Restaurant Rockstars Episode 393

The Power of Restaurant Marketing & Loyalty Programs

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Restaurant marketing and building restaurant loyalty can be challenging.

Long gone are coupons and get the 5th one free, but how do you make your restaurant stand out today?

In this episode of the Restaurant Rockstars Podcast, I speak with Court Allam, Founder of GoExploreLocal. Court is a restaurant marketing guru who has a loyalty model based on membership and exclusivity.

We discuss various restaurant marketing techniques including the importance of building a database for lead generation, the evolution of marketing tools from email newsletters to sophisticated digital strategies, and the power of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

We also cover the importance of time management for restaurant owners and utilizing Gen Z staff to create compelling content. Court shares insights on VIP clubs and subscription models exemplified by programs like Panera’s Unlimited Sip Club.

We explore the significance of creating unique experiences for customers, the value of cross-promotions, and how restaurants can stay competitive by leveraging loyalty programs and innovative marketing ideas.

Listen to this episode as he speaks about the power of restaurant marketing including:

  • Today’s restaurant marketing challenges
  • Why spending money on experiments rarely works
  • Restaurant loyalty programs… the good, the bad & the ugly
  • Effective Social Media strategies
  • Restaurant Subscription Clubs, how they work and what cuisines do the best
  • Trackable marketing programs that ensure ROI

Court is also offering my listeners his Free “365 Marketing Planner” at this link: https://info.goexplorelocal.com/link-marketers

And don’t forget for just $7, The Restaurant Profit Maximizer course will show you proven ways to boost profit in your restaurant. Check it out here https://restaurantrockstars.com/profitmaximizer

Then, go Rock YOUR Profits and YOUR Restaurant!

Roger

Episode Highlights:

  • Diving Deep into Restaurant Marketing with a Guru
  • From High School Teacher to Restaurant Marketing Expert
  • The Power of Email Marketing and Lead Generation
  • Navigating Marketing Challenges in the Restaurant Industry
  • Leveraging Social Media for Restaurant Success
  • Creating Engaging Content and Navigating Privacy Concerns
  • Exploring the Potential of Restaurant VIP Clubs and Subscription Models
  • Maximizing Loyalty Programs and Subscription Success
  • Unlocking Unique Customer Experiences
  • Elevating Loyalty with VIP Treatments
  • Leveraging Analytics for Business Growth
  • Adapting Programs Across Restaurant Types
  • Maximizing Marketing with the 365 Planner
  • Harnessing Social Media and Community Events
  • Strategic Planning with the 365 Restaurant Marketing Planner

Connect with our guest:

FB & IG:  @GoExploreLocal

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@goexplorelocal

Website: https://info.goexplorelocal.com/link-marketers

Hey there, welcome back to the podcast. This week’s episode is all about marketing. I’m speaking with a marketing guru. His name is Court Allum, and he’s with Go Explore Local, and we’re going to talk all about loyalty programs and VIP clubs and how we can treat our guests with VIP experiences and make them feel like they’re Really, really special.

It’s that Cheers formula. Everybody wants to go where people know their name and we’re going to give you that crash course in the ins and outs of digital marketing, the right platforms, whether it’s TikTok or Instagram, creating quick videos and driving more business. So stay tuned. You’re not going to want to miss this.

You’re tuned in to the Restaurant Rockstars Podcast. Powerful ideas to rock your restaurant. Here’s your host, Roger Beaudoin.

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Welcome back, everyone. This is the Restaurant Rockstars podcast, engaging topics to help operators run stronger, more profitable businesses. Glad you’re here with me today. Court, how’s it going? Court? Welcome to the show.

I am good.

How are you, Roger? It’s great to be on here. You’re the rock star. Always learn something new from you, Roger.

And you are a restaurant marketing guru and coach. So I’m glad to have you because this episode is all about restaurant marketing. And that is such a powerful topic that is so relevant to every operator out there. So we’re going to dive deep. So let’s start with your hospitality backstory. I always ask this question because you can take it back as far as you would like to.

Some people, they started as teenagers in the restaurant business. They discovered the passion for it later in life. What’s your story?

 , I really, I was a former high school teacher and a football coach. That was my background. Left that and got into social media and really started focusing on restaurants probably about 10 years ago.

 Worked with an Indian restaurant and I learned a lot just about food and it was so cool hearing the chef just tell the story about the food and the food. How passionate he was and I made videos about it. And, then when I started doing marketing, I fell in really with restaurants and helping them get butts in seats.

That’s what we say rather than just trying to get likes and shares. We want to get butts in seats and our strategy for doing that has always been building a database, help lead generation. You don’t think sometimes restaurants need leads, but they do, they need a sales funnel.

