Written by Kristi Turner, CMO of Compeat for Food Newsfeed
The Super Bowl is right around the corner. If you want to get in on the biggest game of the year, now is the time to put your game plan in motion. Proactively working to get customers in your door is key to winning, but making sure they have a great experience once inside is key to creating repeat guests.
Create a buzz through word-of-mouth
Starting weeks in advance, have every server tell each table that you will be hosting the specific events and all of the activities planned around them. Start asking guests where they plan to watch upcoming games, and personally invite them to join you at your location. Put out team decorations, balloons, and signs as soon as you know which teams are playing on upcoming dates.
Advertise, advertise, advertise
Make sure that everyone knows that you are THE place to watch their favorite team. Place table cards on every table. Put posters on the front door, in the waiting area, and in the restrooms. Advertise on your website and all your social media outlets and ask your friends, family, and staff to share, like or retweet it.
Promote take out
There will be many guests who prefer to host their own get together, but do not want to cook. Take advantage of this by promoting take out or curbside pickup. Take as many pre-orders as possible so that you can order, prep, and staff properly. Assess your kitchen in advance. Can you prepare three large orders every 15 minutes? Or does it take 20? Offering predetermined time slots can help keep your BOH staff out of the weeds
Expand your focus
All the games leading up to “the big game” are a chance for you to run game day specials. These same tips can be used to promote March Madness. The earlier you start, the more time you have to win over customers and get your restaurant known as the go-to game place.
Offer game day specials
Sporting events are the perfect time to offer off-the-menu specials. Experiment with low costs, higher margin specials such as nachos, chili, or burgers that may not be on your daily menu. Offering between-quarter and post-game food and drink specials will keep customers around longer and boost sales.
Offer free or inexpensive snacks
Not only does this get more customers in the door, it can also help your staff. Sales will spike when the game first starts, then trickle down as the game progresses. Providing free chips and dip, nuts, pretzels, discounted appetizers, and drink specials that are quick and easy to whip together can stall food orders just enough so the kitchen does not get slammed all at once.
Consider beer buckets
Beer and sports go hand-in-hand. Knowing that it will be one of your top sellers, consider having a manned, cash-only or handheld credit card reader beer buckets to expedite orders and free up your servers’ time. Be sure these are located away from tight areas that may become too congested.
Drive return visits
Handing out free appetizer or ‘$5 off your next visit’ cards will provide a reason for customers to come back another time. Don’t lose the chance to promote repeat business.
Stay in contact
Hosting a giveaway is a great way to get email addresses so that you can stay in contact year-round. Based on your budget, it can be something as simple as a free dinner or as extravagant as a flat screen TV. Create entry cards that require their name and email address at the very least, then be sure to send them information regarding events, specials, menu changes, etc. to keep your restaurant top of mind when they are planning their next evening out.