Running successful specials as a restaurant or bar owner can be tough. Once you’ve decided what you want to have a special on and how it’s going to help out your business, you’ve still got to promote your special adequately so that enough people will know about it and ultimately buy more food and drink. So how exactly does one promote a restaurant or bar special effectively? Following are some ways you can market your specials so that you’ll have the whole town flocking to your place!
This one is almost a no-brainer, but social media is probably the foremost medium you should incorporate for special promotion. What’s more, if you can manage to hire a graphic designer for some quality, sharable, eye-grabbing graphics, you may be able to garner a whole lot more viewers that previously thought via Facebook and Twitter. People love pictures on social media, so it’s important to give the people what they want!
Word of Mouth
An old-school strategy is to simply start spreading a really great special through word of mouth. For this, it’s a good idea to plan roughly a week or a few days ahead, and start just by telling some of your workers to tell some of their friends that your business is having a really great deal on a certain night, and see what happens.
If you manage to hit a particularly big network via the word-of-mouth technique, you could end up with a line out the door! Also, you should keep in mind that the type of special is really what matters for this technique. By offering something outrageously, unbelievably good, you’re almost guaranteed to have a load of people come by and at least ask if the deal is really going on — and if it is, chances are they’ll stick around for a good time, too.
Local TV and Advertising
Local TV and print advertising can be tiresome since it’s used by seemingly every business, but that’s not to say it isn’t useful. If you’ve already got some ads running on TV or in local papers, then all you’ll need to do is have them altered (or completely redone by a professional graphic designer) in a way that will grab the audience and make them want to try out your special. A hint: Try to do something innovative and new, maybe a full-page ad in the Sunday paper with just a few words (“25 cent wings” or something similar), the date of the special, and your restaurant logo. Chances are, people will remember that one!
Other Things to Consider
While all this is a lot to think about, it’s absolutely critical that you know what your overhead is along with your capital if you’re counting on a special to generate profit for your business. Also, if you’re planning on a new and bold special, timing is key. In order to properly time your special, try doing some research on local events in the near future or other things that might bring a new crowd into the area. For instance, if someone is speaking or giving a presentation soon nearby on the benefits of vegan/vegetarian eating, then it makes sense that you should offer some sort of vegan/vegetarian special and advertise leading up to the event. In fact, it may even be worth your while to hire a student to pass out fliers advertising the special before the presentation begins.
Sammy Jo writes for Willie’s Fieldhouse, a sports bar in Columbia, Mo, that has delicious wings, billiards and great drink specials.