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.


Be sure to follow us on social media or join our mailing list to learn more about ways to market and grow your business, as well as stay on top of new products released specifically tailored to the restaurant owner.

 

Recipes, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Cheers! To These Creative Fall Cocktails

We asked our oh-so-creative customers to submit some of their signature fall cocktails to share with our readers. We hand selected some of our favorites, and here they are for your drinking pleasure!

First up is a fun cocktail from our friends at The Grey Goose Restaurant in Hampton Virginia. The Grey goose is owned by a couple who is not only both from Virginia, but who compliment one another with their culinary passions and knowledge going back to college.

With a sincere love for their following, and ability to carry out their passion for hospitality daily, you’re sure to not only have a great meal at The Grey Goose, but some pretty fun cocktails as well!

This one’s called the Poison Apple.

poison apple recipe

Next we head a little farther south to Culhane’s Irish Pub, located in Atlantic Beach Florida. This authentic Irish pub gets a lot of buzz surrounding their appearance on the popular show ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives‘, but it’s not all about the show that gets people excited. The 4 sisters who own & manage Culhane’s (originally from Ireland) bring their heritage, love of food, and impeccable service to their loyal guests!

Here, as shown by employees of Culhane’s Irish Pub, is one if their signature cocktails this time of year…

The Pumpkin Spice Irish Coffee!

pumpkin coffee recipe

Heading to Huntington New York, we visit Restaurant Joanina. This family owned Italian restaurant is home to many regulars who come to enjoy the fresh homemade pastas, brick oven pizzas and rotating specials. Aside from a hand selected wine list, both by the bottle and by the glass, the bartender is always willing to whip up a seasonal cocktail to fit with the time of year. Here we have a twist on a classic…

The Port Wine Old Fashioned

joanina recipe 2

We always encourage our customers, and other restaurants and bars to send us fun cocktail and recipe ideas to share with our followers! If you have a recipe you would like to share, and for your business to be featured on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram — email us at promotions@ordereze.com!

Halloween, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Halloween And Beyond: The Value of Holiday Marketing

October is here, and with it, we’re inching ever closer to everyone’s favorite fright night of the year, Halloween.

It only seems fitting to take this opportunity, and propose some ideas that we’re confident can generate business — and more importantly, REPEAT business at your establishment throughout the Halloween season and beyond.

Halloween itself is great and all, but before we even get to that spook-tacular night, there’s the entire season of Fall to welcome! For those in areas that experience this glorious change of season, you know that it’s more than just a date on the calendar or a change in the weather, but often represents a shift in the tastes of consumers.

In addition to an invasion of all things pumpkin flavored, the Fall season is also a time when some of the following flavors are typically highlighted:

  • Apple & Apple Cider
  • Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato
  • Butterscotch, Caramel & Toffee
  • Cinnamon, Chai & Nutmeg
  • Chestnuts, Pecans & Walnuts
  • Cranberry
  • Ginger & Gingersnap
  • Maple flavors

A chance to slip some of these flavors into your menu over the course of the season may help you stand out against some of your competitors.

For those that serve beer at their establishments, when the seasons change, or holiday’s approach, beer taps typically change with them. Hosting a beer tasting or two while waiting for Halloween to arrive would be a great way to get some people in your door and some eyes on your beer and food selection. Perhaps a beer and cheese pairing night? A paint night with a Fall or Halloween theme while the pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers are pouring?

It seems like every year, Halloween becomes more and more of a commercial and cultural fixture. Halloween has become more than just a day, but an almost literal month-long celebration of all things frighteningly fun. This offers a tremendous opportunity for your business to tap into the “spirit” of the occasion.

Adjusting some of your menu items (even if just by name) can be a playful way to freshen up your menu:

  • “BOO”-shi
  • “Ghoul”ash
  • BONE-appetite Wings
  • Goblin up burgers
  • Monster mashed potatoes
  • Witch’s Cauldron Chili
  • Sand-witches

Not to mention any number of Halloween inspired cocktails that can help customers keep your name in the front of their minds when heading out for a bite or a night of fun during this time of the year.

Outside of wordplay, there are some more concrete events and promotions you can offer to appeal to your community.

During these “31 Days of Halloween” you can offer customers a punch card, or tracking system of some kind to keep them coming in weekly for a special Halloween-themed food or drink that you can switch up as often as you’d like. Customers who return each week within the month, can earn a gift card or credit towards a future bill after the Halloween season is “laid to rest.”

