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!

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.

Holiday Marketing, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Maximizing the Madness: Making Your Business the Go-to Place to Watch the Biggest Tournament of the Year

Each year, people from all over the country tune in to what is arguably among the most prestigious and exciting athletic tournaments in the world. Following Selection Sunday on March 11th, the 2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament will tip off and millions will be watching along with brackets in hand as the best college basketball teams in the nation vie for a national championship. We’re here to offer solutions and make sure that your business is the place to be for your community to experience March Madness.

This tournament is one of the most unique and dynamic sports and cultural fixtures.  Spanning the entire remaining month of March and featuring near constant sports action and coverage, March Madness engages your basketball die-hards and casual fans alike rooting for hometown schools, the underdog, the integrity of their own bracket, and even those just enjoying the game day atmosphere. As a business, the opportunities to capitalize on this special phenomenon are near limitless.

Organize A Bracket

One of the more straightforward ways to make your establishment a gameday destination is to organize a bracket pool amongst your regulars. It has never been easier for people to organize pools of this kind using online services that track tournament results and participant scoring. Offering local and friendly competition to your regulars is a great way to pique the interest of the passionate and casual fan alike.

Brackets can also be used as a fun way to promote menu items or introduce new specials, while getting your customers involved. For example, have your wings go head-to-head; Buffalo vs. Garlic Parmesan. The winner moves on to verse Honey BBQ, and the loser is eliminated from the bracket. Want to take it a step further? Partner with another local business and compete against one of their specialties! They’re promoting your business, while you’re promoting theirs. It’s a win-win!

Stick With What You Already Do Well

As accessible as the personalized bracket services are, you’re running a business, you’re busy enough. The real secret to success here is capitalizing on what you already do well and making the most of it during this time of year.

Especially at the start of the tournament, these games are all day every day, which means that snack foods are the way to go. Fries, wings, and finger foods will keep people content without over stuffing them. All the more reason for your patrons to stick with you for the long haul.

Get Them Back in the Door

Speaking of the long haul, did we mention that this tournament lasts for weeks? There are going to be a lot of options for people to watch the game, so it’s crucial that you use social media to advertise all of the promotions you plan to run—and well in advance.

Consider signing up patrons for a March Madness club, where customers who sign up are eligible for deals on apps or drinks for the duration of the tournament. Raffles for hometown college gear, or even a credit to your own business towards a future dining experience are great ways to draw people through your door and most importantly, keep them there. The camaraderie of these games is contagious enough as it is, we just want to make sure that your community experiences this magic at your business.

Make it fun!

Keep it exciting by giving your guests ways to interact with these games in real time.

Was there an upset? Your next drink is half off.

Buzzer beater? Try these fries on the house.

You don’t have to take those deals to heart, every business is going to be different, but when your guests drink 3 beers over the course of a game waiting to see if their fourth is going to be discounted courtesy of a Cinderella team upsetting a college powerhouse, these kinds of deals can pay immediate dividends.

Keep in mind that not all your guests will necessarily be paying attention to the game, but they will be paying attention to your menu. Get a theme going with menu items named after teams or March Madness lingo (i.e. First 4, Sweet Sixteen, Elite 8, Final 4), or get creative and make something that visually fits the theme, like orange Jell-O shots with basketball lines piped on.

Every business is unique, but hopefully these ideas help get the ball rolling as you start to think about how you can maximize March Madness for your establishment. If you need an extra “assist” that’s where our marketing experts come in. We’re here to help you get off the bench and into the game and make sure the tournament experience of your business is a slam dunk.

 

Holiday Marketing, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Table For (more than) 2 Please! Why You May Want To Rethink How You Take On Valentine’s Day…

February 14th.

A day some may look forward to each year, and a holiday others would prefer simply didn’t exist.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the many hues of pink, dozens of rose ads, and being surrounded by more heart-shaped chocolate than you can handle – Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and if you’re a restaurant owner, this may be one of the biggest days of the year for you.

Just like any other holiday, this Hallmark-heavy, love-filled 24 hours is one that is synonymous with a romantic meal to cap off the day’s expression of emotion. But what once was a formal occasion to be enjoyed by loving couples only, has taken a sharp turn and morphed into a time to acknowledge friendships, family, an opportunity to dine together as a group, and even a celebration in being single. #GalentinesDay or #SinglesDay anyone?

