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.

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!

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!

 

 

Marketing Tips

Creating Your Own Voice On Social Media

Developing a unique personality in a huge digital world can come across as a daunting task, we know – but once you create your own voice and decide what message you need to communicate to your followers, the ability to stay on a schedule rich with content tends to get easier the more you practice.

Here are some tips to start developing your distinct (and effective) digital voice:

1. Know the answer to the question: “Who are you?”

That should be simple enough to figure out right? After all, it’s your business — and all you have to do to begin your marketing efforts is let your social media followers know exactly who you are, what your business model is, what you have going on, and how you plan to (ultimately) get them through your door… Sure, piece of cake! (gulp)

OK, maybe it’s a little more complicated than it seems.

First things first – establish a personality for your business, and stay true to yourself. This may be the most important aspect of marketing your business.

Are you an upscale dining establishment that offers fine wine and a pricey cuisine? Then perhaps using a humor tactic may not fit the vibe you’re going for. Instead you may want to focus on sharing beautiful photos of your food accompanied with wine pairing suggestions, or run specials to attract visitors that may not typically gravitate towards a business like yours.

Are you a fast-paced deli or pizzeria catering to those on-the-go with little time to spare? Perhaps scheduling out daily tweets or Facebook posts before the busy rush will provide those ‘time-starved’ patrons a quick glimpse of what to order when they come in.

Start by writing a list containing the main components of your business. What type of food or service do you provide? Who are your customers? When are you the busiest? How do you fall on average compared to your competitors in regards to price point?

For Example:

  • Food/Drink Served: Italian, Wine, Brick Oven Pizza, Espresso drinks
  • Customer demographic: Men & Women ages 30-50
  • Busy Hours: 8am- 9am, 11am-2pm, M-F
  • Price point: Moderate

When you first start thinking about customizing your digital voice, follow this procedure and it will help you identify who you are and who your customer is. From here, you will tailor how you deliver the message and when you need to speak to your online audience.

2. What are your goals?

We all set goals – in all facets of life. But especially when it comes to your business, make them realistic. Start small then get more aggressive from there as to not get overwhelmed as you begin — but know definitively what your goals are, and keep working at them. Your overall long term goals may include a plan for your digital marketing efforts to save you money while bringing new customers in your door, ultimately allowing you to have more free time away from your business.

When it comes to setting goals for marketing your business digitally, one thing to always remember is that results seldom happen overnight, for many reasons, so patience is key. But how can you be patient and still set accurate and aggressive goals for yourself?

Start by creating a timeline. Perhaps in the first 3-6 or even 12 months, you work hard at building your social media audience. Begin defining your audience by finding out who is looking for you, acting as a consumer yourself. Begin following businesses like yours, take notes of what your competitors may be doing, and stay true to your business “motto” and the overall feel of how you want your business portrayed. You will slowly and steadily begin to gain followers to share your message with.

Next, decide how you plan to share information with your audience and begin to delegate that responsibility. Is managing your social media or digital marketing efforts too difficult or time consuming? Decide whether you need the help of someone else to post on social media for you, or to send out email campaigns to keep your followers in the loop and wanting more.

Marketing your business takes time, and you want to make sure to provide an accurate and consistent message, and to not overwhelm them. Which brings us to our third tip.

 3. Consistency is Key!

Above all, you never want to confuse your Social Media followers. Revisit the answer to “Who are you?” every time you post on social media or respond to a review – and continue that theme throughout all of your marketing efforts.

Use repeated and thoughtful hashtags to begin showing up in online searches pertaining to your business category. Make a schedule of when you would like to post on your social media sites, send out email campaigns, and stay on top of reviews left about your business and make sure to respond to each one.

Sporadic activity and engagement will not only cause you to get lost in the shuffle, but lose effectiveness of your content and disengage your followers awaiting to hear from you. Keep in mind however, that there is a such thing as TOO much activity. A little mystery, leaving your followers and customers wanting more, will typically result in more excitement when you share some news, a new promotion, or spread the word about an upcoming event.

It will be a bit of trial and error while analyzing what your audience likes, but that is all part of growing your social media following, reaching your goals, and creating that unique and profitable voice to fit with your business in the digital world we live in.