3 Restaurant Discounts to Boost Sales in June

Summertime is just beginning. Hopefully, you’ve seen an uptick in business as more diners get out of hibernation mode. Are you looking for a way to get even more customers through your door? Special discounts are a great option for attracting people to your restaurant.

Of course, just offering a discount to customers when they’re already at your restaurant isn’t ideal. You want to market it ahead of time in order to draw people in. How? By creating buzz around the special in order to build up interest and excitement.

A great way to do this is with social media tactics. In addition to posting updates on your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages, you can also make more immediate efforts by spreading the word on your Instagram and Snapchat stories. With 88% of individuals in the 18-29 age group using social media, leveraging it to your advantage is a no-brainer. You can also set up quick and easy email blasts prior to your event to keep customers informed.

Interested in discount ideas that are enticing? We’ll discuss three options you can use at your location in order to boost sales this June.

Discounts for Dad

Although the entire season of summer seems like one big holiday, the only National holiday this month is Father’s Day. Use it to your advantage by creating a special deal. Whether you want to offer half priced appetizers or let dads eat free, there are many options available to honor dads that dine with you. Similar to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is an extremely popular day for online menu views. In 2017, online menus were viewed 2,069,221 times on Father’s Day alone. Clearly, people are looking for places to celebrate the occasion. Not to mentioned, in 2017 it was projected that over 3 billion dollars would be spent just on Father’s Day meals! As a restaurant owner, you should be jumping at the opportunity to get even more dads through your door on June 17th. Marketing is key in the weeks leading up to the holiday, so make sure you’re informing your customers of your specials and events. Send emails, post on social media, and even set an announcement at the top of your online menu (if you have the ability to do so), to draw people in as they’re conducting online research for a place to dine with dad.

Summer Happy Hour Series

Who doesn’t love a good happy hour? People look forward to enjoying a drink (especially outdoors) after a long day or week of work. And happy hour can be great for your business, too. According to the NRA happy hour and late night specials can account for up to ⅓ of adult beverage sales. Do you have a special that customers can’t resist? Create a summer-specific happy hour menu with discounted items that usually aren’t on your normal menu at a cheaper rate. This will make customers feel like they’re getting something exclusive.

When building your happy hour menu, it’s also wise to choose items that have a high profit margin. Wine is usually a great option to include, as well as certain cocktails. BevSpot produced a great visual content piece highlighting profit margins on an array of drinks. View the handbook here. Of course, it’s wise to keep your menu diverse to attract a wide range of customers.

If you run happy hour daily, try mixing it up during the week by offering different items on different days. Mojito Monday, Margarita Tuesday, and Daiquiri Thursday are just a few ideas you can use to your advantage. If a customer knows you serve their favorite drink at a discount on a certain day, chances are you’ll see them as a returning patron.

Happy hour doesn’t have to just take place in the afternoon or evening. Consider having a late night menu for hungry partiers who are looking for a cheap place to hang out. Offer discounts on certain drinks and appetizer items that are usually popular among crowds. This is a great way to bring in more business during off-peak times.

Summer Loyalty Program

Utilize a strategy that allows discounts to build up to inspire your customers to keep coming back! We all get excited when a restaurant, coffee shop, or ice cream parlor offers us a free loyalty punch card. I mean, who doesn’t love free stuff?

Usually, once you get to a certain level of purchases you enjoy a free item on the house. As a restaurant, this can work well if you try offering it for a limited amount of time. According to Coca Cola, about  50% of all millennials say limited time offers are very enticing and something that they are on the lookout for. Give away summer punch cards that are only valid from June through August to put a sense of urgency into the deal. Try a “buy five get one free” strategy or “enjoy 15% off your 5th meal,” in order to keep customers coming back.

You can even do a point-based system, with each dollar spent equating to a certain amount of points. If you don’t want to offer a discount or free food item, you can give away a gift or mystery item once a certain level of points is achieved.

You can also set this loyalty program up on a mobile app so people can keep track of their progress easily on their phones. There are many loyalty app programs out there to consider, like Belly and punchh.

If this limited-time loyalty strategy works well for you, consider doing it more often! According to Alix Partners 63.1% of Millennials and 61.3% of Gen X view loyalty programs as important to them.

Discounts and other exclusive deals are great for attracting even more customers and keeping them as returning patrons. With these three ideas for discounting, you can be strategic about how you’re getting customers through your door again and again. Just remember, if you are running a special promotion or offering something enticing, make sure to let customers know with a marketing and social media strategy.

