Fax Advertising - does it work?

Post
Caulitos
Junior Burger
2005/09/24 18:12:41
I own a small restaurant near Dallas, TX. We serve great, hearty low-calorie food and have gotten a lot of great feedback. Unfortunately, our amazingly cute little location doesn't have much in the way of visibility, and so we don't get a lot of street traffic - I'm dying here!

I have decided to add delivery to our service, and bought a list of 2900 fax numbers within a five mile radius (business, of course). I am going to send these out next week with our new menu ... has anyone had any success with this type of marketing before? Any advice?

I'm desperate ... I won't be able to make my house or car payments if I don't start reaching my minimum daily goal this month!

Thanks,
Cathina
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/24 19:02:57
I can only say this about fax advertising: What you do when you advertise by fax is force your way into other people's businesses, and you make them pay for it. Somehow, I guess that you'd make the people who have to pay for your advertisements pretty darned angry. I know that I'd probably sue you for doing it to me.
EdSails
Filet Mignon
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/24 19:12:20
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

I can only say this about fax advertising: What you do when you advertise by fax is force your way into other people's businesses, and you make them pay for it. Somehow, I guess that you'd make the people who have to pay for your advertisements pretty darned angry. I know that I'd probably sue you for doing it to me.


I'll echo Mr. Hoffman's comment. There are few things more annoying than running out of paper for an important fax because someone is faxing an ad to you. Plus, it really doesn't endear people to you by using their paper and ink.
A better way to do it might be printing up "courtesy introduction cards" and having someone (maybe a high school student" pass them around to local businesses. Maybe include an offer for a free item as an introduction. You'll get a much better response.
Caulitos
Junior Burger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/24 19:22:18
I would normally feel the same way - but when I used to work in an office, I knew we threw EVERY faxed piece of junk we got away EXCEPT delivery menus from the local Chinese restaurants. Why? Because we ordered in most days, and that was one thing we actually didn't mind getting.

Do you think that was more of an exception than the rule?

-Cathina
EdSails
Filet Mignon
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/24 19:40:24
Yes. I must admit, I haven't seen any faxed menus here------but the idea is still the same-------aand it always seems to come in at the wrong time. I'd really stay away from the fax. However, I have seen several places that advertise that you can fax an order in to them so it will be ready when they arrive. That's a good idea!
nvb
Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/24 20:00:03
When I was in the private sector the FAXes that were on the machine when I arrived in the morning were looked at, and the ones that came in through the day were normally cursed and tossed.
Greyghost
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/24 20:14:28
Worst thing you could do. Using up peoples ink and paper with your ad will not make you any friends. This is also an illegal practice. I believe the fine is $500 per fax. Many people milk this law as it is the person faxed that gets the $500. They collect the faxes until it is a huge amount of money, then they go to lawyers that specialize in this sort of law and get rich.

I do not think it is worth the risk. By the way this is Federal law not state. I think you are vulnerable.
mr chips
Filet Mignon
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/24 21:51:55
I would not welcome faxes at my work. However, a menu with a take-out number would be welcomed if mailed or hand-delivered.
Jim Ross
Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/24 23:34:22
Fax advertising is worse than spam. It ties up the phone line and uses up paper and toner. I make it a point to never do business with spam or fax perpatrators.
UncleVic
Sirloin
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/25 00:24:21
Whenever I received a faxed ad at the office (very few a that), I would call them up and let my temper loose on them.. Then there was one time the same company faxed us twice in 2 days.. I made it my personal project to fax them our company flier once an hour for a day straight (Which was 12 hours). Best thing to do is create a flyer (colored paper off a laser printer) and hire someone to deliver them door to door, business to business. Hand delivering the flyers may cost more, but the delivery person makes a personal contact and can further explain from experience what you have to offer..

