December 19, 2012
How do you go about pricing your drinks? Look at the guy’s prices up the street and cut him by a nickel?
According to Aaron Allen, a restaurant consultant based in Orlando, this is an area where confusion often comes into play. While it may not be difficult to set soda prices, your other drinks, particularly those containing alcohol, can be a different story. For one thing, advises Allen, it should be taken into consideration that different drinks should and will carry different profit structures.
If pricing beverages is a concern to you, click here to see what Allen and other consultants and operators have to say about the issue.
Reaching Out to Customers
An e-mail campaign can be a solid and inexpensive tool in your marketing arsenal. If you are a “do it yourself” kind of person and prefer not to hire an e-mail marketing firm, it all starts with building a list. Offer your customers something in exchange for their e-mail address: a free menu item or drink might do the trick. However, to avoid getting labeled as a spammer, make sure your customers are aware that by providing the address they are giving you permission to e-mail them special offers and marketing messages.
From there, it’s about tailoring the right message and following through on your offers. Some things to keep in mind include:
• Making sure your subject line reflects the content of your e-mail.
• Mixing up your e-mail with images and text.
• Avoid using rented lists.
For more advice on executing an e-mail campaign, click here.
Specialty Groups Can Prove Lucrative
Some of the more successful promotions tend to target select groups of people as opposed to the general population. Think of an “early bird buffet” ad targeting senior citizens, for example. Or a Monday Night Football beer and pizza special aimed at men.
Still, those are somewhat nondescript in the grand scheme of things. Here, we’re talking about getting really specialized, like tailoring a message to book clubs or cyclists, for example.
In Kansas City, Spin! Neapolitan Pizza lures cyclists in by organizing weekly bike rides. At Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company in North Carolina, owner Mike Rangel has had success targeting home brewers. This seems as niche as it can get, right? Yet, Rangel manges to attract nearly 80 guests per month with this approach. Take your average guest check times 80, and it adds up, doesn’t it?
Rangel started out slowly. Initially, he reached out to one small group and offered it a special, 15 percent discount as well as free meeting space in his pizzeria. Fewer than 10 people showed up at the first meeting, but Rangel stuck with the program and gave it time to develop.
“The best thing is that the homebrewers return the rest of the month with their families and friends,” Rangel says.
To read Rangel’s first-hand account of building this program from the bottom up, click here.
Dessert pizzas are not only a must-have on any pizza buffet, but they’re becoming somewhat en vogue in restaurants of all sorts. That’s good new for operators, because a great dessert pizza is easier to make than you might think.
A special crust is not needed, which greatly helps. Simply take your regular crust and brush it with butter, vanilla and brown sugar. From there, top with items such as cream cheese, fruit, peanut butter, chocolate, etc. Whatever suits your fancy will probably entice your customers.
One of the top-selling dessert pizzas in the country is a “cinnamon roll” pizza. Apple and cherry streusel pizzas typically fare well, too.
For more on dessert pizza, click here.
Featured Recipe: Linguine with Calamari Sauce
Calamari is delicious when it’s breaded and fried, but that isn’t the only way to serve it! If you’re going to carry it as an appetizer, you need to be able to make use of it in other dishes as well to keep your ingredient cost ratio in check. Try out this pasta recipe that features squid where you’d normally expect to use clam.
Linguine with Calamari Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds squid, cleaned, rinsed, body sac cut into rings
2 tablespoons chopped, flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
For the rest of this delicious recipe, click here.