And so we help them do that. And that was, let’s see here, six, seven years ago when we started doing that, and then, as the world ended, right? And everything paused, and all of a sudden, restaurants had, empty. And they were like, how do we get butts in seats? And we were like do you have a way to contact them?

Do you have a list? No, like so many people were like, no, we have no way, but the restaurants we were working with did fine because we had 10, 000 emails and we could blast out and we could say, take and bake pasta special, and all of those things people were doing to get through it. And, because we had a sales system, we had a lead generation process in place.

It allowed them to just stay engaged with their customers and that’s what we’ve evolved and it’s evolved into some different things that hopefully we’ll talk about. But that’s my background. And then I’ve just, it’s led into consulting, \ and coaching for both restaurant owners and marketers, what’s working today.

Best practices, ideas. So that’s what we’re doing.

That’s excellent. when we talk about lead generation and having a list that takes me back to my restaurant career for 23 years, but I was an old school guy back then. And I sold these restaurants 10 years ago, but back then we had an email capture and we sent out.

A bi weekly newsletter that was custom branded to the restaurant. There’s MailChimp, there’s Constant Contact. These were some of the platforms back then, but that was way old school. Things have evolved so much forward. I think we probably had three or four thousand people on our list, which was great.

We communicated specials and upcoming entertainment and events. It ended with a trivia question. It was interactive. We awarded prizes. It really worked for us. But now you can take that basic idea and take it into the 25th century with digital marketing, and I know that’s what you specialize in. So let’s talk about what are some of today’s biggest marketing challenges, Court?

For restaurant owners, I think it’s time. When I talk to owners, they’re like I’m doing so many things, wearing so many hats, marketing sometimes becomes an afterthought. And, for me as a business owner, also, I don’t know about you, Roger. Sometimes my own marketing is what I forget about because we’re helping so many other restaurants with their marketing.

And I get it, sometimes it’s the last thing you’re thinking about cause you have employee issues and all these things. And so one of the things we’re really helping owners with is how to manage their time, how to utilize some of the resources they already have. They have maybe some Gen Z folk that are working for them that could, help them make videos and silly Tik Toks and things.

They don’t have to do it all. Time is the most important. And just really thinking about where your customers hang out online ,

or just hang out, where do they hang out? And how can you get in front of them? Instagram, right? That’s where most restaurants are hanging out, but maybe not everybody.

It really might depend, and it might depend on where you are. But really thinking about that, if you’re a restaurant that’s thinking about doing radio ads, or TV ads, I don’t know if that’s the best ROI on your dollar. You need to be getting in front of your people every single day.

And where are people on their phones? How much percent of the day are people on their phones? So if you can send emails. Even if they don’t open it, at least you’re staying top of mind. You’re showing up on their phone. And, they remember, oh, take, we’ve got take out, pizza special tonight.

I don’t want to cook tonight. Let’s go get pizza, so I would say, time and then just get grabbing people’s attention, staying in front of them because there’s so much on social media, right? So much. Somehow you have to stand apart and be different. And I think that’s a key.

I think that’s something you talk a lot about, right? How to stand apart from everybody else

around you.

Yeah, for sure. I’m really glad that you gave us that perspective and especially the radio and the TV piece. And I know my audience has heard this before, I’ve always believed it is absolutely essential to be able to track your marketing. So you know, is it working? Where are people coming from? What’s the return on that investment? Is this working? Okay. And this is working fantastic. And then you make those decisions and sometimes we fall into that trap of, Oh I’ll try this as an experiment because I know when I owned restaurants, people were constantly knocking at the back door. The phone was constantly ringing and you’re just trying to, Operate your business and people are catching you off guard with no appointments and, Hey, how about this? If we put you on the radio, it’s like, all these people are going to drive in on the way to work are going to think you’re a restaurant tonight and come and you say, gee, that sounds interesting. I’ll try that. But unless people walk through the door and say, Hey, I heard you on the radio today, and that brought me in, which never happens. You’re never going to know if it works. So thank you for the emphasis on that. Let’s go back to the social media piece, because you mentioned Instagram, which obviously seemed to be the number one platform for restaurants. But then you also talked about TikTok. And I know that started with my kids, like years ago, it’s like my kids were little and they’re making these videos and they’re like constantly in TikTok. What’s that? And now it’s like it’s moved beyond that generation and. Every age is using it, right? And you’re an expert. You make these small little reels and you do YouTube videos and you’re really into that. So that’s a really cool thing. But do you recommend that you mentioned Gen Z and every restaurant has people that, that do, they’re on their phones all the time. So even if you’re not good at doing this, or you don’t know where to begin, chances are somebody on your staff does, right?

Yeah, exactly. I went to a restaurant the other day and I was just looking at their Instagram. They had nothing on their Instagram. They had one post and I was talking to the staff about it. And they were like the manager was like, yeah, all of our staff, they do TikToks on their own pages, but wearing like our stuff, like they wear our shirts at the restaurant doing TikToks.

