The most memorable local eateries along the highways and back roads of America
Sign In | Register for Free!
Restaurants Recipes Forums EatingTours Merchandise FAQ Maps Insider

 Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer?

Author Message
TravelAddict

  • Total Posts: 5
  • Joined: 4/18/2013
  • Location: New York City, NY
Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Thu, 04/18/13 7:01 PM (permalink)
Hi everyone-- new poster here after poking around and after searching the forum didn't see anything that really answers what I am facing...
 
I am working on a new social cause marketing program that is unlike any of the other traditional marketing offers in that it is no-out-of-pocket cost.  So it's not like Groupon, Scoutmob, Yelp, etc. We're also not like typical suppliers/vendors in that we are not selling anything-- we are looking for partnerships.   
 
It involves giving people an option to give to charity with each meal they order.  The challenge I have been facing is how to get the 10-15 minute meeting it takes to explain the idea.  
 
What I've tried and results so far (~20-30 restaurants, total # of 10 min meetings... 3)
1) Calling to set up a meeting
-- Typically get the "GM is not here right now, we'll pass on the message" (then never hear back)
-- Or, "Email us" (also never hear back)
 
2) Going to the restaurant for lunch, dinner, or a drink, and then asking to speak to the GM or someone appropriate
-- This I have had more success with, actually got a few meetings 
-- But, often have been told "GM is busy, can't speak to you" or "email us", usually don't hear back
 
3) Just stopping in to chat with GM/owner
-- Spoke with one of the owners but she said "email us", and we know how that goes...
 
I have not tried:
-- Cold emailing
 
I always try to go before first service or between lunch and dinner (or if I am eating there, to go early dinner, early lunch, or late dinner when it's not busy).  
 
What do restaurants prefer for these sort of pitches?  All I am looking for is 10 minutes to explain the idea.  Am I asking for the right people?  (Usually I ask the host/hostess or server who I should speak to and they send me to the GM)  
 
Thanks for any thoughts!  
 
#1
    Foodbme

    • Total Posts: 9583
    • Joined: 9/1/2006
    • Location: Gilbert, AZ
    Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Thu, 04/18/13 9:45 PM (permalink)
    I think the problem is your basic business model. I wouldn't think most restaurant people will be interested in asking patrons to cough up more money for any cause, no matter how good it is. People think the cost of eating out is too high as it is. People get hit up enough to give to causes, no matter how noble they may be.  
     
    #2
      TravelAddict

      • Total Posts: 5
      • Joined: 4/18/2013
      • Location: New York City, NY
      Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Sun, 04/21/13 6:45 PM (permalink)
      Hi Foodbme-- point taken, although that's not the business model.  Patrons would not be asked to "cough up" anything more.  Also, it would not be a hard sell.  Patrons would not be asked to do this by the restaurant, but they would be made aware of it by the option on the menu, and our own, separate marketing.  
       
      Would that misconception be a main reason why restaurants are not more interested in hearing the idea out?  
       
      Out of curiosity... why do restaurants entertain Groupon, Scoutmob, check-in offers on Foursquare and Yelp when these are so costly, but not willing to listen to a no hard cost option for marketing?  
       
      #3
        daddywoofdawg

        • Total Posts: 299
        • Joined: 2/23/2011
        • Location: Starkweather, ND
        Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Tue, 04/23/13 3:39 AM (permalink)
        First: you need to call around and get the GM's name before you show up. And then you call and ask for Mr/Mrs.GM
        Second: you need to start off with what's in it for them? (need proof not rainbows).
        Third: why would it be a benefit for there customers? 
        How is it free and different from any other.
        Why do they want to be associated with you?
        If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't.
        That is what your dealing with.And your not the only one knocking on the door.
        <message edited by daddywoofdawg on Tue, 04/23/13 3:43 AM>
         
        #4
          TravelAddict

          • Total Posts: 5
          • Joined: 4/18/2013
          • Location: New York City, NY
          Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Tue, 04/23/13 4:00 PM (permalink)
          daddywoofdawg-- makes sense.  We have a 10 minute pitch that covers all except... 
           
          "proof not rainbows".  While we have results from a market survey, this is brand new and we're trying to do a pilot.  Is there a different way to frame if we are looking for a few restaurants willing to do a pilot with us?  
           
          Something else we are considering: offering some incentive or compensation to participate in the pilot since it's so new and it is a risk to participate before it's proven.  For example, $X for a traditional marketing campaign of their choice (direct mail, ads, online ads etc).  Or, X hours of free technology and operational consulting, or some combo.  (We have a background in consulting for Fortune 50 companies).  
           
          Thoughts on the incentive?  Would that help?  Hurt?  Necessary? What should $X be to get a GM's attention?  
           
