Marketing Your Concept on a Budget

At last week’s North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show in Columbus, Ohio, consultant Scott Anthony analyzed strategies that restaurant operators with a limited budget and resources can employ to market their enterprises. Fast Casual delineates an overview of the most effective budget-friendly methods, as told by Anthony:

1) Employees

According to Anthony, “We all have good employees, we just need to motivate them and get them engaged.” Giving employees business cards that include a promotion (e.g. a 50-percent discount) and incentivizing them on who receives the most redemption for those cards, is one of the cheapest marketing strategies. In return, this can help generate new business while simultaneously improving employee morale.

2) Distributors

Befriend your distributors, and they just may help boost your sales. Anthony referred to the example of his partnership with the Grande Cheese Company. Grande Cheese Company provides marketing tools to operators who use its products. Additionally, they send a rep to a business to photograph and analyze the menu in order to launch a menu mailing plan. Menu-mailers have prevent o be a cost-effective strategy to communicate an enterprise’s message to guests and potential guests, and he has seen an increase in 20% in business after beginning menu mailing with his own enterprise.

3) The Community

Reaching out to the community is just as important as building relationships with employees and distributors. Anthony recommends joining the chamber of commerce, sending letters to local businesses introducing your concept, and discussing the potential for promotional incentives with those same businesses. Anthony’s efforts in forging ties with the community had a high return on investment for his concept. By sending out 1,000 discount cards to local businesses over a two-month period, Anthony managed to garnered new customers.

4) Social Media

Social Media serves as a cost-effective strategy to personalize your concept. Guests want to become acquainted with management, which is simple to achieve through social media. Social media posts do not necessarily need to be an ad or anything related to the restaurant for that matter; a humorous meme will do the job.

“Do fun things people can share. Keep it fun,” Anthony said.

5) “The Attitude of Gratitude”

A Harvard study, the “gratitude effect,” showed that people who are thanked have a near-100-percent return rate. To channel this effect, Anthony sends out thank you cards including an offer each year around Thanksgiving to his most loyal guests using data accumulated from the POS system. His efforts earn an 80 percent response.

“When you keep thanking your customers, they will feel appreciated and they will come back,” Anthony said.

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