About the Author: Taylor Kelly is SinglePlatform’s Content Marketer.  She loves reorganizing words and cabinets, drinking iced coffees whether it’s summer or winter, and checking out the best happy hour spots New York City has to offer. Her goal at SP is to provide creative & informative content about anything restaurant & small business related.

Save Time and Money Publishing Your Restaurant Menu Online

Time is money.  We’ve heard every business and life coach and consultant tell us to stop doing tasks that take more time than they’re worth.  If your time is worth $20, $50 or $100 per hour, then why would you spend your time doing something that you could pay someone $5, $10 or $15 to do?  You wouldn’t! Or at least you shouldn’t. But, of course, we’re creatures of habit. We continue to handle repetitive tasks on our own instead of outsourcing them.

If you’re a restaurant owner, then your time is valuable.  Your responsibility is to create the best atmosphere, serve the best food (whether you are the chef or looking for the best available chef in your area), and train your staff to deliver an experience that captures your vision.  That experience starts with your host or hostess answering the phones or greeting customers at the door, and continues with how dishes are brought to and removed from your patron’s table, and even with how well your restrooms are maintained.  This is called working ON your business instead of working IN your business.  It is the best way to ensure your long-term success.  Of course, as the owner, you’re prepared to pitch in and roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty wherever necessary.

If you knew that 93% of consumers look at restaurant menus online before they choose where to eat,  would you do whatever it takes to make sure your menu is everywhere those hungry customers are searching? They’re online constantly, looking for places to eat on Google, OpenTable, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Facebook, and hundreds of other websites and mobile apps.  You want to be right there, visible on those sites and apps for searchers to easily discover you. But, how?

There are plenty of options for getting your restaurant menu published on all of these sites, with one being to do the work yourself. It’s doable for many sites, but some won’t even allow you to make updates without using a third party. Still, if you decide to control your online presence, you’ll be using valuable time making updates that could be done for you. And as we mentioned before, time is of the essence for busy restaurant owners.

Think about it.  How often do you make even a slight change to your restaurant menu? Do you ever change prices?  Do you offer nightly dinner specials or happy hour on certain days? What about new menus for seasonal or limited time offers? Just consider how much time you’ll spend away from your business if you have to handle all of these updates yourself.

You want to be in control of every bit of information published everywhere online about your business including your restaurant menu and hours of operation.  But, does that mean you have to do all of the work yourself? You’re probably thinking, “I hope not!”  If you have to remember credentials to your Google My Business account, a TripAdvisor page, OpenTable, Yelp and more than 50 other websites, you won’t have time to even think about what’s actually going to be ON the menu!

Luckily, we’re here to help. SinglePlatform does what no other provider will do — we make all of your updates for you!  All you need to do is send us your restaurant menu or whatever changes you need. You can send updates to us via email, text message, fax, FedEx, smoke signal, morse code, or phone call. Want to make it even easier? You don’t even have to type a message. Just take a photo of your restaurant menu and send it to us digitally however you’d like. Keeping your online presence current and accurate has never been less complicated.

Why do we offer this white-glove service? We want to give you back your time. Our goal is simple.  We want you to succeed.  Your success is our success.  And to do this, we maximize your online presence without you having to take hours out of your day. Use those hours to make more money, think up new menu items, or just relax! You deserve a break. You also deserve to have an online presence strong enough to attract new customers. Let SinglePlatform do the online menu management for you.

Click HERE to learn more about how we can save you time and money.

HowUdish Kickstarts a New App to Help Diners

Diners are more aware of ingredients, preparation, and portions of food now than ever before. Some are health conscious because of the diet they choose, and some are restricted based on health constraints. Keto and Whole30 are currently popular diets that have created not only buzzwords, but a following of people looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Limitations like gluten and lactose intolerance have forced some to cut certain foods out of their diet altogether. This change in the landscape of food has had a significant impact on the food and restaurant industry as a whole.

As a restaurant owner, you’ve probably also had to adapt your menu to fit the needs of a diverse array of dietary restrictions. You may now offer vegan items or dishes made with less sodium. It’s important to be inclusive of all lifestyle choices and diet requirements, not only for the success of your business, but for the consideration of your patrons.

HowUdish, an app geared toward restaurant discovery, recognized the need for a tool to help individuals quickly find restaurants that are friendly to their diets. So, the company behind the idea created HowUdish for iOS to make it easier for diners to enjoy a meal away from home.

The truth is, it’s much more difficult to stick to a healthy diet plan or abide by health restrictions when you’re on the go. If you’re not cooking it, chances are you don’t know exactly how the food is being prepared. But, this uncertainty shouldn’t hold diners back from enjoying a dinner out with friends. And from this notion, HowUdish was born.

