Local, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Your Best Marketing Tactic May Be Right Next Door!

As an independent restaurant, business, or small chain, you are faced with a list of new challenges daily; on the top of that list, almost always, is balancing the financials of it all. Maximizing your profits while providing your guests or customers with the best quality product is something you strive for, but when things get tight, you may cut corners in ways that can hurt you more than help.

As a company that works to reassure and aid the independent business owner with marketing solutions for optimal business growth, Ordereze knows that one of the first places business owners look to cut corners is in their marketing. Fortunately, we offer solutions at minimal cost, and are able to shed light on tactics that are easy and inexpensive to execute.

One of the most crucial aspects to marketing your business, is to create a sense of community that surrounds it. Believe it or not, you can do this whether you are located in a remote location, or a bustling city; You just need to use the right tools, and do a little digging to make it work for your particular business.

Here are a few ways to bring that community feel to your business:

Incorporate local ingredients.

Whether you’re in a rural area rich with farms, or you live in a city where you can grow fresh herbs on your rooftop – use this to your advantage. Your guests will LOVE knowing that one of the key ingredients in the new cocktail comes from a nearby herb garden; or that the heirloom tomatoes on their salads are from the farm a mile away. It shows that you care for community growth, support local farmers, and consider where your ingredients come from to be an important aspect of how you design your menu.

Meat, Seafood, Dairy & Veggies.

As mentioned above, linking up with a nearby farm to feature the freshest produce is invaluable, and same goes for dairy, fish and meat dishes as well. Find out who you can form partnerships with to get the best price for the highest quality local meat, fish and dairy. Many times cutting out the middle man can be cost effective if you are legally allowed to deal directly with the farmers themselves.

Create a BUZZ!

Own a coffee shop? Have a cocktail list that you want to get creative with? Why not look for local honey to use or sell? It may be a big undertaking to harvest your own honey, unless you happen to have a bunch of bees on hand, but do a little research to seek out local producers. There is also a lot of research that has been done on the health benefits of incorporating raw/local honey in your diet – which are certainly useful and fun facts to use to your advantage!

Capitalize on Local Beverages.

Whether right in your home town, or local to your state, its a great idea to feature local wine, beer, spirits and even coffee on your list.

Have a beer tap system? Try and rotate a local brew seasonally and match it with your menu items. Inviting a local wine maker to collaborate on a wine dinner or tasting event is also a great way to get people through your door for something different on a slower night. Creating cocktails using local spirits also offers something to talk about to tables and bar patrons.

Artwork

It’s a win win when you are able to provide a beautiful ambiance for your guests while featuring work from local artists on your walls. Not only will you be able to save costs on decor, but you will be promoting your business to an audience (those coming to check out the artwork) who potentially have never visited you before.

Try hosting special events such as art openings if you are able to feature new artists every so often. You can either work with the artist to sell tickets, or bring people in free of charge with a cash bar and small menu for them to order from and sample your food.

Part ways with guests by offering a coupon for a free beverage or dessert, or offer a small discount on their bill when they return on a later date.

Charity organizations

It’s always a wonderful feeling to give back to your community, and what better way to give back, than to partner up with a local organization to bring light to both a worthy cause, and your business. There truly is nothing better than for the community to see local businesses involved in raising money for a good cause; Plus it’s a great way to network with other business owners, as well as a huge marketing opportunity to bring more business your way.

Depending on the direction you would like to go, whether it’s hosting an event or coordinating with others to organize a fundraiser of sorts, consider giveaways and donations if it’s in your budget. Are you able to volunteer yourself or your employees to help at a fundraiser? Can you provide food, drinks, or products to an event? Would contributing money for a sponsorship page in a local publication be worthwhile? All of these are wonderful ways to market your business for all the right reasons.


Let us know how you work with your community on our Facebook or Twitter Page! We love hearing how small businesses out there are making things happen by keeping it local.

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

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!

 

Marketing Tips, Website Design

Is Your Website Ready for 2018?

Technology is always evolving. So quickly in fact, that we are almost forced to keep up with the latest and most recent gadgets and devices simply because our old ones become unsupported and obsolete over only a short period of time.

Same rings true with how you present yourself online. If you want to be taken seriously in a rapidly changing digital world, it’s crucial to stay up to date with the demands of those looking to find you online – in most cases, your customers.

First things first…

Keep It Visual!

There is so much truth to the fact that we eat with our eyes. Whether what you are selling is actually edible or not, you need photos to grab the attention of those who want what you’ve got.

A great example of how powerful imagery has become in business, is the success of Instagram. This photo-driven social media platform provides an outlet for anyone to share captivating images to increase awareness, sell more products and tell a story all through pictures. This basic model (of heavily using imagery) can easily, and should be, carried over throughout your website.

In such a fast-paced world, you need to communicate as much as you can, in as little time as possible – photographs can do just that.