          #5
            jorenmathew

            • Total Posts: 28
            • Joined: 4/25/2013
            • Location: Frankfurt, XX
            Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Tue, 04/30/13 5:17 AM (permalink)
            Best way to attract the client is the polite mess and behavior.
            Suppose, you are going to restaurant then you found no manners and etiquette of serving the food, then you don't like to eat food on that place. That shows the behavior matters in food. One more points, is taste of food.It's also helps to attract the people.
             
             
             
             
            #6
              jeffwllms

              • Total Posts: 19
              • Joined: 4/18/2013
              • Location: Fort Worth, TX
              Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Tue, 04/30/13 10:01 AM (permalink)
              Hey @traveladdict, I am the founder of a non-profit myself and since it is about feeding the hungry I have had some experience with restaurant owners and chefs (we are a fairly new non-profit so I have limited experience)

              1) Restaurant owners as a whole are charitable and willing to help,  but they have the causes that they support.  Many restaurant give portions on there intake to a certain charity and I think would welcome a way that would make it known what charity they support and possibly allow there dinners to contribute as well.  But your system would need to be targeted to the specific charities the restaurant owner likes.

              2)  Even though the above is true, there is a fine line to pressuring the dinner to give something.  If you are wanting to add anything to there check were the dinner just fills in a donation amount, or have donation envelopes on the table or something, this is going to be a hard sell.  Even if you don't see it as a hard sell it will be.
               
              3)  Know exactly what you are asking for and ask it.  Like said above there needs to be a benefit (how is it going to benefit the restaurant).  That is why the grouping and what not work, they sell the restaurant on the benefit.  If you can't bring more people into the restaurant, or somehow show that with your system people enjoy their experience more than without the system than you have a hard sell.  Unless you can do number 1 and pitch it to a charity the restaurant owner already really cares about and want to support
               
              I think we are thinking about doing something that may be similar to what you are doing specific to out organization though.  It might be a good idea to actually approach different charities and have them push it to the organizations that support them, perhaps if you can make the system a little less specific to restaurant the charities can individually push it to any retail/restaurant type business.
               
               
              #7
                Sonny Funzio

                • Total Posts: 902
                • Joined: 2/13/2006
                • Location: Detroit, MI
                Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Wed, 05/1/13 9:46 AM (permalink)
                You are up against a few things ...
                Managing a restaurant is a hectic job - I'm not surprised they don't want to give any time to someone whose product does not improve their bottom line or service.
                 
                Unrequested solicitations (of customers) ... while not quite panhandling ... is still an unrequested solicitation to get money out of someone.
                 
                You'd be better off coming up with an advertising or PR campaign that will drive patrons to the restaurant, is quantifiable, and is at no upfront cost to the restaurant.  Then, you get a cut from each patron who indicates your program was a factor in their eating there.
                 
                #8
                  TravelAddict

                  • Total Posts: 5
                  • Joined: 4/18/2013
                  • Location: New York City, NY
                  Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Wed, 05/1/13 3:16 PM (permalink)
                  @jeffwllms @Sonny_Fuzio, Thanks for the responses... some great thoughts but I need to clarify a few things:
                   
                  1) We are not soliciting anything at the restaurant.  
                  2) Guests find out about the program from the menu and from our marketing
                  3) We expect the value to be that the program will drive patrons to the restaurant without any upfront cost or backend cost (e.g. no commission or discounts) 
                   
                  Perhaps it is the restaurant's initial perception of issues like solicitation or misconceptions of costs that is a barrier?  
                   
                  Also... back to the idea of offering an incentive to be an early partner... would this help overcome any hesitations?  How much incentive would be enough?  ($250? $500?) 
                   
                  Any thoughts on approaching GM vs. owner vs. chef?
                  <message edited by TravelAddict on Wed, 05/1/13 3:18 PM>
                   
                  #9
                    jeffwllms

                    • Total Posts: 19
                    • Joined: 4/18/2013
                    • Location: Fort Worth, TX
                    Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Thu, 05/2/13 12:37 PM (permalink)
                    @TravelAddict
                    TravelAddict

                    1) We are not soliciting anything at the restaurant.   
                    2) Guests find out about the program from the menu and from our marketing
                    3) We expect the value to be that the program will drive patrons to the restaurant without any upfront cost or backend cost (e.g. no commission or discounts)

                     
                    point number 1) you say you aren't soliciting at the restaurant.
                    but then in point number 2) you say guest find out from the menu and marketing, I think most would consider that solicitation.
                    3) you are going to have to drive this home, and have proof of concept that the system does in fact drive more people to the restaurant and how.
                     
