Category Archives: Catering News

Mother’s Day Marketing Ideas For Restaurants

Mother’s Day is one of a handful of days in each year when demand for restaurant tables is almost guaranteed and goes through the roof, but just because demand is high on this day, it doesn’t mean that you can afford to simply sit back and wait for the bookings to flood in.

Mothering Sunday 2014

With more competition in the restaurant sector, your competitors will be doing all they can to ensure they grab the lions share of bookings, so if their marketing campaign is more attractive to diners, you will loose out.

Doing all you can to ensure that your restaurant is full all day on Mothering Sunday makes perfect business sense, but don’t forget, you can also extend the effect by offering special deals all weekend, meaning you get to cash in for more than just the one day.

Did you know? According to Hallmark, Mothers Day 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of this celebration.

Remember that just because  you are busy, you can’t afford to let service slip. For some diners, this will be their first time at your restaurant, so making sure you impress is critical to gaining their repeat custom. Be prepared, and add extra staff to the rota to enable you to maintain high levels of service,  that will impress new customers enough to make them want to come back again.

Mothering Sunday 2014

Mothers Day Marketing Ideas For Restaurants

1. Mums Eat Free

You might want to consider letting mums eat free. This doesn’t have to include a full multiple course meal, but could simply refer to the main, meaning you still get to maintain margins on all other courses and items purchased from the bar.

To make this an even less expensive promotion, consider restricting the free course to a special Mothers Day selection or create a set Mothers Day menu that you can offer for free which will give you greater control over your costs.

2. Free Glass/Bottle of Wine For Mum

There aren’t many that can resist the lure of a free bottle of wine! Order in bulk and you’ll get an even better discount from your supplier and encourage diners to go for starters and desserts from a special Mothers Day menu to help you recoup your costs.

3. Free Dessert For Mum

A freebie of any kind is always going to be happily welcomed, so giving mum a free dessert is a simple, but effective promotion that can help to ensure the maximum possible number of covers.

4. Special Dish or Menu For Mum

Create a special dish just for Mother’s Day and even consider restricting sales to mums only so they feel extra special. This works very well for a special dessert, which might be extra large or may contain lots of little treats not available to other diners.

5. Free Return Meal For Mum

Give mums that dine with you with a voucher for a free main course on a return visit. This type of promotion works extremely well as not only does it encourage a repeat visit, but mum will bring family or friends with her too, who will of course pay for their meals.

6. Free Flowers For The First 50 Mums

Provide mums that dine with you, with a complimentary bouquet of flowers. These don’t need to be expensive, and can be sourced locally, including a florists card with the bouquet to get them some ‘free’ promotion in return for negotiating better rates on a bulk purchase of bouquets. You might want to consider restricting this offer to the first 50 table bookings simply so you know exactly how many bouquets you’ll need to purchase.

7. Run A Mothers Day Competition

Encourage diners to share pics of their food on their favourite social network, and ask them to use a specific hash tag and your restaurant name in order to enter a prize draw to win a fab prize. This could be anything from a free meal to a full on pamper package.

Remember that the better the prize is, the more people will enter and when they do, they are also promoting your restaurant on social media to all of their friends and followers too!

8. Mothers Day Brunch or Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is currently undergoing a huge revival in the UK at the moment and is the ideal way to squeeze even more mileage out of Mother’s Day between lunch and evening service. Create an exclusive brunch or afternoon tea menu to get people into the restaurant earlier and in-between high demand dining times.

As with all promotions, make sure you have very clear terms and conditions. State time and number limitations, restrictions on numbers and any other information necessary to ensure you don’t end up providing any extras for free.

Also make sure that you start your planning well in advance, a few days before means that your messaging will be rushed and has less time to take effect. Get your banners, posters and A-frames printed up and out at least 2 weeks before Mother’s Day and make sure you use all of the marketing channels available to you to spread awareness, so your promotion should be detailed on your website, discussed on social media and also consider sending out an email newsletter or flyers.

6 Marketing Tips For New Restaurants

As with all start-up businesses, many will fail before they reach their first birthday. Various stats are routinely reported, with anything from 25% to a whopping 70% of restaurants said to fail in the first year. This shouldn’t put you off opening a restaurant, cafe or coffee shop though.

Demand is on the increase, with more and more people in the UK spending money on eating out and as consumers become more sophisticated, they are demanding a wider range of foods, providing excellent opportunities to cater to this demand.

Marketing tips for new restaurants

With long hours, demanding customers, dealing with suppliers and juggling 101 other responsibilities, running a restaurant on any scale isn’t easy, but your restaurant can succeed with careful planning and strategically driven marketing activities.

Below you’ll find our 6 marketing tips that will help to ensure the success of your restaurant.

1. Know your customers

This might sound obvious, but sometimes your vision can cloud the practicalities of what will actually work. The customers that you will attract to your restaurant relies largely upon your location. This doesn’t mean you have to provide a ‘me-too’ offering, but you need to know, or at least have a good idea of what might work.

If you live in an area with a large student population, high priced gourmet food just isn’t going to work. Likewise, if you are located in an affluent area full of older residents, super trendy and adventurous fusion foods probably aren’t going to hit the spot.

You should carry out local market research before you set your menu in stone, and you can revise and refine your menu as you go on. Be aware though, the more you deviate away from your original vision, the more of a mixed identity you’ll have, which can make effective marketing more difficult in the future, so make sure your research backs up your vision and if it doesn’t, tweak your vision until it is a better fit.

