Keep Restaurant Marketing Fresh & Full of Excuses

These days, there’s lists for any occasion or situation. They’re to the point, focused on a specific area of interest, and if meaningful, usually offer a quick take away. So for this November, we thought we’d share this list of restaurant marketing ideas from RestaurantNews.com:

http://www.restaurantnews.com/restaurant-marketing-ideas-for-november-2016

Now why are lists like this helpful to a restaurant’s marketing efforts? Two reasons:

  • Freshness
  • Excuses

When it comes to escaping the day to day grind, most people welcome ways to add variety to their routine. We all need something to look forward to. We may not always be fully aware of this, either. It can often be a dormant need. Our job as restaurateurs is to tap this need on the shoulder and whisper just loud enough to stir curiosity. To start an internal dialogue that leads to justification. Suddenly, there’s a shift of priorities that are stronger than what our guest’s “busy” plans were. Who doesn’t love an excuse to go experience something new or loved? If you scan the above list of marketing ideas for the month of November, consider your customer’s viewpoint. Tempt them with an excuse to visit your restaurant with a big group, for a special cause, or perhaps during a time other than the “normal”? How about an excuse to visit the bar for snacks and a beer?

Think about some of the all-time classic excuses to indulge or imbibe. For example, the entire Holiday season stretch gets things going. Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day are almost too easy. They’re probably in the top ten along with New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s and Father’s Days, among of few others. But these are Hallmark Card easy. Restaurant marketing needs to be done daily. It’s the hidden dates between these bigger dates where our loyal customers live their lives waiting for a “reason” to catch their attention. It’s these customers that keep the doors open when external influences may impact revenue in a negative way. Like clothes pins keeping a sheet in place, these customers are the most likely to keep a restaurant’s success in place, month after month, year after year.

What’s great about a list like this is that each restaurant can put together their own fully branded excuse to get people to try something new. For the busy restaurateur, glancing at the greater horizon can make it easy to keep things fresh within the natural flow of operations. That is, do unique and fun things that are consistent with the restaurant concept while enhancing the customer experience. Keeping lists like this handy can stir our own curiosity, too. They can break us out of our own routine. When we’re invigorated from new ideas, when we have an excuse to break free, we get to pass it on to our guests- in food and service and throughout the energy in the dining room and kitchen.

Let’s look at three random days from RestaurantNew.com’s list for November and see what they’re all about:

  • Nov 21: World Hello Day: According to http://www.worldhelloday.org, “World Hello Day” is about promoting communication to send a message of peace by saying hello to at least 10 people throughout the day. Didn’t know that.
  • Nov 22: National Cashew Day: For cashew lovers, shouldn’t be too hard to create a special menu. But, hold on. What’s a cashew’s true identity, anyway? According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashew:
    • It grows from the base of a cashew apple, not inside the fruit
    • In the same family as poison ivy and poison sumac
    • The oil from their shells are used in insecticides, brake linings, and rubber and plastic manufacture
    • Health benefits from another blog post on cashers claim cashews can
      • diminish migraines
      • improve cognitive ability
      • lower blood pressure
      • protect skin from UV damage
      • contains zero cholesterol and primarily the “good” kind of fat (same kind also found in olive oil)
      • But, in spite of all the health benefits, the smoke from roasting can be life threatening. Typical. It’s healthy but it can kill you.
    • As a cashew bonus, we invite you to enjoy this video for a more formal introduction to the cashew: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdMjW3W6SAY. The lovely narration, music and production value are well worth the 6 minutes.
  • Nov 29: In the US this is an easy one for those locked down for a few days after Thanksgiving. It’s “Throw Our Your Leftovers Day!” How’s that for an easy excuse to get people to take that dredded step to clean out the fridge, and reward themselves for the effort (not to mention those warriors that have done all the cooking, cleaning and hosting for their friends and family!) by going somewhere to let somebody else do the cooking and cleaning…

It’s all about finding the right “seed” that fits. Find one little gold nugget that sparks an idea and kindles creativity. Rather than thinking of “hello” as just another introduction while getting somebody from the host stand to their table, turn an ordinary expression into an excuse to book parties of 10 or more on November 21- in the name of “World Peace.” A tasting menu, special cocktail or combination of contrasts could be offered in celebration of the cashew. Since November 22 is a national day, what are other’s doing to celebrate? There are many excuses to rediscover something that’s made the cashew the most widely produced nut in the world. Fast and easy is key. Maybe not a full tasting menu. Why not a special bar snack? Tap a local seasonal craft beer. Put the two together. We now have warm salty toasted cashews included with every order of the special ale.

The big take away here is that there’s a lot of special things about each day of the month. There’s special things everywhere. Many of these things will have a direct connection to your restaurant’s concept and your customers. Some could shake things up and open entirely new opportunities. That’s the nugget to find and have a little fun with. November is a great time to stay curious and create marketing ideas that stir curiosity, passion and keeps it fresh. Find one thing on the list and dig into what catches your eye. It just might be the excuse we all need to get out of the house.

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