Our bar / restaurant industry is behind the curve on developing mobile friendly (responsive) websites, social media and other trends in mobile that are bringing big changes in customer habits. This should be a marketing priority for every restaurant, bar, nightclub, hotel and other hospitality operator! Shoot me a note for help with this – easy, proven, profitable moves you can make quickly. Cheers! TimTheBarGuy
Trying to decide where to spend your online money and time to promote your business? I thought this video interview of online marketing strategist Perry Marshall by Tanya Benedicto Klich of Entrepreneur Magazine was helpful in showing how to decide if Facebook or Google is the best fit. For my restaurants and bar clients we always do both, but as you can see from the video Facebook is usually going to be a great fit for hospitality businesses.
I give Olive Garden props for its attention getting twist on discounts: their “Never Ending Pasta Pass,” good for seven weeks of unlimited pasta, salad, bread and Coke products. But when their website crashed and people could not purchase the pass it had a boomerang effect, with disappointed customers taking to social media to complain.
Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing at Olive Garden told USA Today: “What we’re trying to do is get some attention. It’s sure to provoke a reaction.” It did, and overall that is a positive. The 1,000 available passes sold out in less than 45 minutes.
Here’s my thoughts on a few ways the promotion could have avoided the negatives and pumped up the positives:
(1) Have fans register over a longer period of time to win one of the 1,000 passes, avoiding website crashes and allowing more time for hype. They could give all info except credit card data when registering, then the winners would be notified and they could pay $100 for the pass.
(2) To boost social media, create a couple of more social media hoops for people entering to jump through such as taking a pic of themselves or a group at Olive Garden (no purchase necessary of course) and posting it online to enter, and earning more chances to win by inviting friends to enter via social media. This would also slant the contest toward regular OG customers.
(3) Have a countdown to the drawing using emails to customers who entered, to establish Olive Garden emails as belonging in the customers’ “primary inbox.” Future marketing will be more likely to be seen by those customers and others following the news of the upcoming drawing.
(4) To continue pumping up social media, make the offer redemption contingent on recipients taking photos and uploading them when visiting as they redeem their “Never Ending Pasta Pass,” or if this is too much to ask, create an incentive for them to do so through a new contest or an additional free week of pasta.
(5) I would have suggested from the beginning to just make this 1,000 prizes, without the $100 charge, for 3 reasons. First, what is $100,000 to a large chain like Olive Garden? Second, making it a prize instead of a discount does not devalue the food and avoids the negative perception that Olive Garden is getting desperate. Third, if it’s a prize instead of a purchase it should be easier to control customer redemption problems such as table sharing of the food.
We’d love to hear your comments and any other ideas/thoughts on this offer and the discount mania in the restaurant/bar business.
At A-List Marketing, we link proven bar and restaurant best practices over decades with all the latest innovations vital to succeeding today. Please reach out if you’d like to learn about joining our client family, many of whom have included us on their team from pre-opening to 10 year anniversaries and beyond.
You have to follow social media clues to find the stores where you can buy a 99 PACK of Peacemaker Anytime Ale from Austin Beerworks. Check it out…
Thanks to Thrillist for this story – their Food and Drink Section is the Boss.
edited 9/6/14 with some additional ideas:
Looking for some original ideas to help your restaurant or tavern pump up customer engagement with your social media? Try using your menus, something almost every customer spends time looking at! I came up with a few quick ideas, feel free to try them. And please share your successes and ideas with me. Cheers!
(1) Have 1 extreme item on your food menu and one on your drink menu, that are irresistible for customers to take a photo and share. I swear this “bloody mary with a whole chicken” picture showed up dozens of times in my social media feeds. Even more serious restaurants can come up with something like this – let me know if you need help.
(2) Have at least 1 item customers can customize and take a photo of. Example: build your own bloody mary, or a dessert sundae that customers can top themselves with several squeeze or sprinkle ingredients. Have a contest where customers vote on the most creative “build your own” item photo.
(3) Have an additional kids menu item that children can customize and parents take a photo of. Example: “build your own pizza” that has been successful at 7 of my pizzeria clients’ locations.
(4) Have a photo of each menu item (food and drink) online that people can easily share and list a shortlink to it on the menu next to the item description. Make it easy for your customers share beautiful pix of your food. An even better way to do this is through an app your customers can download.
(5) Have a social media posting contest listed right on your menu with a monthly prize of free dinner or some other good value.
A-List Marketing can help you make your restaurant or bar exceptionally successful, contact us for a free consultation!
Bonus Idea: Have a photographer in your restaurant with a step and repeat on a regular basis when it’s busy to take photos of customers they can easily share, and you can post on social media. This photographer can also take food, decor and crowd photos for your website and social media channels.
People love to take photos when they’re out dining in a restaurant. Instead of bitching about it, turn it into a great social media marketing opportunity!
Thoughts on Yelp and this lawsuit?
Yelp(s yelp), a site that lets consumers post reviews of local businesses, allowed fake negative reviews to remain on its website in order to extract advertising money from local businesses, according to a class action complaint filed Wednesday in San Francisco.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Yelp shareholders by Joseph Curry, who claims that the company’s executives misled investors about its business practices in order to inflate Yelp’s stock price.
Specifically, Curry claims that Yelp used press releases and financial statements to tout its quality “first hand reviews” as well as its algorithms that screened out unreliable postings; however, Curry claims that in reality:
Algorithms purportedly designed to screen unreliable reviews did not comprehensively do so, and instead, the Company allowed such unreliable reviews to remain prominent while the Company tried to sell services designed to suppress negative reviews or make them go away; and
A Yelp spokesperson said the company has not seen the…
View original post 152 more words
In the online world the axiom is: Content is King!
But in the restaurant and bar business “content” is the guest experience in our establishments and our on site activities/promotions. Social media is a great amplifier but if there’s nothing interesting on our menus and promotional calendars, and we are not capturing fun customer experiences and interesting activities in our locations, viral social media will never happen.
What happens and is captured in the four walls is the key to a great social media presence.
Posting is the easy part. Creating something worth posting is the trick. Garbage in garbage out!
A-List Marketing can help develop techniques to create and capture RestauBar activities that are fun, interesting and potentially viral.