Voice of the Restaurant Industry
Nowadays with all the distractions people use to block out the “real world” as they navigate through their day with their iThings, hand held destructo-games and quick texting, it’s tough to get the attention of all those grumbling bellies making their way past our locations. Street Teaming is a golden opportunity that can be used to attract the interest of those people and more.
The restaurant company I represent is located in the heart of NYC where it’s very easy to get lost in the shuffle. What makes us successful and stand out from the rest is our active presence in the community and the consistent Street Teaming we use to get the food in our potential customers mouths or just as a stand out form of guerilla marketing. Let’s face it, we want to bring awareness to those passing by our locations, right? But, how does one go about using this marketing tool to do that?
First: CREATE A LOOK. I’m not talking about a stereotypical chicken suit or pizza pie on the belly costume. What I’m talking about is creating a look that you’re proud to display. One that revolves around your company’s colors and will help bring recognition to who you are. Make the uniforms stand out from your current in-house team members and be sure to have your logo prominently displayed on the shirt or cap.
Second: HIRE THE RIGHT “AMBASSADORS” to disseminate your message and represent your restaurant accordingly. For this, first figure out who your target demographic is. Is your crowd the just out of college crowd, the 30 somethings just starting a family? What businesses are in the area and are they corporate or casual? These are the people you will want to target. These are the people your ambassadors are going to want to understand and relate to. So, having said that, hire ambassadors that will be able to speak “their language” and create a presence that will attract your demographic. Ads to find the perfect ambassador can be placed on craigslist, no need to go to an expensive agency, and open up the audition process. Interview for crystal clear speech, great personalities and an engaging presence. Remember, these people are representing your company.
Third: CONSIDER THE MESSAGE. Your ambassadors should always be armed with something. I’m a huge advocate of sampling! IF you can get the food in your potential customer’s mouths (who won’t take free food!) you’ve got a customers’ attention! Send out a simple cart jazzed up and loaded with items that are in season like bite size sandwiches, a cold pasta dish in an attractive bowl, mini muffins, or free coffee poured in a cup, notably displaying your company’s logo. Maybe you’d like to offer a discount through a bounce-back coupon to further measure your success. Decide if you want to do a flier that your teams hand out during their shift. The items are really up to you and what you are comfortable doing and what you can budget.
The following are some ways to help cut the costs for these promos and really help your ROI:
● Have your printer place his website on all your printed materials for a discounted rate. For example: PRINTED BY JOE N’ SONS GRAPHICS WWW.JOENSONS.COM
● Include a shift meal for the ambassador on their shift and include it as part of their pay package for the day. A “meals included clause” can reduce the actual pay rate slightly and opens them up to tasting the food.
● For sampling, use low cost food items but make sure the presentation is jazzy enough to make the product look terrific!
● If you’re using fliers, incorporate one of your vendors’ products (i.e chips, beverage) on the flier and have that vendor offer you free product or an allowance towards the printing costs. Not only is it great advertising for them, but it’s lowering costs for you!
● Work in unison with your vendors. Sample their products, and have them provide the entire product and the costs of your ambassador(s).
FOURTH: MAN YOUR POST. You now have a team, you’ve given them a look and armed them with materials, whether it’s samples, fliers or kazoos, you’re now ready to station your ambassadors where they’ll be able to reach your target audience.
If you are in an urban setting you want to zero in on transit stations/hubs that are within a few blocks of your establishment. Before you send your teams to that sight, do some field work and see what the patterns are of the commuters. What directions they are heading in, what cross walks they do they use, are there certain large office buildings in the area?
If you’re in a more suburban area, shopping centers, large intersections where traffic halts briefly, college campuses and nearby public areas are excellent places to set up your teams. Find out what events are going on in your area, is there a job fair or concert event? Have your ambassadors set up shop at those events as well. Speak to supermarkets about “co-oping” to set up outside their stores to talk to customers.
FIFTH: GO TEAM GO!!!! Start letting people know who you are, where you are and what you’re all about! Remember, nothing is too outlandish but some things can be too subtle. Have fun with it! You’ll find what works for you, your company and your demographic. If you need some help, let me know, that’s what we are all here for!