                    The incentive for early adoption might be a good way to get proof of concept if you don't have it already.  It is hard to put a number on it.  You need to figure out a number you are willing to pay to get a customer and then figure your win rate.  So if you are willing to pay $1000 for a customer and you expect your win rate to be 1 in 10.  You can offer $100.
                     
                    as far as who to approach I would say owner is best, than chef, than manager.  Have a different sales pitch for each one that speaks to what they care about.  Owner = bottom line, chef = ability to better target menu specific menu items, etc.  GM = ability to hit goals (bonus potential).
                     
                    Good luck.
                     
                    #10
                      Valcards.com

                      • Total Posts: 1
                      • Joined: 5/2/2013
                      • Location: Laguna Beach, CA
                      Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Thu, 05/2/13 8:21 PM (permalink)
                      I have been in ad sales for 13 years. Both approaching small mom and pops as well as fortune 1000 companies. Non traditional or Traditional, it will all be the same. Every business needs a little different approach. Especially based on the size of the company, whether its corporate owned, family owned, etc. I have always found though, across the board, that a soft approach is always best. Create contact with whatever way works best for that business, ask questions, genuinely have a interest in them other then just doing business together. I have always offered free tips and advice where I gain Nothing monitary. But I gain their trust. They will be more interested in hearing what you have to offer after they get to know you on a non business basis.
                       
                      #11
                        Sonny Funzio

                        • Total Posts: 902
                        • Joined: 2/13/2006
                        • Location: Detroit, MI
                        Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Fri, 05/3/13 10:02 AM (permalink)
                        You have not explained this clearly, you've stated  ...
                        "3) We expect the value to be that the program will drive patrons to the restaurant without any upfront cost or backend cost (e.g. no commission or discounts)"
                         
                        Just what is going to drive patrons to the restaurant??
                        You have not explained that.
                        Patrons are interested in "what's in it for me". 
                         
                        The number of people who will be driven to go out of their way to patronize the restaurant beyond the food and value the restaurant provides ... and instead because of their love for the "charity" aspect; is small.
                         
                        Also you state ...
                        "It involves giving people an option to give to charity with each meal they order."
                         
                        Just whose pocket is that coming out of??
                        Someone is out the money, somewhere.
                         
                        Those two points together make the idea a non-starter IMO. 

                        I feel your concept does not hold up as you've explained it so far.
                        About the only way I can think of that you might have a chance is if you go through a very high profile, well-known charity itself, first ... i.e. a well-known Woman's Shelter ... a well-known Pantry ... Habitat for Humanity etc ... and essentially act as their agent.  These must be "societally favored" high-profile charities.  This way the "value" you are providing ... it is the reputation of that specific charity.  But even this is tenuous; people don't like to be solicited when they are going to a restaurant, and you have not explained exactly whose pocket the money comes out of ... the customer ... the profit margin of the restaurant? ... who?
                         
                        Ok ... just to show I'm not all wet-blanket and humbug, here's an alternative idea:
                        Have 3 parties involved ... the (high profile) charity ... the funder - essentially a large corporation or sponsor who will actually provide the money/funding (per dollar spent by the customer) ... and the restaurant - BUT *only* utilize restaurants in underprivileged/underserved areas (actually, you should include all businesses in those struggling neighborhoods).
                         
                        The attraction to the funder is the opportunity to see their money do double-duty ... helping a charity *and* helping businesses in an underprivileged area.  The attraction to the business is the affiliation with both the charity and the funder, and the potential increase in business volume/revenue ... and the attraction to the patron is that they are helping both the charity and the restaurant/business *without* any out-of-pocket cost on their own or being solicited.
                         
                        If you do move forward with my idea ... call it "Sonny's Way" ;-)
                         
                        Sonny
                        <message edited by Sonny Funzio on Fri, 05/3/13 10:25 AM>
                         
                        #12
                          jeffwllms

                          • Total Posts: 19
                          • Joined: 4/18/2013
                          • Location: Fort Worth, TX
                          Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Fri, 05/3/13 12:10 PM (permalink)
                          @sonny
                           
                          Well explained, that is what I was trying to say when I recommended going through the charity itself and broaden the scope of the service to work for more than just restaurants.
                           
                           
                          Although I don't know that I agree that the amount of people that would go to a restaurant because of a charity is small.  It may depend on the area but I have seen droves of people go to a business to support a charity and in a in the thousands of people, from a larger population pool (i.e further than 5 miles away).  This is of course for a special event or something, but those usually do mean that people from the outside areas if they like the place will go back.  It isn't  a ton of repeat, but definitely more than they had yesterday and increases world of mouth and news exposure for the business.
                           
