Building your Brand


Build Brand Identity and Build Sales

Over the last several years restaurants have called upon me to (1) Build Brand Identity and (2) Build Sales. I’d like to cite several examples below that discuss (a) what I did, (b) how I did it and (c) the results:

1. Happy Hour

Here is a sample of a unique happy hour: We developed a Happy Hour with over 40 food items with a full range of items from the dinner menu. We also have specialty drinks. The hours to serve the happy hour menu is selected carefully. Believe it or not, Happy Hour sales are in excess of 50% of the total sales in a restaurant doing significant sales.

So the ingredients in this program are (1) price, (2) selection, (3) quality, and (4) promotion. For promotional efforts we put a “bug” on the home page of the website that goes right to the menu, we distribute neighborhood flyers monthly, post interior signage and work the social media.

Call me to create your own significant Happy Hour with these ideas.

2. Dinner

The theme of your restaurant exists-let’s just leave it. So, what we did was to create a “theme within a theme.” To promote we use social media, the website and the biggest boon to increasing the sales has been the service staff. They are fully engaged for the obvious reason of enhanced guest check average.

As a result, what we have seen happen is that the level of service has been improving because of giving the staff the vehicle to have more engagement with the guest to discuss higher end products. Notable their dinner sales have increased double digits since inception.

Call me to create your own significant dinner menu with the idea of having a “restaurant within a restaurant.”

3. Brunch

Brunch is already popular. So how do you get separated from other restaurant brunch offerings? Create a situation that is putting you as an expert in a particular category. Here is what happened: What is the most popular brunch item? Eggs Benedict. So let us keep your existing menu but create a section featuring a vast selection of Eggs Benedict (7).

They make a big deal of it by stating how they make their own hollandaise sauce and have country potatoes and have cage free eggs and specialty English muffins. The section of the menu is highlighted right in the middle of the menu. I suggest you highlight this area in a different color so it stands out from everything else.

Once again, the Benedicts are going to (1) enhance sales via raising the guest check average which (2) causes service staff to be more engaged which causes a better/best guest experience. You become known as the “expert in Eggs Benedict” vs just another brunch place. Incidentally, they probably have one of the largest brunches in the city.

Call me to create your own significant brunch menu with the idea of having this being a more memorable section on your menu.

I am advising clients to become more and more specific and unique in their approach to building their business. “Simple” adjustments like previously mentioned can bring you both brand building and financial rewards. It is a competitive market out there and there is no slowdown of new restaurants so one needs to be more engaged in brand building in order to maintain their position in the marketplace.

Call Arnold for us to work with you to enhance your brand at 206-679-1037.

Successful Restaurants are ready for the Holidays. Are You?

Successful Restaurants are ready for the Holidays

Holiday Promotions

Over the years restaurants, especially chains, do gift card promotions for the month of December. Most of the time I see gift card sales which are very high. Most independents have a harder time with this promotion because they do not have the entire infrastructure to do it correctly and maximize their sales. What follows is a step by step methodology to assist the operator for this promotion.

As a footnote I strongly suggest you do a Thanksgiving promotion where you donate a portion of your sales to the hurricane flooding or the fires in California. We think it is a good idea to have a table piece talking about the disasters and that you are going to donate 5% of your sales to the relief disasters. We might suggest you utilize your social media to announce what you are doing. We suggest you use the month of November for this charitable act.

The gift card and catering promotion is as follows:

Gift Cards

Gift Cards are the #1 most requested gift. Develop your own strategy, plan and financial objectives to include:

  1. Email Blast(s) to your Clientele List – Begin to send out in early November and offer incentives to the recipient. We have done by $100 of gift certificate for someone and receive an additional $25 certificate for your own use.
    • Remember to build your email list starting in September – Offer an incentive for sign ups such as a free appetizer on their next visit. Make a concerted effort with your staff to facilitate sign ups.
  2. Website Announcement – Have a blurb on your home page in a different color than the colors of the web page so it stands out. This might even take the user to another page to buy the certificate.
  3. In-store Point of Sale Materials – Guest check presenter, table piece, lobby poster, etc. are some examples
  4. Staff Sales Incentives – I would develop sales goals such as if a team member sells $1000 worth of cards they get 10% of the sales. If they sell another $1000 they would get 15% of these sales and so on. You might think about gifts to staff members as well on top of the cash incentives.
  5. Social Media Announcements – Present same offer as you would in the email blast(s).