Maybe each visit earns them a raffle ticket for a larger prize like a free meal. Or link up with other local shops to cross promote your businesses, and perhaps they will offer to donate a prize like a spa day, electronics, movie tickets or something of the like. Providing opportunities like these for your customers are a great way to organically grow your email contact list, giving you the chance to keep them informed of any future offers or events at your establishment.

If something long term like that doesn’t really appeal to you, something as simple as a Halloween movie screening on a typically slow night could be a fun way to break up the norm. Costumed karaoke anyone? The possibilities are endless.

We don’t want to alarm you, but October does feature a Friday the 13th. Some fanfare on that date is sure to be a hit for those too old for trick-or-treating looking to start their weekend off with a fun twist.

Encouraging kids and parents to attend your establishment in costume could be a fun way to initiate some playful buzz. Maybe that can be incentivized with a discount of some kind, on an order over a certain amount of money. Certainly, on Halloween itself, encouraging a costumed visit from children as a trick or treat stop will be something they won’t soon forget, and likely nor will their parents.

Halloween is a unique and special time, but being able to recognize the marketing opportunities offered by holidays in general, is key in keeping your establishment fresh in the minds of consumers — and getting new eyes on what you offer and more feet consistently through your door.

Social media and specific promotions will be key to getting the word out, and we’re happy to say we’ve got your back!  Whatever you need to promote these events or specials, or simply providing holiday themed posts on social media, we’re here to help!

 

Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Why Bad Reviews Are Written About Your Restaurant.

Unfortunately, there are times when bad reviews can be justified; but in some cases, they might just be written by someone having a bad day, and they decided it should be taken out on you.

Thankfully, as the act of leaving reviews has become more popular, people tend to take the outrageous ones with a grain of salt, especially if they are few and far between amongst a sea of positive feedback.

Whether you seem to have a strong hold on your online reputation or not, reviews tend to hold tremendous weight on the success or decline in business at many food service establishments. Below are some of the most common reasons a negative review might be left about your restaurant.

1.) Poor Customer Service.

The customer wants what they want, when they want it; And although some may not meet you with dissatisfied remarks right then at the table, if they feel that their service was lacking in any way, they very well may leave a review about it — and more often than not, never return.

2.) Inconsistency

You are running a well-oiled machine and you have a lot of happy regulars. They are regulars for a reason — you’re doing something (or everything) right! The problem can arise however, if someone has visited your restaurant a few times to experience stellar food and service, and sporadically get met with a night where things are just “off”.

Maybe you are understaffed, the fryer broke, a table of 15 just walked in and are slowing up the kitchen… whatever it may be, your customers won’t care about your problems if they don’t know what’s causing delays with the food or have to wait to be seated. They are there for THEIR meal, THEIR time, and THEIR enjoyment. If the service is not consistent, or the food somehow isn’t how they remember, they may not return.

In addition to this, many often choose that one poor experience to review. Customers tend to be more apt to share the negative before raving about the previous few occasions in which they left your restaurant happy and full.

Sometimes transparency is key. Let your customers know, while they are still in your restaurant, that it’s a bit of a rough night and it doesn’t reflect the norm. You may just earn some hospitality points right there with your honesty!

3.) Food Quality

People dine out for a variety of reasons. Some, simply never cook at home, while others view dining out as something that is done on a special occasion. Either way, the food you serve should be a reflection of you, your standards, and the business you run. If the quality of your food or how it’s presented to your guests is causing it to be sent back or not eaten, you bet someone will not only write a review sharing their experience, but you can be sure that there will be photos attached to the post for all to see.

The point here, is that the food you serve should be as high of a priority as customer service. Guests may even choose to return somewhere with less-than-stellar customer service, just because the food is so amazing.

So consistency, quality, and pride in what comes out of the kitchen is a MUST if you want to remain successful, and avoid negative reviews.

4.) Cleanliness

This really goes without saying. If you don’t run a clean restaurant, chances are your customers won’t be the only ones giving you a poor review — the board of health won’t be far behind.

It is common however, that customers will point out dirty floors, greasy looking kitchens, and even unorganized hostess stations. So for the sake of safety, the health of your customers, aesthetics, and of course preventing a review pointing out that you’re a complete mess… keep things clean!

 

As we mentioned, not all of this is entirely in your control, so unfortunately we must take the bad with the good and respond to the negative reviews when they do happen to roll in. Need help? You can always talk to one of our Customer Success representatives about our options to manage your online reputation for you, or you can check out some tips in our past blog post on how to answer negative reviews.