festivalfood
Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/25 00:42:51
Cathina
I echo the thoughts of everyone else hear about the unsolicited faxes.When I owned my restaurants I would have people call me to fax over my menus but I would not just send them out randomly.I did print up a couple of thousand menus and a page of specials with coupons attached,and we delivered them to every house and business we could in a five mile radius.We would staple a pipe cleaner to the top and bend it into a hook and hang it on door knobs in residential neighborhoods (so they would not blow away,and I think by law your not allowed to put anything in mailboxes)and hand deliver them to businesses and introduce ourselves.The phone rang off the hook everytime we did this,and lunch time got out of control,and we actually had to stop delivering for lunch because it was too busy .People love the convenience of delivery and trying new places.Just have your menus and sheet of coupons done professionally,because you will be competing with places that have theirs done professionally and it is the first thing about you these people will see.Hang in there,I went through some tough times in the begining too,but if your food is good and people like your serice you will succeed.I bought 2 different failed places one out of business and one ready to go out and turned them around ,made them successful and sold them both for a nice profit.I know it is hard to think straight when the funds are low,and the bills keep rolling in,and panic sets in,but bootstrappng your way out of it is not as impossible as you think.Hang in there,and get those menus out!
Best of luck
Jim
V960
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/25 08:11:56
One more voice against spam faxing.
LegalLady
Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/25 09:05:27
Frankly, having worked for the County Attorney, and now as Associate Judge, any fax advertising I receive is thrown directly into the trash. I find it very annoying to receive unwanted faxes and phone calls.

The Lady
Adjudicator
Sirloin
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/25 09:27:13
My office gets 2-3 restaurant daily specials menus every Monday. However, they were solicited from the establishment(s) that send them. I think that it would be easy to offer your menu via fax. Simply call business office mgrs./supervisors to solicit. You may be surprised at those who accept. I would concentrate heavily on state govt. offices and those in the medical community (especially private practices, etc.). If you deliver, you will have an added bonus.
festivalfood
Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/25 12:37:59
I would concentrate on all different types of businesses.The difficulty with delivering to offices is the standard lunch time many of them have, right around noon.Many would call in at 11:30 and expect it delivered by noon,which is tough if you are very busy and you have a lot of deliveries to do.We delivered to many hair salons(loved our grilled chicken caesar salads!),auto body shops,car dealers,repair shops etc,they usually had more flexability in when they ate lunch .We had one factory that we did around $1000 a week to sometimes more in deliveries,they had hundreds of employees and three shifts.We had one of our regular customers lose his job.He would order from us everyday,then he walked by one day and I called out to him "no lunch today?" he told me he lost his job and was low on cash.I told him his word was good enough for me,and to order everyday like he use to and catch up with me on the money when he gets back on his feet.Well ,he came in everyday and ate his chicken and ribs and I threw his bill under the register.About 2 weeks later he got a job at a big factory and told everyone there about our food,dropped off a bunch of menus and how we were his friends.That little act of kindness resulted in big orders from the factory EVERYDAY,TWICE A DAY! Both the day and night shift ordered from us 5 days a week,and I would never charge our customer who brought that business to us.Many bars don't have kitchens and the regulars have food delivered.We delivered to many bars in our town too.Remember everyone eats! Don't pass up any businesses,if there are people there, get your menus in their hands.Like I said we got so busy with lunch delieries we could not handle it and stopped delivering for lunch (except for a few big customers!)One nice thing is that many of your lunch time delivery customers will become your dinner time residential customers if they like your food.We saw many faces twice a day ordering for lunch,then ordering dinner for themseles at their homes.Get those menus out!But realize delivery is tough if your busy,and it's hard to get delivery drivers,and you find yourself getting behind on delieries and people calling up looking for their food.Delivery made up for almost 80% of our nightime dinner business .We always had a $10 minimum order for deliveries,and limited our delivery area to a size that we could handle.
Jim
Extreme Glow
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/25 14:30:15
Sending unsolicited (junk) faxes is a violation of Federal law. Anyone who receives one of those faxes can sue you.