I recommend that.

But it’s on their pages and I’m like, have them make stuff for your page.

For you. Wearing your stuff.

Yep. Yeah. Just give them, just say, go. What’s a trending thing happening? They know there’s like dances and trending sounds and things. They know what they are. And. Yeah, let them have fun with it. I think that’s just an easy way. They’ll just take it and run with it. And I think it’s important. TikTok, it’s just so quick\ because how long do you have until someone decides whether they’re going to swipe or not?

Yeah, catch their attention immediately. Something compelling, something shock value, something awe. It’s like I’m glued to that for a millisecond and I’m not going to swipe off. You’re absolutely right.

Yep. And almost like the worst production and the more ridiculous, the better sometimes, like it does not need to, like it should not look professional.

Like it should look just raw and that makes it better. And like people love, like when I do videos, Just like when I pull apart the burger and just see every or I’m like a lot of my videos I start by taking and that’s how I hook people I at the beginning of my videos when I go into a restaurant I’ll it’ll start with me like taking a big bite of the burger and just like stuff running out But it like grabs your attention, right? And that’s how you like can hook people in and just people like that messiness and the realness and, just having the fun in the restaurant. What’s the experience like? So I think that’s really important to share, not just the food. I think you need to show the experience also.

Yeah, people having fun in your place. Now, does that cross any lines with permissions and stuff, because you could have a full restaurant and you want to post something on a site, and then, you’ve got all these people having a great time in your restaurant, and that’s a really powerful post, yet there’s this privacy thing. Do you run into that, and what’s your best advice about that?

That’s a really good question. That’s something we always think about and it’s tough. For example, I was at a restaurant the other day and filming and doing some video and it’s fast, casual people were going through and I was like videoing the staff making the food. But I asked every person that came through, I’m like, Hey, I’m just doing some social media videos. Would you care if I, just film and some of them, most, everybody actually was like, Oh yeah, I don’t care. And some of them, I showed their face and I asked can I show your face in this and they were fine.

So I think getting people’s permission, is a big thing. We also do things where we ask people to submit photos of like their experience. So we’ll have a post that says, show us your experience at Rogers Cafe. Take a picture and post it. And that’s like giving us some user generated content.

And we say in there, by submitting, we, we may use these in upcoming social media posts, but that thing gives you some of the people also, and they’ve okayed and signed, they’ve given you their permission that you can use it. So that’s another way we do that.

Interesting you mentioned that. It brought up the whole, as long as we’re talking about photos and videos, and this is something that I did in my restaurants to great success. We sold a lot of retail merchandise around a photo contest that we had every year, and we encouraged people to take really unusual, different, something that’s going to catch your attention, photos, somewhere in the world wearing something.

And you wouldn’t believe the creativity that people came up with. We had one guy. had a friend who was he was a friend with a state trooper in his state and he literally staged his arrest on the side of a highway getting handcuffed wearing one of our t shirts by a state police officer and he submitted that.

That was a winner one year. There was another guy in India who stuck his head in an elephant’s mouth wearing our t shirt. That was a win. So it’s But we never did the new school stuff. We did a lot of internal marketing and we obviously hung these things up framed in the restaurant and people said, Oh, how can I enter the contest?

So it was a word of mouth thing, but now it’s like you’re triggering a thought, any unique promotion in your restaurant, such as that, or something you do to great success, you put that up on social media and then suddenly that drives traffic, that could drive retail merchandise sales, that could create problems.

Buzz for your place. So you’re triggering all kinds of thoughts here. That’s bringing me back, but just triggering ideas here. Cause we’re brainstorming a little too.

Yeah, and I love the merch idea, the t shirt idea. I think if, especially if you can do something fun, there’s a, down in Stillwater Oklahoma State, they have a bar called Eskimo Joe’s and they’re really known for their merch. And anytime you see someone wearing an Eskimo Joe’s shirt but they’re putting their advertisement out into the wild. They’ve got people walking around with a billboard that says Eskimo Joe’s, they take pictures and they tag, tag Eskimo Joe’s. And so you’re turning your best customers into like ambassadors that are helping you spread the word.

And I think that’s a really underutilized thing that that restaurants can do because it just so naturally ties in people want to take pictures.

Yeah.

In their clothes and they want to share it, and you’re turning them into your salespeople. Basically,

that’s absolutely a powerful idea.

But to do that, you need to create a brand first. It can’t just be Joe’s restaurant unless Joe’s restaurant is your brand. What’s unique and special and different that allows you to sell merchandise that has appeal to the guests because there’s an image, there’s an aura there’s an understanding and identification of what that business is.