While we can certainly expect the majority of your tables or take out orders to lean towards 2 people, perhaps rethinking how you market your menu, encourage reservations for groups, and promote Valentine’s Day festivities a bit less traditionally, can be beneficial to the success of your night.

Follow Social Trends and Stick to Holiday Themes.

Simply being conscious of the fact that larger groups may want a nice place to dine out together is just the start. You may offer a price-fixed menu for couples, but perhaps in addition, offering family style portions to parties of 4 or more may be a way to attract larger tables. Offer a discount on a second bottle of wine to a larger table when one may not be enough for the group. Maybe offering ‘Valentine’s Party Packs’ to-go – consisting of combo meals or appetizers and entrees that compliment each other (with clever names) may work, and give the option to select the number of people it will feed.

Some may not want to get fancy, and opt to spend Valentine’s day hanging out at home with friends or a loved one. Personal heart-shaped pizzas to-go would be a great treat for someone dining solo, and of course larger pies to feed multiple people should be featured as well.

Decorating your items with edible flowers (although this can potentially get pricey) is a fun way to add something different to your typical plating techniques.

Think Pink. You can create red and pink cocktails or mocktails with candied rims, or slather sweeter drinks with chocolate for added decadence. Maybe the icing or decor on desserts or even your plate ware can incorporate hearts and themed colors as well.

Giving Something Away Isn’t A Loss…

Leaving a lasting impression on your guests goes a long way. The thoughtful way you say goodbye as they leave and wishing them a Happy Valentine’s Day are hospitality no-brainers… but perhaps offering them a small (inexpensive) festive dessert on the house, or sending them on their way with a few chocolates or a rose for the ladies as they leave, would be that much more effective. Going that extra inch will cause them to remember such a sweet notion the next time they are looking for somewhere to eat, or a place to bring their friends.

How Should I Spread The Word?

Social Media needs to be your first go-to. But what if you lack followers? What if you have no one to manage your social media and can’t stay on top of it?

If you lack followers, staying diligent on providing valuable and shareable content is where you should start, but since we aren’t working with much time before the holiday, let’s explore other options.

Email Marketing is huge. Not only do your messages not get lost in the constant updating of someone’s social feed, but you have more room to work with. You can add more text, multiple images, and make it more personal. If you have collected email addresses, this is the way to go!

Let’s also not forget to spread the word to your guests while they are visiting you. Prep your servers for what’s to come, and have them inform your guests about your plans for Valentine’s Day, reminding them to jump on pre-ordering or firming up reservations before you fill up!

Pay Attention to Menu Items and Staffing

Using seasonally appropriate menu items should make crafting your menu easier, as those ingredients will be fresh, and should be readily available. Make sure however, to select items that are cost effective, as you will be doing larger volumes that evening and you want to be conscious of how costs will add up.

To follow that point, it’s essential that you should make sure to order enough to supply the demand of this holiday. The last thing you want is to run out of something on your limited menu (should you choose to offer only a selection of the full menu or price fixed menu that evening) and leave any of your guests disappointed.

This is why a price fixed menu may be a solution to maximize your revenue and help you plan. Since you will inevitably be catering largely to tables of two, you may want to avoid losing a table to a couple whose entire meal may consist of sharing a $6 appetizer and a $7 glass of wine (and then remain at the table all night staring lovingly into one another’s eyes) and instead lead them towards the experience of a full meal. Make it known at the time the table is reserved however, that there will be a special menu that evening, and share the cost so there are no surprises the night of.

In regards to staffing – take a step back and think about your stronger staff. It’s an important night to provide your best service and impress your guests. You don’t want to try and save money with under-staffing or trying out new positions for your team that night. Stick with what’s been working, and make sure to let your staff know they are on for that night because their skills are valued and you know that they will provide a wonderful experience for the guests that evening.

It also never hurts to offer staff incentives when they are scheduled to work holidays, or on days they normally aren’t scheduled to come in. It doesn’t have to be a large gesture, but perhaps a friendly competition or reaching a set goal, can help motivate and encourage some fun within your staff on an otherwise hectic evening.

