twist on whiskey by making it green with lime and ginger ale, or maybe offer a special cucumber martini with mint, or honeydew martini with vodka, Midori and triple sec. If you don’t serve alcohol, then try something like green desserts, bagels, or muffins.

However you choose to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at your establishment, don’t forget to use social media and email marketing to get the word out. In a world where face-to-face interactions are becoming few and far between, online outlets are your best bet for reaching the most people. Today’s technology makes it easy to market to your guests, but don’t let this be what stops you if you struggle—get in touch with us for help, and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter or follow this blog for more tips and ideas to come.