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Gone fishin'

Any good fisherman will tell you to "fish when the fish are bitin'." Sounds like common sense, so why do we often ignore the obvious when it comes to our own business? For example, most operators market during slow times. Our fisherman friend would ask, "Shouldn't you market when you have the most customers to market to?

In a word, YES. The best time to promote your operation, your food, your service and your special events is when it's busy! Take advantage of a restaurant full of happy guests and people waiting for tables. There are dozens of ways to market, promote and advertise to the guests who already know and love you...

  • Looking for a way to liven up those slow lunch shifts? Cross promote lunch during busy dinner shifts by offering a gift certificate good toward a lunchtime meal.
  • Busy holiday evenings? Use the crowds to promote "specials" on not-so-busy nights or day parts. We've suggested promoting Father's Day business to your Mother's Day customers.
  • Use special table tents or invitation cards presented with guest checks to spread the word about theme nights.
  • Want to boost weeknight business? Pick a menu favorite, like prime rib, lobster or a signature item, and offer it at a special price on weeknights. Tempt your guests by sampling these items on busy week-ends.
  • The French have a custom of offering amuse-gueules, little samples of entrees, sides or appetizers immediately upon being seated. The literal translation means "entertain your mouth." It's a great way to increase sales of certain high profit items and get your customers to try new items.
  • Lucky enough to have a waiting list? This is when the fish are really bitin'. Here's your opportunity to keep your hungry guests happy, test new menu items, promote off nights and create instant good will. We've outlined the steps of a professional, fully-integrated sampling program .

Resist the temptation to forget about marketing during busy summer months. Remember it takes $4 to get a new customer, but only $1 to get an existing customer to come back more frequently. Don't let the fish, or the customers get away. Concentrate your efforts when and where the fish are bitin.

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