Q: We are launching a new restaurant, and we are focusing on corporate deals more. What are the best steps to follow?
A: This is a perfect application for direct marketing, so thanks for asking! We agree that corporate clients are quite valuable for the following reasons:
- Repeat business–if you can get the large companies to frequent (and love!) your establishment, they’re essentially a captive audience. If the business is located close enough to your restaurant and (of course) if they like you, more than likely they’ll be back for more lunches, or business dinners. Heck, they’ve gotta eat, right?
- Profitable business–think about how differently people spend when they are entertaining clients, or simply using their expense account to pay for the meal. They’ll order better wine, spring for dessert and generally spend more with you. If you can capture this type of business from large corporations, it’s sure to be a profit-booster.
- Incremental revenue–if you offer catering, or to-go food, supplying corporations with food for meetings might be an excellent revenue-generator for you. It all comes down to offering good food, easy-to-eat in a boardroom setting and delivered, at reasonable prices.
So, back to the original question–how do you land business from large corporations? Here are some ideas.
Implement a direct mail program targeting executives working for near-by large corporations. The goal here is to build awareness of your restaurant and to start building a clientele from the near-by large companies. Remember to not only tell them about your restaurant, but make sure that you include a compelling offer that will entice the executives to act. Some potential offers may be: Come visit Restaurant X and your lunch (or dessert if you’re not feeling that generous) is on us!
- Collect business cards at your restaurant. Capture business email addresses and begin a dialogue with these customers. If you like, cherry-pick those customers who work for your target businesses and, again, shoot them a special offer that will make them visit you again.
- Think about extending a corporate discount to your target business customers. Maybe it’s a flat price discount, or perhaps give them a free appetizer or dessert when they eat at your restaurant. Think of ways to make the large corporations start talking internally about your restaurant and entice them to repeatedly eat there. If your offer is good enough, they may even include it on their internal website–a wonderful way to advertise and grow your business.
- Find out who typically arranges the meetings, and then figure out a way to let them know about your service. Perhaps you should consider hosting a catered lunch for those event planners, executive secretaries and other personnel who are responsible for catering decisions. The best way to advertise what you do (cook and serve yummy food) is to feed them, right?
I hope that these marketing ideas have provided some food for thought (pun intended!). Good luck in building up your corporate clientele.
Entry filed under: Direct Marketing for Business Owners.