ED Publications

March 2015

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Page 34 of 83

Club Bulletin March 2015 35 www.theEDexpo.com Be aware of the order you communicate your offerings to guests! In the scenario above, when asked what beers were offered, my server started at the bottom with the most affordable domestic drafts (about $3) and worked her way up. By the time she got to the eighth beer on her list, I was so fatigued by hearing her rattle off beer names, I just stopped her as soon as I heard a middle-of-the-road craft brand I recognized (about $5). She never even got to the $8 beer I would likely have loved. She probably never does. She likely sells a boatload of domestic drafts at the bottom end of the list, though, because that's where she starts. People have a limited attention span for lists and, by nature, become weary of them quickly. Why not start with the high-end, interesting and exotic options and work your way down to the cheap options (which the customer already knows are carried everywhere anyway)? You will find that "list-fatigue" works in your favor, landing on more $7 beers and fewer $4 beers and potentially doubling your tip income. It will also have the added benefit of delivering a higher-end, more interesting and satisfying product—and experience—to your guest, increasing the likelihood of their return. Do your discounts affect how you treat these discount-seeking customers? Lastly, though this didn't occur during my visit, be mindful of how guests who do take advantage of discounts are treated and what you offer at a discount. If you offer some sort of discount or other promotion to drive traffic to your restaurant, what do these first-time customers get and see when they arrive to take advantage of the deal? Do they get a cheap or watered down version of your products or do they get a taste of the very best you have to offer? Do they get second-class or even resentful service or do they get blown away with a memorable experience they can't wait to repeat? Customers who are drawn into your restaurant by discount marketing represent a huge investment. Rather than brushing them off as "cheap" customers, focus on converting them into high-value, loyal regulars. It is only by taking the discount opportunity to impress and delight them to the point that they come back again and again, bringing more friends with them that you will ever realize a profit on them. At the end of the day, we must recognize discounting as an effective and sometimes necessary marketing technique. But always remember that it is most effective outside of the business for the purpose of bringing guests inside. Once inside, it is our job to not focus on cheap, but to focus on awesome. Awesome products, awesome service, awesome experience. Only awesome, and never cheap, will convert low-value, discount-driven, trial customers into high-value, loyal regulars. Tim Kirkland is CEO of Renegade Hospitality Group and author of the best-selling book, "The Renegade Server." He will be the EXPO '15 Keynote Speaker. He can be reached at tim@renegadehospitality.com.

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