And that’s just the foundational element of brand building. But retail merch programs can be so powerful, additional profit center. And like you said, Court, it’s like people are paying you to advertise your business wherever they go. And that is powerful and that can go viral. And then when we put these things on social media, then it spreads.

And this is a foundational element of marketing, but it really works. If you’ve got a brand. So thanks for bringing that up. Let’s talk about loyalty programs. Now, there are good loyalty programs that seem to work. And then there’s the old stuff that, there used to be the coupon card. It’s you’re bringing this in and every fifth punch gets a free sandwich. That’s been done to death a long time ago, but what have you seen that really works for restaurant loyalty? Because every restaurant seems to have a program, but they don’t all work equally well.

Absolutely. And, especially with all the different POSs that have their own built in loyalty, as you mentioned, I saw one the other day that was Basically get a hundred points where every point was a dollar. Spend a hundred dollars. You get 5. I’m like, that’s lame. I mean that, that seems like a lot of work to get 5 off.

How many times do I, I’ve got to come in five times to get 5 off. And

yeah,

and I really believe, the mailers, like everybody’s done the mailers, the Valpax, where you send out all the coupons and such. And we always heard it attracts coupon seekers. People that come in, they just want the coupon and they never come back.

They’re only, or only when you, they send out more coupons is only when they come back. And the other problem is in today’s world, what we talk about, what we’re just talking about, you’re renting an audience. So what I mean by that is every time you want to get in front of Bowpacks, all those addresses.

You have to pay them to send them out again, right? Versus owning an audience where you’re building that audience. Like we mentioned, emails, phone numbers collecting their birthdays so you can send them a birthday offer. A lot of loyalty programs don’t have that. Where they’re building a database.

You can’t do that with coupons. You’ve got to get them into the store and then maybe they have a tablet where you can sign up for their loyalty program. That’s one of the other problems is, the POSs have a tablet there where, yeah, when you pay, you can put in your email address and it’ll then correspond in every, like you said, 100 points or whatever.

But that’s only people that found their way into the restaurant, right? People that made it all the way to the register. It’s not doing anything to bring someone that’s never been in before or even heard of you before, right? That’s the goal. We got to get people in. If your loyalty program is only people can join in the restaurant, you’re missing a big opportunity to build loyalty of new people to get new butts in seats,

right on. Let’s move on to restaurant VIP clubs and subscription models. Cause you’re an expert at that. So give us the ins and outs of a VIP club and what makes.

Yeah. That was the natural evolution really after COVID. We were like, how can we help restaurants? Generate revenue without butts in seats, right?

Because that’s the model, always been the model. You got to have butts in seats and then delivery came and ghost kitchens, but what else could they do? And then we saw Panera, right? You’re familiar with Panera

. Very much\

I’m well familiar.

Yeah, so they have 11 a month, unlimited sip club. So it’s 11 a month. You get unlimited coffee, soda, tea, everything. They report that average visits have gone from four to 10 a month of their subscribers, and it now accounts for 25 percent of their total transactions.

Of all Panera are these subscriptions. Whether the person comes in one time, no times, or 30 times, right? They are generating that recurring revenue. We were like, wow, what if there was a way that merchants could have their own monthly membership and like a gym membership where people are paying every single month to get exclusive offers on their phone.

And so we built a platform called Go Explore Local. And it works like a digital punch card. People, customers will sign up and usually we have two levels. We want to first capture their information. And so that’s going back to that loyalty piece, and we dangle out some kind of, Hey, get a buy one, get one burger just for joining.

They give us their name, email, and phone number. The restaurant can then use that, put it into a MailChimp, as you mentioned and talk to their customers. And, but then, the secret sauce is that we invite them to upgrade to a monthly membership, subscription. And it can be the sky’s the limit of pricing.

It could be 19 a month. It could be 300 a month. And what you’re doing is creating experiences. It doesn’t have to just be the food. How can you create experiences that people pay for? It’s a real VIP club, right? It’s not this like VIP club that’s free. It’s real and you’re really giving experiences to your best customers.

So these would be those people that, that come in one, two times a month. And if you can get them to come in three, four, five times a month. Come in more often, spending more money with you and it generates recurring revenue for you every single month that you’re generating. It’s a revenue sharing model.

The restaurant pays a one time setup fee of 197, then no monthly charge. And they earn 75 percent recurring revenue into their bank account of all those subscriptions that they sell. And the sky’s the limit on that.

You really brought that to life and it totally reminds me, now we’re talking about, one of my favorite words is affinity.

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Building affinity with your customers, I like to use the word guests, really means how do you get them to have this powerful sense of belonging or loyalty to your business. That’s my place, that’s my favorite place, I go there all the time, my friends go there, or I like it so much, I’m there.

There all the time. And now I want my friends to join me too. And this is a powerful way to do that. In my restaurants, it was a mug club, where we had 18 draft beer taps and the exclusivity factor of owning your own mug. When everyone else is drinking a pint, you stand apart by having this custom ceramic mug that you get to decorate.

