Serving Up Effective Promotions In Hard Times

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If you’re in the bar and restaurant business, you’ve probably heard of theNational Restaurant Association, and perhaps visited their website. They offer membership that seeks to represent, promote and educate its member establishments and are the source for regular surveys of owners and managers of these key small businesses. Not surprisingly, the economy, food costs and the building/maintaining of sales volume are reported as the three biggest worries for owners and managers responding to the latest survey.
But here’s something you didn’t know…
Everyone (business owners and private citizens alike) these days is watching and worried about the economy — bailout… no bailout… it’s hard to keep track, or to know what’s right and the effect government action will have on all of us. Still, in times of uncertainly, as these surely are, the best advice seems to keep your head. Some people (Warren Buffett is a successful example) look for opportunity during these times. The idea is that while others hold back, business that continue to promote themselves stand a better chance of winning customers and building market share that lasts long after the downturn is over.
As to building (or just keeping) your sales volume where you want it, promotional products can helpbars and restaurants (and many other businesses too) do just that. These items, simple everyday things that your customers can touch and are a tangible reminder of how much you appreciate the business. What’s more, these affordable, effective products put your name and logo right where people can see it — not just once, but over and over again. 
Some of the effective promotional items restaurants can use include simple, affordable give aways likecoasters, free matches or mints. Glasses or mugs with the name of your place and a logo on them are wonderful keepsakes to make available for patrons. Another fantastic choice is a coloring book and crayons — keeps the kids (mom and dad too) happy at the table, and provides a lasting keepsake the family takes home. Your name gets seen many times over.
Sometimes parents might even choose your place over another because of the coloring book their kids love. Not to mention the chance for a peaceful dinner.
Beyond this, you’ll want to look for ways to showcase your name and logo. Beyond the signs you probably use, consider making use of the blank space on food containersnapkins or bags as a way to send your name home too. Be sure that when you shop for these items you see samples and put them to the test yourself so you can be sure of the quality. The last thing a customer will want is to have food arrive home leaking from the bag or container. 
As one of the nation’s largest private sector employers (an estimated 13.1 million people work in this industry) restaurant and bar owners know what it’s like to manage a lot of people at once. Putting everyone in a smart, comfortable uniform that works for both men and women benefits your business in many ways. It’s gives you a look that’s established… professional… successful.
Even if your uniform consists of a shirt in a single color and style, a bandana or a matching cap, dressing your staff alike helps patrons identify them. What’s more, you’ll help to build a sense of unity among the staff that everyone can feel. Badges with the staff members name are yet another simple add on to any type of uniform (or great on their own) and come in a whole range of styles and withaccessories to suit your needs.
Doing all you can to promote your business, while keeping a wary eye on the economy and the Wall Street bailout (it’s supposed to help, right???), are smart moves during these uncertain economic times. Restaurants and bars that are able to ride out the tough times will be in great shape when things turn around again.
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