Local, Marketing Tips, Restaurant Stories, Social Media

Score BIG with These World Cup Promotions

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

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

Learn the game

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

Consider culture

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

Get creative with your specials

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

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

Plan accordingly

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

Know your demographic

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

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

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

Social media is necessary

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

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

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

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

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!

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

Email Marketing Is Far From Dead — Just Don’t Kill It With These Common Mistakes…

1.) Don’t SPAM your audience.

78% of consumers have unsubscribed from emails because a brand was sending too many emails. (HubSpot, 2016)

How many times do you bypass emails in your inbox because you see the same sender pitching deals and promotions day after day after day? Less is more when it comes to reaching out to your customers. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, perhaps when you would like to promote daily specials to your followers — but this has still been proven to work best when sent on a weekly basis, and then additionally encouraging your audience to follow you on social media for daily updates and engagement.

2.) Keep it simple.

As the number of images in an email increases, the clickthrough rate of the email tends to decrease. (HubSpot, 2014)

Get to the point. Too many words, a multitude of buttons and a collage of pictures will only lessen the impact and muddle the message you are trying to communicate. Plus, most emails are read on mobile devices, so you want to make sure you provide a visually clear and straightforward message, which will cause your readers to click on and read more!

3.) Make it personal.

Brands that personalize promotional marketing emails experience 27% higher unique click rates and 11% higher open rates than those that do not personalize. (Source: Experian, 2016)

Don’t make your emails seem too ‘spammy’. In other words, relate to your customers. You know what they want, so talk to them as if they were already in your restaurant or business, and add that personal touch to your email campaigns. For example, sending them emails on their birthday to perhaps offer a free dessert or drink, will let them know you value them as a customer — and they deserve to be celebrated!

4.) People are listening!

The number of e-mail users in the US is projected to grow to 244.5 million by the end of 2017. That number is forecast to grow to 254.7 million by 2020. (Source: Statista, 2016)

It’s amazing when you hear from some experts that email marketing is dead. There is no argument that social media is a necessary tool to market your business, and email provides an outlet to not only specifically target your selected audience, but as a tool to track, inform, and educate your customers in a way that puts the information directly at their fingertips — to read when they have time.

5.) Know that it takes work, in order to work.

Constant Contact surveyed small business owners and found that 49% do not use email marketing data to assist with their email marketing campaigns because they do not know where to begin. (Source: Constant Contact, 2016)

As mentioned above, with email marketing, you can track your audience’s behavior. You can see who has opened your emails, who has clicked into them, and what they clicked on. From here you can target advertising to those groups, resulting in a MUCH bigger potential for converting that email subscriber into a customer, or prompting them to revisit you. So take your time, create thoughtful and impactful campaigns which will help build brand awareness and a larger customer base – but know this takes time and effort, and to ask for help when needed. Marketing effectively is crucial to your business!