The app curates nearby restaurant offerings and dietary information in one place. Users can filter by dietary restrictions (so if, for example, they’re gluten-free, they can choose that setting) to see what options are available in their area. They’ll get nutritional information including calories, fat, carbs, protein levels, and more. Dining out without the guilt has never been easier.

Along with nutritional discovery, Dishers can keep track of diet progress in order to close the loop on their nutritional journey. They can track weight loss, interact with other Dishers, and even save meals they enjoyed to remember them for next time.

From a restaurant owner’s perspective, this app can be extremely useful for attracting more diners to your location. If you offer the options they’re looking for, you become easily discoverable on the HowUdish app. These users are looking for very specific menu items and ingredients, so if you can fulfill their needs, you have the chance of not only being discovered, but being talked about among app users. With the diverse dietary restrictions that are prevalent today, it’s important to showcase your offerings wherever possible.

When you take off your business owner hat, HowUdish may still be relevant to your personal life. If you stick to a strict diet or have an allergy or limitation, the app can help you find more menu choices when you’re dining out. HowUdish’s mission is to make the world a healthier place, but to do so, they need our help.

HowUdish has already been around for about 6 months, but they are looking to expand their business by launching a brand new app for Android. Currently, the app is only available to iOS users, which limits its reach. HowUdish hopes to expand its presence and help more people discover restaurants that suit their needs by being available on any type of operating system.

In order to make the Android app a reality, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign to help get the job done. And you can contribute! Follow this link to read more about HowUdish and consider making a pledge. There are some great perks, and opportunities for you to market your restaurant.

With HowUdish, hungry diners everywhere are finally able to find a place to eat, no matter what limitations they have.

Visit http://www.howudish.com/ to check out their product features, blog, social media, and more. Happy Dishing!

Your Menu Matters This Year at the National Restaurant Association Show

Your restaurant’s menu tells your story. It highlights your culinary strengths and shows off your brand persona. It’s the first thing handed to customers as they sit down for a meal. But, would you be surprised if they’ve already researched it online before stepping foot inside your physical location?

If your restaurant was a movie, your menu would be the script. And that script can determine whether or not you’re a blockbuster hit.

Your menu matters.

And that just happens to be our theme for this year’s National Restaurant Association (NRA) show. Our goal for the event is to educate you on how to get the most out of our menu. Stop by our booth (6482) for tips, tricks, and insights into how to make your menu stand out online and in-house.

You also won’t want to miss out on an exclusive free event that we’ll be hosting with famed menu engineer Gregg Rapp. “Rappid Menu Boot Camp” will take place May 21st & 22nd at the SinglePlatform booth. Gregg will give you a one-on-one consultation where he’ll offer content and design suggestions for your menu. With a properly engineered menu, you can see an increase in restaurant profits. And what business owner doesn’t want to make more money? Spaces are limited, so book your spot today!

Get Your Free Spot Today!

There are many ways to maximize your menu’s potential so you can provide customers with the information they want while wowing them with your offerings. Below are just some of the topics we’ll be discussing in our educational sessions at the NRA show.

Your Online Presence

As mentioned, it’s quite likely that people are looking for your menu online before deciding to make a reservation or stop by your restaurant. Oftentimes, your online menu is the first impression. With the majority of people turning to the internet to research before choosing a place to dine out, online presence is crucial. And without a searchable menu, you risk being undiscovered by new customers.

The impact of your online menu can be compared to that of a sidewalk sign or newspaper flyer before computers existed. People are looking. They want information at their fingertips, instantly. Having your menu available online allows potential diners decide if your restaurant has what they’re looking for.

Still, about half of those people researching places to eat don’t even know what they’re in the mood for. They’re performing this online research in order to find out. This is the part where you can maximize opportunity even more. How?

With how you present your offerings.

Remember what we talked about earlier. Your menu is your movie script. It tells your story. So, be creative. Paint the picture of the meal with words, so that by the time the reader has finished, they’re already picturing themselves in a seat at your table.

You may be thinking, “how can I make a basic steak more interesting?” It’s actually easier than you think!

Gregg Rapp, the Menu Engineer encourages restaurateurs to be descriptive when it comes to menu items. Don’t just call it a strip steak and potatoes. Describe it. It’s the NY strip steak with fresh herb butter, whipped garlic potatoes and Urban Farm’s tri-colored heirloom carrots.

Cue the mouth watering.

Once you get those online researchers through your door as customers, your physical menu will have its time to shine.

The Physical Menu Design

Once they sit down, customers are only spending a few minutes looking at your menu, so make it count. Be strategic about where you’re placing items on the page. Hotspot research shows that the human eye is often drawn to the upper right corner, so put a show-stopping meal option there (find another place for the chicken nuggets).

