Butts in the Seats – Restaurant Edition

Do you own a neighborhood café or restaurant?  
Do you have empty tables in the economic downturn?  Do you want a cheap way to put butts in those seats?
If you answered “Yes” to these questions, read on.

What do the money making films and McDonald’s have in common?  They both cater to FAMILIES, more specifically, to KIDS.  Showcase the kids and the parents will fill the room to watch. Here’s your step-by-step process for your restaurant.

  1. Contact a school(s) in your neighborhood.  Depending on your menu and style of restaurant, you may want high school or elementary school.  Don’t forget about religious schools, private schools and even the local Home Schooling Association.
  2. Talk to the ART TEACHER.  Here’s your script:  “We want to freshen up the look of our café. We need new art.  Sunny Kobe Cook suggested since so many  neighborhood families are our customers, why not showcase ART from our local students on the walls.” Offer incentives; see items 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9.
  3. At your café, remove all the existing art.  Buy some 3M double-sided poster tape specifically removable that won’t damage walls. Later, you may want to invest in color coordinated fabric squares to use as display spaces or even Lucite cases.  Start cheap to test though.
  4. Make a sign (your computer)  for your front door stating “Art in our restaurant changes monthly (or quarterly) and features work done by Art Students at XYZ School.  Vote for your favorite inside.”
  5. Have a ballot box clearly visible and forms to let people vote.  Generate entry forms on your computer/printer for a few cents.  Assign a number to each work of art in addition to student name, class (ie: Junior or 4th Grade) and school.  This will make voting easier and tabulating results simpler for you.
  6. Winner of the “People’s Choice Award” should receive an Award Certificate (again, use your computer) as well as a $20.00 gift certificate to YOUR RESTAURANT.
  7. Write a letter for the parents of each student whose art is being displayed.  “We are proud to showcase your student’s talents and hope your family will come celebrate.  While here, each diner can vote for their favorite in our “People’s Choice” ballot.  As a thank you for sharing your talents with us, this coupon (printed on the bottom of the letter) is good for a free dessert for our artist.”
  8. Have “Featured Artist” badges which again you generate on your computer to have the “Artist” wear while they are dining in your café.
  9. Be prepared to make a donation to the next auction at the school(s) whose artists you feature.
  10. Promo the art (your digital camera) and “People’s Choice” winners on your Facebook Fan Page and even on your website if you can do so without incurring additional costs.  Do a press release to your neighborhood newspaper, website and/or blog about the program and “People’s Choice Award” winners.  Include a photo of the winner standing by their art as it is displayed on your wall for maximum exposure.

Families are still dining out, maybe not as often, but they are dining out.  This will give YOU an important competitive edge in the competition for those entertainment dollars.  It will also give recognition to talented area students and show your support for the community you serve.

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One Response to “Butts in the Seats – Restaurant Edition”

  1. robin ryan Says:

    No one has more insightful –and profitable — advice and ideas to market your biz than Sunny. This artist idea will be a hit for any restaruant that tries it. She’s given you the blueprint with a comprehensive outline. She’s so generous — her marketing consulting advice is worth the hundrends of dollars per hour so NEVER miss her blog…s this lady really knows how to make $$$.

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