Have Fun With It.

Valentine’s Day can be overwhelming as a restaurant owner, but try and have fun with it. Your guests will take notice of the vibe that you and your staff sets for the evening, and it will only enhance their visit. If you have any questions on how you can better market your business for this holiday or another one, email one of our marketing experts at solutions@ordereze.com today!

 

Holiday Marketing, Marketing Tips, Social Media

Holiday Marketing Tips That Work!

When it comes to creating a buzz and spreading the word about your business during the holidays, there aren’t many ways you can go wrong. There are however, ways to specifically help bring new people in, create a larger overall check size, and help create a loyal customer base coming back year after year.

Some may firmly believe there is a such thing as starting too early when it comes to marketing your business for holiday parties, decorating, and launching holiday food and drink items — and therefore wait until now to begin. While, it’s not too late once December hits, it’s best to start brainstorming well before then, especially if you’re planning anything that will effect the inner workings/operations of your business.

If you haven’t gotten too involved with detailed holiday marketing strategies, or simply don’t think there is enough time left to have any effect on business this holiday season, here are some easy tips to get started today, with little planning and lots of success!

Social Media Is Your Best Friend

Let’s start with the fact that it’s free. If you don’t have a social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google) surrounding your business, you need to get started doing so… ASAP! It costs you nothing to set them up, and can be an invaluable tool for marketing, and getting found online.

You can utilize social media outlets to not only create an online personality surrounding your business, but to share enticing photos of your food, creative cocktails, and holiday decor. You can use it to promote and create calendar invites for events to share  with your online following as well.

Creating a community online where guests can share their experiences, reviews, post photos and have fun conversations with others following you on social media, is another way to create a strong virtual network surrounding your business — without customers having to physically be there. This is a huge part of marketing. You not only stay on top of mind during a time of year, where dining out is commonplace, but it will help people ultimately make their decisions on where to go if something they see posted entices them to bring business your way!

Gift Cards

Whether they are in the form of cards, gift certificates, or electronically purchased, gift cards are a perfect way to increase revenue and provide a solution for last minute gifters!

Another huge perk is their ability to not only encourage return business, but to bring new people through your door who maybe wouldn’t have thought to try you out, had they not received the gift card.

Running promotions surrounding the purchase of a gift card is another option. Perhaps discount the price of a $100 gift card, and sell it for $90, or provide a discount if the buyer purchases more than one. You can also offer a discount on future visits to the person buying the gift card as an incentive to bring them back in your door. So now, you not only have someone else/new coming in to bring you business, but you have your loyal, gift-giving customer enjoying perks of their purchase as well.

Keep Friends In Mind

Customer loyalty is everything. In fact, you’re likely to gain more business simply by marketing to your existing customers and encouraging them to return more often,  than convincing someone who has never tried you, to walk through your door.

With that being said, pull out last year’s reservation book. See who booked holiday or new year’s parties with you the year before, check out who has visited you on Christmas eve bringing along their families or colleagues. Once you have this list, give them a call and check in. Let them know you noticed they enjoyed their holiday with you the year prior, and that you would like to extend an invite for them to return before you fill up your tables.

No hard feelings if they plan to switch it up – but letting them know you are thinking about them and appreciate their loyalty can go a long way. At very least you’re wishing them a happy holiday! They may not be up for a party or dining out this year, but they will certainly appreciate that you offered them a solution and potentially reduced a lot of stress on their end this time of year should they be late with making plans themselves!

Set The Mood

Decor and ambiance can do more than just keep your space relevant during a holiday — It can actually increase sales and check size.

If you set a comfortable and inviting ambiance, its more likely that your guests will want to stay for dessert after a meal, or enjoy another cocktail at their table or the bar – increasing the size of their check.

If you’re a quick serve restaurant, or one that lends itself to catering, simply decorating your space for customers to immerse themselves in, while coming in to place their order or pick up their food, will put a smile on their face. Simply surrounding your guests with decor celebrating the enjoyment of the holiday spirit, can leave a lasting impression causing them to refer you to others, and certainly keep you in mind for future holidays and events.


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