4 walls, 4 blocks, 4 miles

You’ve got three areas of influence you should focus on in local marketing, explained consultant Tom Feltenstein at the 2010 Restaurant Leadership Conference: within your four walls, within four blocks of your restaurant and within four miles. Feltenstein riffed on marketing possibilities. Here are the highlights.

4 walls

  • Everything must be clean and well-kept—including the staff.
  • Recruit great people first. Skills can be taught.
  • Staff should identify new customers and tell the manager.
  • Insist cooks meet-and-greet with guests regularly.
  • Empower certain positions with extra pay and distinctive uniforms (i.e. cashiers).
  • Let employees surprise customers with instant-win coupons.
  • Reward long-term employees on their date-of-hire anniversary.
  • On Friday nights have servers wear a $10 bill with a pin that says, “If I’m not smiling, this Hamilton is yours.” If they still have it at the end of the night, they get to keep the $10.
  • Create personalized business cards for your employees with titles like “POS Guru” or “Server Extraordinaire.”
  • Send out an employee newsletter with birthdays, accomplishments, new hire introductions, new store offerings, etc.
  • Use signage at the hostess stand for new menu items.
  • Use the inside of the bathroom stall doors to promote in-house events or specials.
  • Create a “Worst Seat in the House” and give anybody who sits there 50 percent off their meal.

 4 blocks

  • Walk outside your doors and personally meet every business manager/owner and resident within 10 minutes of your location. 
  • Drop by a neighborhood block party with a case of free refreshments.
  • Advertise at the nearest bus or train stops and include walking directions to your door. 
  • Create a fake parking ticket to place on cars outside your restaurant enticing customers into your site. 
  • Set up a fake picketing line of employees and their friends with signs that say, “I love working here” and “Our food is fantastic!”

 4 miles

  • Hire 15 people to take samples door-to-door. 
  • Buy a new residents list each month, and send them a coupon for a free product or service.
  • Welcome new businesses to the neighborhood with coupons for a free coffee or cookie.
  • Give your delivery drivers magnetic business cards to hand out to customers with fun titles like, “Road Warrior” and “Have Pizza Will Travel.” 
  • Announce new menu items via email to all your customers – include a photograph! 
  • Surprise a doctor’s office with a free lunch and copies of your menu 
  • Rent a food booth at a local festival. 
  • Take photos at school sporting events and have a “Find your Face” reward.
  • Sponsor a discount day especially for firefighters and police officers in your area.
  • Provide special coupons to nearby theatres and require a ticket stub accompanying the coupon when redeemed.


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