From the FCC website:

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules prohibit sending unsolicited advertisements to a fax machine without the recipient’s prior express permission or unless the sender has an established business relationship with the recipient. This prohibition applies to fax machines at both businesses and residences.
Sandy Eggo
Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/27 20:48:03
Whether it's legal or not, business people don't like it. We get them for mortgage rates, timeshares, stock tips and they all go in the trash. It is a piece of business equipment and not simply a mailbox. Unless you are giving the food away, you probably alienate customers. Accept fax order if you offer take out, but don't fax it's just low tech spam.

I know this question is an old post, so I'm just adding my .02 If business is bad there are three reasons for it and the first is location. Don't fight a bad location, you'll never win... unless you've been there forever or have some astounding food or a gimick.
But for a start up these days the best food, best service and best prices won't make a bad location work.
festivalfood
Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/27 23:18:21
I agree about the location part to a point.I agree a good location is a necessary starting point ,but proper marketing and delivery can overcome a poor location.I know of a Dominos by me that is in the middle of no where on an obscure side street that does a huge business,yes it is a national chain with national advertising,but the location is horrible,without delivery (Which I realize is all they do) they would be closed 2 months after opening.A bad location can be overcome if you deliver and advertise aggressively(excuding the spam faxing)
Jim
tmiles
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/28 09:54:20
I own a travel agency. I have to leave my fax on for 24 hours a day so that I can get important travel infomation and documents for my clients. I am flooded with junk faxes, some for travel (even some "junk" from suppliers), but most not of any worth to me or my customers. Recently I have been calling the removal number at the bottom of junk faxes, and it has helped a little. My suppliers hound me to send faxes and emails to my clients on their behalf. I do not. People can opt in by clicking a button on my web site to get automated specials, but other than that I never allow my email or fax numbers to be used to send anything to my clients except info that they have asked for. To me,"asked for" does not mean that they called me once 6 months ago, so I am free to broadcast to them every day. One request gets one email or fax in reply. This policy has gained me far more business than it has costed me.
berndog
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/09/28 10:49:14
I once considered borrowing a fax machine for my home to find out who was trying to send me unsolicited faxs in the middle of the night. Talk about angry, having your phone ring and ring and wake you up, only to hear the sound of electronic blips and bleeps of a fax machine trying to communicate.

The phone company was worthless in trying to track down this harrassment. I would strongly suggest you skip the faxing idea (unless specically requested by an office) and put together a flyer you have hand delivered or mailed.
pcdiva
Double Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/10/03 17:20:21
I'm with everyone else on NOT sending unsolicited faxes. A better idea might be to go out and visit nearby businesses during the mornings and late afternoons to introduce yourself and ask if anyone would like a menu.

If people can associate a face with a place, it usually makes a good impression. If you have staff during slow periods, you could have them go out instead.

One more thing about door hanging. You MAY NOT place anything on or in a mailbox that doesn't have postage attached. Newspaper boxes are fair game. Believe me, I found this out the hard way and had to go back and pick up a lot of flyers that had been placed on mailbox flags by my employees or face major fines from the Post Office.

Good Luck!
Alice
V960
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: Fax Advertising - does it work? 2005/10/03 17:47:44
Have to agree. Personal visits work very well IF you have the correct personality. One of the major insurance companies ran a survey where they sent out poorly dressed and groomed folks with a canned speech that consisted of simply "You wouldn't want to buy any insurance today would you?" They got a six percent positive response. When I had a lunch only catering business I would prespect in off hours w/ a thirty plus success rate.

I'm out of the food service business for a while. Sold the catering business, the concession trailer and farm out my consulting. Until I'm back to running thirty miles a week and have a few 10k's behind me I'll just do my day job as a consulting engineer.

Go see people...be nice...talk up what you can do THEY need not what you want to do...be nice...it's harder to screen a person but easy to screen a fax (trash can) or a phone call (he/she isn't available).

Make a goal to visit ten to twenty (depends on your area's density) small speciality companies per week. Take pictures, sample prices and promise to deliver the first order yourself. You'll get orders.

Faxes won't get crap except crap. Would you buy lunch from an unsolicited fax? Cater a business meeting?