Village Draft House and Bass Lake Draft House
The casual dinning segment is crowded space in the retail world. How does a local restaurateur with two locations compete with regional and national chains?
Our client faced this question as the economy went into recession and reduced the dollars spent dining out by consumers. On the positive side both locations were established, enjoyed a very good reputation, offered dozens of specialty beers on tap, and served award-winning burgers.
The strategy we developed involved a primary focus of capitalizing on the existing loyal customer base through regular communication, with increased visits the desired outcome. Our secondary focus used online advertising to drive website traffic and awareness/name recognition, and a program to bring competitors customers into our communication loop.
Our communication tools were in-store POP materials, email communications, online advertising, and Facebook pages. Our strategy called for developing a strong email database, which was accomplished through an in-store sign-up program and an entry page on the website. Emails are sent out announcing menu changes and specials, new beers, and fan viewing opportunities an average of once of week. Personalized birthday emails are sent out with a gift certificate.
Facebook invitations are sent to carefully selected lists of people with who have expressed an affinity for this type of dining. Messages are posted frequently communicating specials, what’s happing at that moment, and events taking place specific to that store.
Casual dining advertising at the chain level is typically very well produced but bland, and tries to convey the advertiser as the “cool” or “hip” place to be. To break out of that mold and be memorable we skewered a couple of sacred cows (pun intended).
Did it work?
One store has over 1100 names in the email database and the other over 1300 and the list continues to grow. The unsubscribe rate is a fraction of a percent. On Facebook each location now has over 1100 friends and fans.
As we created additional online ads we tracked the results to see what generated the strongest response. Tasty Cow and Politician consistently had click-thru rates 30-50% higher than all other ads.
During the recent recession many national chains were down 15-20%, but our client saw single digit declines. As the economy recovers his business is again outpacing the competition.