2. Find  your niche

It goes without saying that you need to make sure that what you offer, suits the demographics of the area that your restaurant is located in. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to offer the same thing that other established establishments are offering. Who needs yet another ho-hum sandwich shop using cheap bread and nasty catering size tubs of margarine, when you could be offering sandwiches using artisan bread, local organic butter and inspired fillings?

Find your niche, and you’ll also find that you can charge a premium, as people are more likely to appreciate and see the value of what you are providing, (assuming your marketing gets this across sufficiently well that is).

Finding your niche is all about finding something unique that you can exploit, essentially, your brand. If you stand out in the minds of your customers then they will remember you. That means they will not only talk about you to their friends and leave positive online reviews, but they’ll come back to you again.

3. Let the local community know!

I live in a small rural town, and including takeaways, coffee shops and cafes, we have the grand total of 41 eateries to choose from in the immediate area. When the restaurant nearest to my home was sold and changed hands, I watched with interest as new signs went up and the restaurant was reborn.

6 months on, and I’ve still not visited the new restaurant. Aside from confused signage which makes it difficult for me to understand the kind of food or style of eatery it now is, I know nothing about it. Living just 500 metres away from this restaurant i’m baffled as to why they didn’t drop flyers through the doors of local residents introducing themselves, providing a sample menu or a special opening offer for pre-booked tables.

It’s not enough to open your doors, put up your website and expect people to come. A pre-launch marketing campaign is critical. Most restaurants have a huge pool of potential customers surrounding them, if only they’d take the time to let those people know something about them!

4. Put customer service first

Focusing on customer service is an excellent way of differentiating from your competitors and is the ideal way to create a strong, positive bond between yourself and your customers. Even if service isn’t perfect, being friendly, approachable and taking the needs of your diners seriously can make all the difference.

Focus on getting the flow of service right, eliminating any un-necessary delays and as the weeks go on, you’ll learn to spot potential stress points and can work at erasing them. Keeping your customers informed and feeling like their needs are being attended to, is very important.

If the kitchen is struggling to deal with the volume of orders, mention this to your diners as you welcome them in, seat them or take their order. Keeping customers informed helps you to effectively adjust  their expectations, making them less likely to be cross that they’ve waited longer than usual for their meal or to receive their bill.

5. Ask happy customers to spread the word

Of course, you aren’t always going to get it right, so ask customers how their meal was when they finish dining. Consider asking those who are happy to leave an online review for you or letting their friends know.

If you find customers report that they are unhappy, encourage them to talk to you there and then about their experience. Being given the opportunity to vent any frustration can help diminish any negative sentiment that they might be feeling after a poor dining experience, and bringing it up with you there and then, will effectively decrease the chance that they will go away and write a bad review.

6. Get mobile

More and more customers are searching for restaurants and places to eat when they are out and about and using their mobile devices. If your website isn’t easily viewed on a smartphone or iPad, you will be losing out.

Google has just launched Google Menu’s in the U.S.A and it’s only a matter of time before the service is launched here in the UK.

Google is preaching the importance of responsive websites for SEO, but it’s also super important to make sure that your customers are able to find you on their smartphone too. Having a standard website won’t always cut it, as it can be difficult to download or view PDF menus, and if your website has Flash content, then forget it.

Make sure that your website can be easily found in Google search and make sure that once on your website, it is easy to navigate to and obtain relevant information on mobile devices. You may need to invest in a mobile version of your website, or even better, update your website so it’s responsive.

Seasonal Promotion Ideas For Restaurants & Pubs

Looking for new and novel angles to market your restaurant or pub from provides a constant challenge, so with this in mind, we’ve put together some simple ideas that will help provide you with a starting point when planning seasonal promotions and offers, starting with Valentines Day.

Restaurant ideas for Valentines Day

Valentines Day

Capitalise on the popularity of Valentines day by offering diners something special this year. A special Valentines Day menu doesn’t need to be difficult to create and you can easily extend the menu so it runs over the entire weekend or even the whole week.

Make sure you focus on decadent foods and those perceived as ‘naughty’, like melt in the middle chocolate fondant or aphrodisiacs, such as Oysters. Sharing platters are a great idea to help love-struck couples get intimate with each other.

Valentines Day Ideas For Restaurants & Pubs

  • Offer a set, all-inclusive Valentines day menu including a starter, main course, dessert and a bottle of wine
  • Theme your Valentines dishes by focusing on the colours pink and/or red
  • Shape desserts into hearts and don’t be afraid to go a bit kitsch with a light dusting of edible pink glitter
  • Choose luxurious and indulgent foods for your Valentines menu, but don’t make dishes too heavy
  • Encourage couples to pre-book their table by offering a discount or exclusive menu only available when pre-booked
  • If your restaurant is part of a hotel, consider offering a themed weekend getaway package including a romantic meal and accommodation
  • Bars might want to create a number of special or limited edition cocktails, with love related names in a range of red and pink hues
  • Provide extras, like a red rose or bottle of bubbly to couples dining with you on Valentines Day, to help make them feel extra special
  • Run a Twitter and/or Instagram competition where you ask Valentines diners to take a selfie in your restaurant/bar and get them to use a certain hash tag. As a prize, have a good bottle of Champagne up for grabs, overnight accommodation or a free meal
  • Devise a special Valentines Day sharing dessert platter

National Chip Week 2014

After Valentines Day, next on the horizon is Chip Week, a week long celebration of the humble chip. Be on the look out for seasonal and one off events, and make sure you know when food related celebrations like Chip, Doughnut and British Pie Week are coming up. You can then tailor your menu, promotions and marketing accordingly and don’t forget to take advantage of related trending social media hash tags.

Chip Week 2014

We’ll be Tweeting chip week related facts and tips all next week, so make sure you join us on Twitter here.