These days, it seems every town, organization and afficiando group is holding a Taste Of. Whether it be a progressive event held in your trade area, or a larger celebration held at an event venue, there are many ways to maximize the benefit of Taste Ofs. After all, you’re spending money on food and staff time, often coupled wiht an entry fee. So assure you are taking FULL advantage of the opportunity.
For your restaurant or retail business, these events represent a great chance to showcase yourself to new customers, as well as remind current customers why they love you.
Before the event
- Plan your staffing plan for the day. Assure that all staff is aware of this event!
- Post event posters and distribute flyers, as well as posting info. on your website and social media sites.
- Plan your menu. You will want to do a dish that’s easy to serve, but assure that you showcase what makes your restaurant special. Memorable is key!
- Plan your display. The event is more than just the food. Create a display that will be memorable to the crowd. Consider displaying ingredients like fresh veggies, copies of your menus or photos of event space as part of your sampling area.
During the event
Invite guests to join your communication circle! You are hosting many new people at your restaurant – make sure you have a mechanism to invite them back again!
A few ideas –
- Clipboard – put out a simple clipboard with a “join our e-club” sheet and a pen. Collect e-mails and birthdays.
- Fishbowl – invite guests to “enter to win” a free meal or gift card by dropping a business card into a fishbowl. Also include slips of paper for those who don’t have business cards.
- Sign Up for Social – ask guests to like your Facebook page and/or follow you on Twitter or Instagram. Offer a gift card or prize to anyone who posts a photo from the night and tags your restaurant.
- Personal attention – guests often line up to wait for their sample. Assign a staff person to greet people in line, show menus, discuss specials, sign up guests for e-club or invite them to sign up for social. This is a great way to help guests pass their time in line.
- Bounce Back – you’ll want to bounce the guests back to a future meal at your restaurant. You can issue them a simple coupon good for a future date, or promote an upcoming event, seasonal menu, or special.
After the event
- Communicate via e-mail – Upload the names you’ve collected into your e-mail database or an excel spreadsheet. Communicate with your guests within two weeks of the event.
- Thank guests on social – Post photos and thank yous on social.
- Track bounce backs – Acknowledge when guests come in with the bounce back as Taste Of participants. Thank them for attending and welcome them back.
You’re putting in the time and energy to be part of this event. So assure that you get the best value you can out of it, and your Taste Of will be just the beginning of your relationship with many new customers.