And that was a membership model where people paid us 50 bucks a year to belong to that club. And we gave them all this special VIP treatment. And We noticed, to your point, we noticed that people that may used to come in twice a month are now in there three, four days a week. And they’re buying the food and they’re drinking the beer and they’re buying the retail merchandise, but they became, like you said, brand ambassadors for the business.

And now they’re marketing the Mug Club to other people and it’s growing like coral. So similarly to a VIP club, if you provide that kind of value and make them feel exclusive or special, then they’re going to promote it and it’s going to sell itself. And I love the residual income model that you started sharing about Panera and then how, that model works with GoExploreLocal.

That’s fantastic. What offers have you seen are like the most successful? Because different restaurants have different concepts, different menus, different price points, and I’d like to know what you’ve seen that really works that moves the needle.

So one of the things, so we’ve been working with bar and grills, pizza, Mexican restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, and you’re right.

Everybody’s a little bit different, right? The brewery, it’s the mug club option, just like you said, having that mug club and it’s like the norm. Cheers. Everybody knows your name, right? Norm. That’s who you’re talking to. Yeah. I love, I learned this from you, Roger.

The cash cow. So thinking about, so what did Panera do? Their cash cow and you might mention a little bit more about the cash cow, but it’s a high interest, high good margin item. Yes. Absolutely. That the restaurant can offer. Yep. Coffee. Panera can offer that every day.

Okay. We’ll give you free coffee. Give you a free soda. We’re going to bet that you’re going to buy more stuff than that. And so thinking about one of the things we do is, okay, what’s a date we offer? That if someone came in every single day of the month, that they just love you, that they could get and they would like, love.

For example, a Mexican place we work with, Chips and Queso, every day you get chips and queso, if you’re a member, right? High interest, good margin, cash cow that’s one thing. The other thing we want to do is to help menu discovery, right? Because you can build offers around maybe things you want to push, or you want people to try.

And so that’s a, that’s another way you can utilize it. And the third one would be really just beyond the food and drink, it would be experiences. It could be a ticket into a cooking class. So maybe you have a monthly cooking class, Where, you work with the chef and they’re going to teach you how to, make the pizza or whatever.

And, but it’s a punch in your, like on your punch card and you just, Hey, you want entry in? Okay. You have a punch rat here. So you can create experiences like that. Wine tastings, the same thing, whatever you can do to make it unique, and talk to your, talk to your people, talk to your customers, What would be like cool experiences?

What would be things that you would like?

I love experiences.

That sets you apart from the standard loyalty programs, the experiences part. You’re also triggering a thought about giving away things that don’t cost you anything, that get you in the door so that you’re spending money. And if we go back to my Mug Club example, every Mug Club member had a VIP swipe card that was a mag stripe card.

And every time they came into the restaurant, Or whether they drank a beer at the bar or they sat at a table and they ordered food and drinks or whatever it was, they would hand that to the bartender, the server, it would get swiped through and the POS system would automatically track not only their spending and we could award prizes to the best spenders, but we could also randomly award prizes because the POS would recognize if 30 people came in and swiped their card, it randomly picked one of those people to win a prize.

And then all of a sudden there would be a notification behind the bar. We had this big bell that the guys would bing bing. And it’s guess what you just want to, and it costs nothing. And that. People came in just because it’s like they randomly thought, hey, we might win something today.

But then we also did, here’s where I’m going with this. We had live entertainment, three nights a week. We had rock bands, we had acoustic musicians, and sometimes on weekends, obviously we would charge cover charges.

And

these mug members with their swipe cards could do two things. We would have a line out the door and there’d be a doorman letting people in when people would leave.

So we didn’t exceed capacity. But there was almost like the velvet rope where if you had a mug club card, you skipped the line and you walked right in. So that was VIP treatment, and then two, it’s like the recognition factor, everyone treated these people like VIPs, but it’s like They got free a cover.

They didn’t have to pay the cover to come in when we were charging people 10 to see this rock band or 15 bucks or whatever it was. So they felt Oh, I’m a VIP. We cut the velvet rope. We don’t have to pay anything. And we walk right on in. And it’s there was so much value added to that. And I think that’s where you’re going with this value added, unique experiences that drive people in the door and Get people to come more often and tell their friends.

And then you share all that on social media. Look at the power there is behind that. And that’s just one idea. It’s we can get creative and use a germ of an idea and make it your own and customize it. And I think you can help people do that.

Yeah that’s brilliant very similar.

These micro breweries are popping up here in Kansas City.

Went

to one the other night and there was a line out the door and there was only one person with a tablet taking orders. They didn’t have any servers. They had patio and everything, no servers, but just one person taking orders on a tablet. There were like three or four people running around getting the beers and everything.