Keep Your Website Updated!

There are two sides to this.

To start, it’s imperative that your website acts as the truest reflection of you and your business. If you’re offering products or services, make sure your actual offerings are current with the prices listed on your website.

Same goes for restaurants or anyone in the hospitality industry. It’s important to the continued success of your business, that you consistently update your menu offerings, specials, events, and photos to maximize business. There is nothing worse than someone coming in to enjoy a meal or drink they saw on your website, that was mistakenly still on there from last season and is no longer available. This not only can lead to a customer starting his or her experience dissatisfied, but in the age of online reviews, could result in some negative chatter online.

Aside from keeping your menu and prices updated, the functionality and platform that your website resides on is equally (if not more) important to keep up to date.

Website developers are constantly changing how they build and design websites, not only to stay current with the latest trends online, but to make sure your website is performing at its greatest potential.

It’s also crucial to know when your site may be in jeopardy of no longer functioning properly if not updated according to necessary advances in technology. For example, Adobe Flash websites will no longer be supported by Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox as soon as 2020 (See article here). So if you have an older website using Flash, know that currently more than half of your potential customers may not be seeing you accurately (or at all) online, and soon, none of them will!

It’s safe to say that you will want to optimize the functionality of your website annually for peak performance, and much more often than that to keep it fresh and updated with recent photos and special offerings to entice customers and bring in new and recurring business.

Make Sure Your Website is ‘Idiot-Proof’

Simplicity is your answer.

As previously mentioned, you want to convey your message as easily as possible when someone lands on your website. Ideally you’d like them to find everything they are looking for within a minute of looking at your website.

By adding a simple navigation bar at the top, keeping the font clear and readable, as well as having a website that is responsive and mobile friendly, will optimize user experience and not frustrate them and cause them to look elsewhere for the information they seek.

Think about creating a website that both a tech-savvy teenager can successfully navigate, as well as your 85 year old neighbor.

If you have any questions regarding the functionality or overall look and feel of your website, get in touch with us! Ordereze has options to cater to any budget size and will deliver you beautiful websites that will surely drive business your way!

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!

 

online ordering

It’s Time To Join The Online Ordering World.

Look around. Are most people talking on their phones, or do they have their heads down tapping away at tiny keyboards, texting, searching, or navigating their way through the day?

You know the answer – and you currently may be doing the same.

We jam pack our lives with ‘things’ we need to get done, work that must be accomplished, and social calendars that fill in all the blanks — and a lot of our daily duties can be accomplished without even speaking to another human. We aren’t looking to delve into the topic of how this will impact the future of interpersonal skills in today’s younger generation, but instead to shed light on strategic business trends that must be addressed and discussed.

What’s very important to realize, for any business owner, is you need to be where your customers are looking. You need to make sure your opportunity to sell, is in other places besides your physical storefront. You need to be online; and according to some, the fate of your business may depend on it.

Convenience is key in this fast paced world we live in, and if you lack offering a convenient way for your customers to purchase from you,  you may lose them to a competitor. From 2010 to 2015, just 5 short years, the number of individuals placing online orders grew from 403 million to 904 million – more than doubling – resulting in a 124% growth, with 47% of Americans ordering food online. (credit: quartz media)

In addition to convenience for the customer, offering the option to order online can greatly increase your revenue. On average, an online order tends to carry a 23% larger check size than in-store checks. That’s huge!

Remember that “online ordering” doesn’t have to mean “delivery”. Although adding the option to deliver will prove its obvious benefits, if you’re not equipped to add additional delivery staff or manage this service, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start with a pick-up option, and then once you can handle the volume and the kitchen has a good rhythm, offer your customers the option for delivery.

atlas_EJANqMTO@2x

Trends have shown an increase in the amount of companies offering online ordering services, as a result of its growing demand. Choosing the right company to work with can be a tricky one. Depending on your business model,  where you are located, and how you market your business, can hold weight on what takes priority when choosing which online ordering service to use.

Our advice is to be careful!

While some may entice you with low to no monthly fees, you may end up giving away more of a percentage on each sale than you can afford. Some require taking a minimum of 50% of each order, those that act as more of an “online ordering directory” tend to be among them. Companies like this will charge a larger percentage of your orders just so you can show up on the top of their list of restaurants to order from within a certain location – this might work if you don’t need the extra cash, but it helps gain exposure in big (and competitive) cities.

Other companies decide not to take a percentage, but charge large amounts on a monthly basis to use their service, usually tying you in to a year-long, or even a two-year long contract – some even asking for a full payment upfront. Some models will however, set a cap on what they will charge you, so you can predict what you will pay each month, leaving less guesswork in your month to month revenue.

Learn more about what Ordereze offers your business when it comes to Online Ordering. Since we work with smaller restaurant groups and individually owned businesses, we tend to fit that model and provide a boost in revenue, while helping market to your existing customers so they return again and again!