Partnerships that Pull People into your Restaurant

by Halisi

I’ve heard some say that you shouldn’t create campaigns to drive people into your restaurant during off-peak hours/days.  The reasoning being that if people wanted to visit your restaurant during those times they would do so.  I disagree.   While I believe in incentivizing your guests to visit more often during the times when they prefer to; it is also wise to offer different incentives to generate traffic during slow periods.

In this economy all small business owners are looking for inexpensive ways to generate more business.  Partnering with other non-competing entrepreneurs can be a winning solution.   Be creative, be relevant, and always be aware of what your guests would be interested in.

During the Toyota recall debacle I read on Restaurant Marketing Blog, an idea from Joel that I believe is worth repeating.  He suggested partnering with the local Toyota dealership and offer your Toyota-owning guests a Q&A session and perhaps a discount on maintenance, etc.  You could call it Dinner with the Dealers. This is a creative idea that was also relevant.

Along the same lines you could partner with some local trusted mortgage brokers and offer a seminar to your guests about refinancing and the new incentives regarding upside down mortgages.  Have the speakers arrive about 30 minutes after your start time so that all of your guests have their meals on the table by the time the speaker begins.

In the fall or winter offer brides to be a luncheon with wedding experts.  Invite florists, pastry chefs, bridal store owners, seamstresses and wedding planners.  Give all of them about 10 minutes in front of the ladies during lunch and hold a Q&A session over coffee.

If your restaurant is located in a suburban area with a high concentration of stay at home moms, consider offering a late lunch for moms with toddlers.  Invite clowns, face painters, etc., to entertain the tikes while the moms can have some down time and adult conversation.  Each mom gets a gift packet with discount cards for all of the entertainers.

If your restaurant has a room used for private parties that is an ideal location for your event.  Otherwise cordon off a section of your restaurant for the event.  Put a sign on your easel so that other guests can be aware of what they’re missing and/or ask about the next event.  Giving your guests compelling reasons to visit your restaurant during off hours is good business and the events themselves could drive trial.  If you create a monthly “Dinner with the Experts” event; your guests might start considering your restaurant as an option during those off hours.

Have you created some interesting  partnerships that drove traffic?  Why don’t you share them in the comments section.

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