Yeah. But I was like, and everybody had to go through her, even though we started a tab, everybody had to go back through her. And it was a 20 minute wait. And I was like, what if you just had a pass and you could just go up to the bar? Hey, I don’t, you don’t have to pay. I’ve already paid, right here, skip the line pass making those people feel really special. And that’s a no cost thing, costs you nothing, but people see the value in it and they, it makes them feel good. It’s you’re saving them time. It’s the gift of time.

Yeah. That’s that cheers formula. Like you said, norm. It’s like everyone wants to be a norm at their favorite place.

And if you could treat everyone like they’re a norm. It’s like, how powerful is that? It’s I’m only going to go to a place where they make me feel special. And everyone says, and five people that work there say, Hey, Norm, how are you? As you’re walking through the door, it’s just awesome. Hey, let’s talk about tracking now.

Let’s just say we have a subscription model in place. Now there are certain analytical tools as part of the program. It’s like what’s working and how it’s working.

Yeah. So on the backend, we can track, Where customers are signing up from because we will help set up links that they can use on QR codes, their website, on social media, and if something’s working, Double down on it, and so that’s the first thing.

Where are people coming from? How are they joining? Then, what offers are people redeeming? And that tells you a lot of information, because you can quickly see, okay, lots of people are redeeming these. Maybe we need to explore some ideas here. Here are some that people are not redeeming.

Why is that? Why are they not redeeming it? Is it because it’s a lame offer? Is it, because they don’t understand what it is? That can give you a lot of insight. I’m sure you could get into all kinds of analytics on that, Roger. I know you could and then , visitor frequency. So we can dial in and look at, okay, who are your best customers? Who are your best customers? Who are coming in the most often, spending the most. Who are your people that haven’t been in a while? How can you ping them through emails to get them back engaged and get them back in the door? So yeah, lots of analytics, and I think really making data driven decisions is something that is really important.

It’s so important, as I know you know how to break down a menu and look at the data of how to create a profitable menu. I’m obsessed with that. Yeah. For sure. Yeah. Same concept of marketing. Where is it profitable? Where are we, and let’s double down on the things that are working and cut out the things that are not.

There you go. I love that. Double down. If you’re spending, say, just for an example, if you spent, I’d spend 5, 000 every day of the week if it brought me back 8, 000 as a return or 10, 000. It’s that’s big picture thinking, but that’s what we’re talking about here. If you can prove that something really works really well, like you said, double and triple down on it and just ram it home and just keep it creative and keep it compelling and interesting and make sure the value added is there.

. Let me ask you our audience, cross section of restaurants. We’ve got full serve, we’ve got fine dining, we’ve got fast casual, we’ve got food trucks, we’ve got it all. Did these types of programs work regardless of that level of business or the concept?

Yeah, so we’re agnostic of all POSs or credit card processors. It works like a punch card. So if you’re a brick and mortar of some sort, even a food truck, and someone could give you a punch card that you punch, all you have to do is honor it. All you have to do is honor it on the phone and then punch a coupon code on your POS.

Even high end restaurants, we’ve been chatting with one that they want to do like a curated experience, a 97 one where you come in and You get a special meal and you can get a bottle of wine to go and you get, a special visit from the chef that comes to you.

The chef’s table

idea kind of thing. There’s exclusivity. I like that.

Yep. And so it’s not just the fast casuals. It can be, like I said, breweries, coffee shops, So many opportunities. I’m sure your listeners will think of something that I’ve not even thought of. Yep.

So you remarkably integrate with all POS systems.

That’s remarkable because there’s so many systems out there and everybody’s using something different. And I’m sure there’s those big name ones that everyone seems to know, but there’s a lot of obscure ones too. So it’s just a plugin.

It’s not even a plugin. It’s just all they have to do is redeem it on their phone.

They push it on the phone and offers can be a one time offer monthly, weekly, daily, or their birthday month. So if you have a monthly offer, someone comes in and redeems their May free burger. It will not reset until next month, as long as they’re still paying. So your staff just has to make sure it gets punched, just like getting a punch card, or the old school entertainment book where you tear out the coupon and hand it

in.

Oh yes, I

remember those. Same concept. And then you push it as a coupon code on the POS. And so really our, we want to go explore local, go explore. So we want people to go out and not just order delivery or take, take out, we want people to go to the restaurant. And that’s why, we’re agnostic of POSs.

We don’t integrate with the POS because we want to make it that simple to use. There’s no tech, no tablets or anything.

Phone needed only.

Just all you have to do is honor it. Yeah. All you have to do is honor it. That’s great.

Now, I think you made an interesting point there because a lot of restaurants don’t need or want additional business when it’s Saturday at seven o’clock, there’s a line at the door and the tickets are on the floor and that kind of thing.

