Birthday Cake

A few days back was my 40th birthday. Besides the usual birthday party swag and Facebook friend wishes, my bank and few other businesses emailed me birthday cards. But I didn’t get any restaurant birthday coupons. Restaurants missed an opportunity to re-engage me and bring my friends in as new customers.

When I lived in Bozeman Montana, I used to get a birthday coupon every year from The Garage Soup Shack & Mesquite Grill (http://central.ly/thegarage). It offered a free meal valid for my birth month. It’s a great deal for both me and the restaurant. I get a free meal and “remember” The Garage. The restaurant is introduced to new diners by the birthday boy.

Why don’t more restaurants do this? Is it because restauranteurs don’t know how to get started? Let’s fix that.

Four steps to birthday marketing:

  1. Get the birthday either from a comment card/birthday card signup at each table. Sign ups from an email newsletter work too, but they often do not include a physical address which can be problematic for sending postcards.
  2. Print the postcards: If you have graphic design expertise or access to graphic designers, visit http://www.pfl.com (not an affiliate link). 500 cards run about $127 ($.254 each) If you don’t have access to a graphic designer use the stock “food and beverage” designs from http://www.vistaprint.com/postcards.aspx (not an affiliate link). 100 cards run about $25 ($.250 each)
  3. Address, sign, & attach postage to the cards: Have this done as sidework by the staff. Signing by real people is more genuine and authentic than a printed signature and makes the guest feel like it’s a personal invitation. Postage runs about $160 for 500 (.$32 each). http://postcalc.usps.gov/Postcards.aspx
  4. Mail the cards a week before the birthday.

So for less than 60 cents and the cost & labor of the free meal, you bring in birthday celebrants and their guests year round.

Thaddeus

Photo credits: Birthday Cake by Will Clayton Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License
Untitled by Neil Conway, on Flickr

Q: So what does Cloud Dine Systems do?

A: We make mobile restaurant management systems that increase staff efficiency and increase restaurant profitability. Our first product is a restaurant point of sale system using wireless tablets and cloud services.

Q: Could you give me an example of what that means? And use non-marketing speak please.

A: Sure. Sorry about that. Here’s a 1 minute example of one thing we do. (Hi, I’m Thaddeus, founder of Cloud Dine Systems. Thanks for visiting by the way.)

Q: Ok. You got a minute starting now.

A: Think of your favorite restaurant. Think how busy and hectic it is during the dinner rush. That’s just the wait & bus staff you see in the front of the house. Lots of running back and forth.

Q: I get it. Very busy. 45 seconds.

A: A server does this for every order: Get order from customer. Write order on paper. Walk over to point of sale terminal. Wait till free. Enter order. Order prints in kitchen.

Q: Sounds like all the restaurants I know. 30 seconds. 

A: We made a point of sale system that wait staff take to the table with them. It uses wireless tablets. Ordering is now: Get order from customer. Enter order on tablet. Order prints in kitchen.

Q: Wow! Wait staff will love you. Their feet will kiss you, if they could. 15 seconds. 

A: Even better, with the extra time wait staff can serve more tables and provide quicker service with better accuracy. (Plus no more running back to the table apologizing about being out of the special.) Better customer dinning experiences means increased tips = Happier wait staff. Serving more tables reduces the cost to serve each customer. A more profitable restaurant = Happier owners and managers.

Q: Ah. Now I see what you do.


Photo credits: Untitled by Neil Conway Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License