Host a Holiday Season Kickoff Event

Host the event early November or even in October. The purpose of this party (s) is to get your clientele in the mood for the season and to choose your establishment as the “go to place” for their holiday entertaining, dining and socializing.

  1. Pick a busy day to do this so that the invitees and the other customers can see how festive your restaurant can be. Thursdays or Fridays are always good because you will get office workers which are your target audience. You will also get early dinners.
  2. Make it festive with balloons, streamers, flowers, welcome sign, live entertainment, and maybe even a fun photo booth. Go overboard. It gets people in the mood.
  3. Offer complimentary buffet and champagne toast to welcome in the season.
  4. Have a take away flyer showing specialty menus and other add ons that bookings can have for their party.
  5. Team up with other local businesses for unique gift opportunities – For example, team up with a nearby hotel for a free night and dinner and raffle it off.
  6. I would give each recipient a take away gift. How about a $10 gift card? Why not?
  7. Promote Holiday Hours – So your customers know when they can visit you.
  8. Utilize your web site, email list, social media and in store messaging to get the word out for this gala event.
  9. Follow Up – Promote hosting and/or catering holiday parties – Encourage booking reservations or orders early to avoid the last minute rush and anxiety.

Start Early

Don’t wait until the middle of the holiday season, when your customers are busy and traveling, get on their radar now!!

Call us to help you assemble these two promotions. Arnold at 206-679-1037. We have done this numerous times and have had success in increasing gift certificate sales as well as holiday bookings.

More Sales, More Profits – Not so Fast


Each and every day I hear “if I only had more sales I’d have more profits…”
While not in disagreement with this notion it is not necessarily the pathway to enhanced profits.

Our company assists many clients with marketing, media strategy, and new and better promotions. This is all great but there is other ways to “get more profits”.

Utilizing Current Expense Categories

I’ve suggested to our client base to take a harder look at their expense categories utilizing “new and different perspectives”. My motivation for delivering this message is after watching several clients increase their bottom line significantly (up to 25%) without sales not going up.

So how did they do it?

I’ve watched and assisted several companies enhance their bottom line.

The following is a list of what they have done: Continue reading

Employee Retention & Productivity


Improving the Results of your Staff

I continually am reminded about three items from my clients:

  • How difficult it is to obtain good employees
  • How to keep your team
  • How to keep them performing at a high level

How to be More Efficient with your Staff and Achieve Desired Results

Many operators have worked at keeping their key people growing right along with them. I’ve come up with what I believe the MAGIC is for retention and productivity. Continue reading

Knowing the Highlights of Your Brand


Do you know what people like the most from your restaurant?
Can you become “famous” for these items and make them the “highlight” of your Brand?

Step 1. Tabulate
Go the reviews on the internet to see what the reviewers like the most. You can see this data at the top of the review page before the actual reviews. List 3-4 categories to see which the reviewers’ favorites are. Continue reading

Minimum Wage Increase Benefits


Minimum Wage Increase Benefits?

How some of the successful establishments in restaurant industry are benefiting from the increase in the minimum wage?

Factually you are going to need to pass this increase along to the guest. Most operators are fearful that if they add more pricing/charges to the guest check you have the potentiality of losing guests. Continue reading

Combating Minimum Wages 2017

“Restaurant start-ups, Restaurant turn-arounds, and Profit-improvement”



It is upon us as we speak. We can grumble about it and get angry, but at the end of the day it is going to happen.

What can we do as operators to “overcome and benefit” from this? Continue reading