You can specify when you want that to happen. Business and slower nights or, our special promotions. I want to start a special promotion on a Tuesday, whatever it is. And we can focus on that. You can literally customize this for what you need most and what you think will really drive business, which is great.

Absolutely.

Absolutely. It’s fully customizable. We don’t like to put too many restrictions on it. You and I had a really good discussion about the other day, because, as we’ve been launching this, a lot of the offers. We’ve got require purchase like you get a free pizza with the purchase with a drink and you and I discussing you had such a great point, people already paying for the membership, give them the pizza, don’t require a purchase on everything.

And that was an example of, I think we had too many fine print things on it. But yeah, absolutely, you could do things to drive and say, hey, we’ve got these really good specials on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. For paying members, and really make that an experience. Absolutely.

Yeah. I think it wasn’t a pizza. I think it was the garlic knots because that was a real cash cow that cost the point of behind a cash cow. And a lot of people know what this is. And some people have an idea of what it is, but it’s really something that has It’s very unique. It’s a signature item perhaps that no one else is doing in your market area, but it’s something that costs you very little to serve the guests.

It’s something you can charge really good money for because of the perceived value. And when you serve it, it has what we call wow factor by virtue of its presentation what the item comes in, the aromas, how delicious it tastes. But that doesn’t mean it has to cost you a lot of money. And then you can actually give these away to drive business in the door.

So that’s an excellent point too. You have something like, that’s called a 365 Restaurant Marketing Planner. Let’s talk about the planner and what it does and how it works.

Yeah. Thanks, Roger. So we’ll provide you with a link that your listeners can download in the show notes. But really owners ask me all the time, they’re like, What should I post?

I don’t know what to post. And there’s only so many times you can post pictures of the pizza, right? And that’s one of the things we talk about is I, there’s a, I have a three P process. Three Ps. If you don’t know what to post, three Ps. People, product, process. Okay. So the people show us the people.

And so the planner, we put together a 365 planner that has ideas every single day of the week for the entire year. And it includes food holidays, and thinking about how can you prepare for national pepperoni pizza day, for example, but it also has ideas of Hey, have your bartender.

Show how to make one of your drinks, like just record your bartender, just making a drink, and that’s an idea. That’s the people. It’s also the process. The process is behind the scenes. We want to see like how the things are made, like what happens behind the scenes? What does it look like day to day?

And so that’s the process. And then the third one is product. And so that’s what most restaurants think is, I just got to show product. I just got to show the food. Yes, important. Very important. But I would say, I don’t know. What do you think, Roger? I think really showing the people and what is that process?

How do you make the food? What does that look like? Tell them that story. What do you think about that, Roger? I’m curious to hear.

I think that’s more unique because if you were to, if you were to look at social media and restaurant posts on Instagram, most of it centers around the food. And although that’s important, it’s overdone now.

And now what else about your place? Okay. Because people expect the food to be good, right? There are three things. of any successful restaurant. You got the food, you got the service, and you got the ambiance. People expect the food to be good, they expect the atmosphere to be comfortable, the service really stands out, and if you can show your people shining at what they do, your team, as well as your happy guests, provided they provide those permissions, I think that is really powerful, and that drives people in, because you wanna have a great time, you wanna have an experience, you don’t just wanna go out for food and drink.

You’re not just there for the food, you’re there for the experience, like you said. So that’s my take on it.

And your people are part of the experience. One of the places we work with, that’s what we do with the bartender every month. She shows how to make the drink. And she says, people come in and they’re like, Oh, Hey, how’s it going?

Like they know her because they see her on the video. And yeah, if you, that’s how you build that loyalty. Oh, we want to come in and we want to see, I saw one one on TikTok where this guy, he does it’s almost like Tom Cruise and cocktail where he’s like spins the bottles and does all kinds of tricks.

Yeah, the flair, the showmanship and the flair, I love it.

You know what? I bet people come in just to watch him in person do all of it, and I bet they get business. It’s showbiz. Yep, showbiz

. I say

this to death on this podcast, but the restaurant business, hospitality is really about show business.

It’s entertainment, and that dazzles people and brings them back again. So you’re right. I love those bartenders that have the flair, and it’s the people’s personalities. We always encouraged our team to have their unique personalities and to educate, inform, Form and entertain your guests and make friends so that they ask for you by name the next time they come in the door.

That’s powerful marketing that doesn’t cost you anything. It’s training and it’s having people that you work that work with you have a passion for what they’re doing and then everything else naturally flows from that. So that’s, yeah. That’s cool.

I think just so people’s lives have changed since the pandemic, where we’re, we wanna go out and we wanna have experiences, like we wanna go out and if we’re going to go out and spend money and spend time, we want it to be an experience that’s fun, that’s different. And so I think that’s why you mentioned like live music. I think that’s really popular. People want to go out, sit on the patio, listen to live music. That’s an experience you can create for people, right?

