Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and this year February 14th lands on a Thursday, which gives you the opportunity to turn the night into one of your best sales days of the year. Here are some thoughts you might consider as you plan your Valentine’s Day program:
Promote the Day. Use your customer database
to connect with returning guests and promote the event on social media to
let your target market know about your specials for the evening.
Reorganizing your tables. remove larger tables and
bring in additional two covers.
Prepare your staff. Meet with the FOH team to
coordinate your seating plan and get your service staff on the same page.
Decide earlier if you will focus on table turn by reducing service
sequence times, or ticket averages by accentuating appetizers and
desserts. Speak these targets to your staff so they know what is important
to you and can work together as a team. Don’t adopt that your team will respond
accurately to a high-pressure night event, make sure to highlight the
details more than once, and train as necessary to allow your staff to
handle the extra load.
Consider tweaking or designing a
special menu. To
ensure that the kitchen runs as smoothly as possible, consider provisionally
freezing menu items that require extra prep, or are challenging to make.
Focus on changing the menu not only to select items with high gross profit
margins but also to balance the capacity between each of your kitchen
stations. Many managers move to a fixed price menu with upsell/upgrade
options to satisfy guests’ desires to dine up for the occasion.
Create the WOW element. Consider informing your waiters
to deliver dinner mints, a hand-written card, or small gift with the
presentation of the bill. Some restaurants are delivering fresh, misted
roses to each table, or heart-shaped balloons…get creative
Set aside some time to create a Valentine’s Day program for
your restaurant and get your staff updated with the plan to prepare for a busy
and very profitable evening. Every minute you devote planning in advance will
be compensated as you improve your guest experience for this exceptional event,
and ultimately, your bottom line.
Use this opportunity also to build customer loyalty, attract new guests and
have a more profitable February!
Unless you have a chef as
famous as Gordon Ramsey or Mario Batali, you need to constantly produce innovative
ideas to bring new customer to your restaurant. Advertising alone does not help
much cause there are millions of restaurants popping up. Being in the Food and
Beverage industry all my working life, I am always searching for new ways of
promoting my product and services. Some might not be possible to your
restaurant or business. But some have worked for me.
Can we take just a moment to talk about
this term “Mystic Marketing”?
Based on some
definitions, “Mystic” can seem to be something that mystifies, confounds, and
In many cases,
marketing campaigns which have an amazing impact relate to ordinary things. After
all food service is a simple necessity each of us takes part in several times a
day. People eat to sustain their lives. Customers choose where to eat because
of what they believe.
What do customers
believe about your restaurant? Poor reputation and poor customer feelings need
more than “marketing.”
If you are in the
restaurant business, there is more than just a product to sell. Smiles, comfort,
and quality of life are also a part of what you give. Supplying an experience
to remember (or forget?) is what will separate your restaurant from hundreds of
To this end, we
will review some Marketing Tips for Restaurants that defies the classic trends.
None of which are “traditional” since I know you are interested in something new.
Hopefully, you will have the same success that will seem “mystical” as others
This is an
excellent idea when you have a slow month after a busy month.
envelopes that has a 10% or 20% discount on meal, a free dessert or main course
or even a BHD10 gift certificate. You can put in a lucky draw bowl and let the
guest (who dines a certain amount) pick one. The vouchers are valid for the
next month (the slow month). If you are running a Chinese restaurant, you can
put the vouchers in angpow (red packets) envelope and distribute them during
the Chinese New Year period. The guest can claim their prize next month. This
will then increase your clientele on a slow month.
and pass to your staff. Have them sign on the back of the vouchers. Let them
distribute the vouchers to any one they want. The vouchers can be discount for
purchase for a meal. Give a prize to the staff that has the most vouchers
coming back to the restaurant. This makes the staff feel important and if he/
she wants to win a prize he needs to give to people that he/she knows will come
have some method of capturing email addresses
Have a monthly give away of
something fun / popular such as an iPhone.
Have the staff talk it up and get
email addresses so the customers can be notified if they win
Be sure to have opt-in entry forms
available and getting signatures is even better
Check to be sure customers have
signed, giving permission to contact them by email
Team up with one or more other
businesses to offer a bigger prize to share costs and email addresses on the
A common trend is to offer a free
product item for email address.
Fish bowls are traditional, but
they work. (have a daily drawing for a smaller prize)
Use any of the other tips to focus
on gathering email addresses.
Coloring contests, writing
contests, any kind of drawing attracts attention.
with your customers
with your customers. It can be either via a newsletter, a letter written to
them personally or paying them a visit. This is the reason you see famous
brands like Coca Cola, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Colgate spending millions of
dollars for advertising even though most people know these brands. Even a kid
knows who Colonel Sanders is. By regularly staying connected, your customers
will feel like they are an important part of your establishment and this will
encourage them to return far more often. There are a few key things to remember
when creating a newsletter. Firstly, you will have to do it on a regularly
basis but do not do it every two weeks then this will be a junk mail. A monthly
newsletter is more than enough. Keep your content interesting and add in exclusive
offers here and there. As for me apart from printing flyers and putting on cars
and in mailboxes, I sent personally signed letters highlighting our specials to
our regulars. This is what I have learnt recently from a marketing article which
says to take care of the 20 percent that give us 80 percent of your business.
The 80/20 rule. But you must remember to continuously add more names to your
list. Reason being people might shift or get transferred out. So, you will
constantly have a new list. Each letter is signed by name of the regular
instead of Dear Sir. So, they will feel that I am writing to them personally.
As my list is getting bigger, I will be buying a stamp with my signature on it
so as I can sign more letters. Bahrain is known for its diversity and multicultural
community, you will find a variety of festivals here. I visit our regulars
bringing some festive goodies to say hi and thank them for their business. When
I visit the westerner’s regulars during the festive season, I bring stolen bread
or chocolate. For the Muslim regulars, I visit them during the Eid al Fitr
bringing halwa and the Indian regulars bringing Indian sweets. This makes our
regulars feel important and we are their first choice when they need a place to
dine. You do not have to go on the day of the festival, I do it about a week
before the holidays.
That’s all for
today, give a try to the tips above or start some of the action and let me know
how you customer reacted, share your thought. To the next article.