The competition is fierce in the fast food industry. If you’re in this game, you know. If you’re just getting started in it, you’re in for a rough ride, especially in this economic climate. Here’s how to boost sales and profits to avoid becoming just another statistic.
Collectibles are things that big brands have used for years to attract customers. For example, a brand might offer branded drinking glasses, Customized mugs, or figurines. It could even be toys for the kids.
Whatever it is, if you promote it as a “limited edition” something or other, you’re bound to get customers to “bite.” There’s almost always a crowd for collectible items, and it’s a great way to get referral business.
Segment Your Market
Segmentation is a way to separate out your “A” customers from “B” customers. In the fast food industry, this information is usually obtained through research surveys, asking your demographic about their age, income, and household size.
You might learn that most of your customers, for example, are between 24 and 34 years old, instead of the typical 18 to 24.
Once you know your target demographic, hire a mailing list broker, collect names and addresses of everyone within your target age or household income bracket, and send out a mailer to them inviting them to come into your restaurant to try something new.
You could even mention that if they’re between the ages of 24 and 34 (or whatever your target demographic’s age happens to be), they’ll get a free dessert or gift just for stopping by. Since you did your market research beforehand, you can expect a high response rate. Get ready for a flood of business a few days after your mailer goes out.
Brand Your Products
Branding your products sounds intuitive, but you’d be surprised by how many missed opportunities there are in the industry. Are your napkins branded? What about your coffee cups? What about your frozen yogurt cups? If you haven’t branded everything, step it up.
Hand Out Samples
Handing out free samples is one of the simplest ways to prove that you have something worth stopping in for. Have employees set up a stand in town or in an area where you don’t have a store.
Have them hand out free samples of your food to people walking by, along with directions to your restaurant.
Hand Out Menus With Every Order
Chinese food restaurants have been doing this for ages, and for good reason: it works. Every time someone orders take out, include a copy of your menu. You’ll be encouraging future orders.
Hand Out Free Gifts With Orders
Every week, rotate a free gift when people buy. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but it should be something that reminds your customer of your brand. Whether it’s a pin, a toy for kids, or a coupon for some free food, or discounted tickets for a local event, you should do something that will make you stand out from the giants in the industry that aren’t giving away free stuff.
Kelly S. Phillips is a business marketer. She likes to post about her experiences online. Her articles can be found on many marketing and business websites.