And what can you do? There’s places popping up like the axe throwing places. And they’re partnering with food trucks. You can go out, you can throw some axes, you can get some tacos out of the food truck, and you can make a whole night of it, right? That’s entertainment.

And that kind of brings up another idea. How can you partner with businesses around you to do that? How can you collaborate with Mother’s Day is coming up. Could you collaborate with the floral shop down the street to have some flowers available that all moms get a flower, flowers when they come in, and you let them know it was the flower shop.

So how can, cause you’re all sharing the same customers anyway, basically, how can really cross promote right now and give people an experience where they want to go out, where they’re not just door dashing it, or they’re not just taking carry out. Cause as people are going to spend more.

They come in, right? Versus, versus ordering online.

Yeah, absolutely true. And if you provide that experience, and if you train your staff to make suggestions on what we know the guests going to enjoy and, really appreciate, then sales are naturally going to go up. It’s a big promotional thing, but that takes training and product knowledge also.

But again, I think the most important thing we’re talking about is how do you set yourself apart from the competition and play your best game every day, but also stay on top of what the competition is doing. And, we used to secret shop all the other restaurants around and what do they do well?

What don’t they do well? We used to even send our staff out and say, Hey, come back with a report. Tell me what you liked, what you didn’t like, what was great. And sometimes you get new ideas that you can use and just set yourself apart. And. Use hooks. I’m a huge believer in hooks.

Yep. Yep. Absolutely.

Cool.

So we’re gonna obviously send the information in our show notes about the 365 planner and all that other information. Got anything else to share?

No, I’m just, I’m always looking for new ideas. And one thing that I do that I really think restaurant owners can do is emulate other people. And when I’m looking on TikTok or Instagram, if you see an idea of something and you’re like, wow, that’s really cool.

See how you can borrow that idea and make it your own, and put your own spin on it. That kind of plays in with the 365 planner, see what’s working for other people. We don’t always have to reinvent the wheel and, use that. Not copy. You’re not just plagiarizing.

You’re borrowing inspiration. You’re borrowing ideas from people. And, I really think circling back, Get your Gen Z staff to help you do this. They will help you spread the word. They will, they know where to post, how to post, give them the keys and let them have fun with it. I really think that’ll make a big difference.

You mentioned something else. We talked about Mother’s Day, we talked about events and experiences, but I think as part of the planner every restaurant needs to know that there are certain theme days every month of the year. This is National Cupcake Day. And it’s natural pizza day and sandwich day and pickle day and you name it, there’s a day for it now.

And it’s easy to miss those things. And then all of a sudden the day went by, Oh, yesterday was national cupcake day and we sell cupcakes and we didn’t capture that. I think the planner just keeps all this stuff organized and tells you what they are so you can plan ahead and then create that special promotion and market digitally.

So that’s a huge service in and of itself.

And that happened to me. That’s one of the reasons I made the planner because doing things would just pop up. Like I would log on to Instagram and oh my God, it’s national pepperoni pizza day. I had no idea. I better get together a post real quick for my pizza restaurant, so our idea is okay. Plan ahead. I talk about batching content. So if you’re going to, look at the planner, what’s coming up in May, we’ve got Mother’s Day, we’ve got graduations, we have Memorial Day. What are the things happening in May? Plan your posts out, get a, just get a document and just, okay, here’s the date I’m going to post.

Here’s the caption. Here’s the image. And just look at it on paper and see, okay, here’s what it looks like. And then schedule it, and you can schedule it in Instagram and in Facebook and then it runs itself and you only have to think about it, for a couple hours a month. But that’s really what we’re trying to do at 365 is make your life easier so that.

You don’t miss those holidays and you don’t miss national pepperoni pizza day,

right on. You’re a big idea guy, Court. Thanks for the big ideas. Let’s tell the audience about our round table that we’re planning. That was your idea, so I’m really happy to be part of it. Oh, yeah.

So you and I have been chit chatting a lot and I work with different restaurant owners and marketers, so we’ve put together just like a bi weekly group coaching call.

We’re Where, you and I just get on and the people that are part of I, I guess we’re calling it the restaurant rockstar coaching program. That’s our working title. And we just get on answer questions, people have questions. And. We’re here to support them. So you’ve got such great wisdom and I just love teaching and coaching and that’s what we’re doing.

So if anybody’s interested, reach out to you, Roger and get the information.

Fantastic. Court, thanks so much for being on the show. That was the Restaurant Rockstars podcast. Can’t wait to see you in the next episode. So everybody stay well and stay tuned

Thanks for listening to the Restaurant Rockstars podcast. For lots of great resources, head over to restaurantrockstars. com. See you next time.

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