When it comes to the architecture  of the items, you should take it a step further than just randomly placing them on a page. There is a strategy behind a well-executed menu that utilizes both art and science. And it has an effect on how customers order.

Gregg Rapp has put over 35 years of research into perfecting menu design. His studies have revealed some pretty interesting facts, like those mentioned above. Those are just some of the insights Gregg has provided to restaurants through the decades. Gregg has a wealth of knowledge that can be utilized to maximize your menu’s potential.

It’s clear that your menu is more than just a sheet of paper. It helps to uphold your brand presence online and in your restaurant. It tells your story.

Although it may seem like a challenge to get your menu just right, we think we can help you out. Menu education is important to us. And we want to share it with you.

At SinglePlatform, online menu management is our bread and butter.  Physical menus are Gregg Rapp’s. If you’re attending the NRA, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to learn what can make your menu successful.

About the Event

Gregg will be providing  you with a free one-on-one menu consultation during “Rappid Menu Boot Camp” at the SinglePlatform booth. He’ll take a look at your current menu, offer suggestions, and provide you with ideas based on what he’s learned from decades of experience. And of course, we’ll be there to answer any questions you have about your online presence.

This free event will take place from Monday, May 21st through Tuesday, May 22nd at SinglePlatform’s booth (6482) in the North Hall.

The NRA show is May 19-22 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL.

Your menu matters. We want to help you make it shine.

Reserve your spot today

Make Mother’s Day Memorable: 4 Quick Tips

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and it’s a great opportunity for your restaurant to shine! And rightfully so, because Mother’s Day is the most popular day for restaurants. By how much?  Well, we crunched some numbers and Mother’s Day was the most popular holiday for viewing online menus with 2,375,595 views on that day alone! The other two most popular days were the two days before Mother’s Day (the three days totaled over 7.3 million menu views). As a restaurateur, you should have a plan for making the holiday a memorable event for families dining with you. Read on for four tips to creating a special event for moms on May 13th.

Get Social

Let’s face it, practically everyone is on social media! So, having your marketing strategy extend to your social media accounts is a no-brainer. Having a social media plan for Mother’s Day will not only make your followers aware of your event, but also show what makes your restaurant unique.

Have you thought about running a contest online? This is a great way to get followers talking. With a campaign theme like “snapshots with mom,” you can encourage followers to post their favorite photos with their moms and include the unique hashtag that you create. Choose certain posts to repost on your own social platforms and even grant a lucky winner or two a prize (like a free entree on Mother’s Day). Don’t forget to interact with and thank all of the participants for contributing. Take your social efforts a step further by including photos of your staff with their moms to make your social media accounts feel authentic. Creating a community around your business will help not only your social and online presence, but your reputation. Telling the story about your brand, business, and customers will help to facilitate human interactions and build loyalty.

Go the Extra Mile

With so many people browsing online menus ahead of Mother’s Day, it’s clear that they’re looking for something special to impress mom with. You want to be the restaurant that stands out from the crowd! Going that extra mile can help. Go a step further than just a standard brunch menu or prix fixe dinner. Create a unique menu item geared towards moms or invent a special cocktail only available on May 13th. You can even take it a step further by offering a giveaway, like flowers or a box of chocolate for each mom in attendance. Adding a special touch to the event is sure to impress all of your diners.

Encourage Participation

Mother’s Day is great for your restaurant’s business, but the true meaning behind the holiday is to honor moms everywhere for all that they do. Provide sons and daughters with cards upon their arrival that they can give to their moms at the conclusion of the meal. Encourage them to include a special message for mom. You can even create a questionnaire for children to fill out that includes questions like “What places do you most like to visit with your mom” and “What is your favorite memory with mom.” Handing mothers a keepsake that has meaning is sure to make their day even more memorable.

Make Them “Say Cheese”

Consider hiring a photographer or an artist to capture the candid moments of the day and give guests a tangible memory to take home! You want your customers to remember the experience they had at your restaurant and they’ll appreciate that you put in the extra effort to provide them with it. Don’t want to spend money on a photographer? Polaroid photos are a cost-effective and quick option to provide the same experience. Have a crafty staff member? Ask them to create a photo border that customers can pose for the photo with. You can also incorporate photo props to make it fun.

Thinking outside the box this Mother’s Day by providing your guests with extra elements will make their experience at your restaurant even better. Offering your unique touch shows diners that you care about making their celebration the best it can be. We hope these 4 tips inspire you to create a unique event for all moms dining with you on May 13th.