                           I do agree with you though it isn't explained very well, he keeps saying there is no solicitation but then, lists solicitation points. "It involves giving people an option to give to charity with each meal they order." and how it will be on the menu.  Anyhow, he may just be keeping the detail a little secret as he is still in the process of developing the program.  As a founder of a non-profit I wish him all the luck though.
                           
                          #13
                            TravelAddict

                            • Total Posts: 5
                            • Joined: 4/18/2013
                            • Location: New York City, NY
                            Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Mon, 05/6/13 2:41 PM (permalink)
                            Thanks for all the well-reasoned thoughts... definitely food for thought so to speak :)
                             
                            @jeffwllms, you're right, I was considering "solicitation" to be active solicitation as in "do you want fries with that?" or "Would you like to add $1 to your grocery bill to support XYZ charity".  We would only do separate marketing and what I suppose would be passive solicitation (no pressure). 
                             
                            I am not sharing every detail just yet because we are in early development, but I can share a bit more:
                             
                            -- The primary goal is to reduce the amount of food thrown away from uneaten restaurant meals
                            -- We want to then take the value saved from that and direct it to charity, for example, a major area food bank
                             
                            The money does not come out of the restaurant's pocket-- but would come out of the guest's-- with the idea that only those guests who are not trying to consume all the food would participate.  They would pay full price, but receive a smaller portion.  That way the restaurant makes full margin.  The value of the food saved from being served would go to charity.  
                             
                            If people can take home leftovers, that's great!  If people finish everything, that's great too!  It's more for those situations where it doesn't make sense to consume everything or take home leftovers that we want this option available.  E.g. business travelers, leisure travelers, or if for whatever reason do not think you will consume the leftovers.  
                             
                            "Sonny's Way" is also an interesting idea and we'll be in touch if we move forward on that one :)
                             
                             
                            #14
                              jeffwllms

                              • Total Posts: 19
                              • Joined: 4/18/2013
                              • Location: Fort Worth, TX
                              Re:Advice on best way to approach restaurant for non-traditional marketing offer? Mon, 05/6/13 3:08 PM (permalink)
                              TravelAddict


                              Thanks for all the well-reasoned thoughts... definitely food for thought so to speak :)

                              @jeffwllms, you're right, I was considering "solicitation" to be active solicitation as in "do you want fries with that?" or "Would you like to add $1 to your grocery bill to support XYZ charity".  We would only do separate marketing and what I suppose would be passive solicitation (no pressure). 

                              I am not sharing every detail just yet because we are in early development, but I can share a bit more:

                              -- The primary goal is to reduce the amount of food thrown away from uneaten restaurant meals
                              -- We want to then take the value saved from that and direct it to charity, for example, a major area food bank

                              The money does not come out of the restaurant's pocket-- but would come out of the guest's-- with the idea that only those guests who are not trying to consume all the food would participate.  They would pay full price, but receive a smaller portion.  That way the restaurant makes full margin.  The value of the food saved from being served would go to charity.  

                              If people can take home leftovers, that's great!  If people finish everything, that's great too!  It's more for those situations where it doesn't make sense to consume everything or take home leftovers that we want this option available.  E.g. business travelers, leisure travelers, or if for whatever reason do not think you will consume the leftovers.  

                              "Sonny's Way" is also an interesting idea and we'll be in touch if we move forward on that one :)


                               
                              Awesome the mission is right up my alley with the charity that we started.  Although we attack hunger and food insecurity directly and food waste indirectly.  Its cool to see something focused on food waste.  I wish you the best of luck on your endeavor.
                               
                              So if I get you right the real pitch to the restaurant would be this.  If I could get you to save 10% on food cost (just a number I am throwing out there) would you then pass along 7% to the local food bank (or something like that)?
                               
                               
                              <message edited by jeffwllms on Mon, 05/6/13 3:13 PM>
                               
                              #15
                                Online Bookmarks Sharing: Share/Bookmark

                                Jump to:

                                Current active users

                                There are 0 members and 1 guests.

                                Icon Legend and Permission

                                • New Messages
                                • No New Messages
                                • Hot Topic w/ New Messages
                                • Hot Topic w/o New Messages
                                • Locked w/ New Messages
                                • Locked w/o New Messages
                                • Read Message
                                • Post New Thread
                                • Reply to message
                                • Post New Poll
                                • Submit Vote
                                • Post reward post
                                • Delete my own posts
                                • Delete my own threads
                                • Rate post

                                2000-2014 ASPPlayground.NET Forum Version 3.9
                                What is Roadfood?  |   Privacy Policy  |   Contact Roadfood.com   Copyright 2011 - Roadfood.com