In the age of coupon sites like Groupon and LivingSocial, it’s important to look at the value of coupon marketing and how it relates to your restaurant’s image.
When offering a coupon, your restaurant is hoping to bring in a customer who will try the food, like it, and come back for more. Well, we know this is often not the case. Even if a customer loves your food, they might not come back because it’s hard to return to your restaurant and pay double what they paid for the same meal two weeks ago when there is a new deal already waiting in their inbox…
It can feel really exciting to see your restaurant full of customers trying your food and looking happy. However, deal seekers are not the best customer group to go after because they are not loyal to your brand or location, but only follow the all-mighty discount.
On the other hand, there is an awesome way of getting large groups of customers when you want them who spend more and come back: In-Restaurant Fundraisers. Here’s how it works: host a local charitable group at your restaurant and donate a % of that group’s sale to their cause. When you host groups from the community you are offering a tax deductible % donation to a charitable cause and all the customers are paying full menu price for your food, which keeps your brand high and makes it much more likely for a customer to return to your restaurant with their family and friends. Restaurant fundraisers are simple and can drive $1000s in sales.
Price is a key difference between fundraisers and coupons. Imagine giving a customer 20% off an entree versus giving 20% back to a charity they care about. For a customer going to a fundraiser, the whole menu is open for them to try something they might fall in love with and purchase again in the future, as opposed to customers who are just there for a discount item. Customers at a fundraiser are also more likely to buy that extra drink or get a side/dessert to support their cause than deal-seekers there for a cheap meal.
Restaurant fundraisers are all about building long term relationships with hyper-local customers by showing them you care, whereas coupons run a big risk of commoditizing your food. Long story short, fundraisers work, and the economics behind fundraisers are much stronger than coupons. (See this Infographic)
If you are wondering about how to get started, new sites like www.GroupRaise.com are here to help. On the site you can list your fundraising program for free for local groups in your community to find you (www.groupraise.com/solutions/signup). GroupRaise only charges a small fee if you are successful in connecting with a group you would like to host.
Fundraisers are a great way to be enchanting. And remember: in this business, a little enchantment can go a long way.