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Countdown to Thanksgiving: Two Weeks

Thanksgiving is 14 days away, and it’s time to start planning! With two weeks until the big day, the location and guest list should be organized. If not, don’t freak out because we have some tips to help make planning the other details a breeze.

  • Tip #1: Determine how you will cook the turkey. If you have not yet purchased a roaster to cook your turkey, now is the time! You can order an 18 quart Hamilton Beach Roaster here. Using a roaster to cook your turkey will help to keep the oven open for sides and deserts.
  • Tip #2: Finalize the menu. Now is the time to write down the full menu and make sure that everyone knows what to bring. Once this is done, you can create a shopping list and move to tip 3.
  • Tip #3: Do some fall cleaning. Clean out your refrigerator or your whole kitchen. Start making room for groceries and side dishes so you will not have to worry about it the night before. Check to make sure you have all of the utensils, dishes, and paper products that you may need. If you find something that you need, add these items to your shopping list.
  • Tip #4: Relax! You still have two weeks, and the shopping can wait until next week. You may be able to buy a few items if you want to get ahead of the game, but the perishables won’t make it that long.

If this seems like a lot, don’t be afraid to ask your family and friends for help. Remember, the holidays are supposed to be a relaxing time to spend with the ones you care about most.

3 Steps to Start Your Loyalty Program

The key to your loyalty program is delivering your customers relevant offers that create relationships. You want to keep your customers coming back to your restaurant and we want to help so here are 3 steps you need to take to get started:

1. Use your data. Start by determining what your bestselling food and drink items are. Leverage these in your loyalty program because you know customers love those items. Keep coming back to your data to determine if you have seasonal food favorites and continuously adjust loyalty promotions based on this data. You can also use your data to determine what your slowest days/time of day is. You should focus on driving business to your slowest times.

2. Test and learn. You may come up with many ideas on how to keep your customers coming back for more, and that’s great! Develop a schedule of when you are going to test each idea and for how long. Keep track of promotion redemption rates to determine what worked best.
3. Be creative. A loyalty program doesn’t have to be a stamp on a card every time they buy something. You want to be unique! You could create a program that makes them try your breakfast, lunch and dinner items. This encourages a customer to not only come in for lunch, but a nice dinner out as well. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box either. Consider partnering with a neighboring store to offer rewards with them, or create a tiered system to reward even the most loyal customers.

Remember, it’s all about testing and learning. If an idea doesn’t generate the sales you were hoping for, that’s ok. Track your results so you know what worked and what did not. Soon enough you will know exactly what keeps your customers coming back for more.

How to upsell your menu items

Upselling is a valuable strategy to increasing your sales. It is important to train your staff on how to properly upsell items on your menu so that they deliver the message in a natural, non salesy way. Here are some ways your staff should be upselling:

  • When a customer orders a cocktail, your bartender or server should offer types of liquor with different price points.
  • Offer to pair a wine with an appetizer or entrée. Training your staff is critical for this one because food and wine pairings could significantly increase your customer’s experience.
  • Always present a dessert menu or dessert tray.
  • Explain specials with a vivid description that makes them irresistible!

Training your staff is important to executing a successful upsell strategy. Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Have servers taste menu items. This allows the servers to describe the menu from a firsthand perspective.
  • Menu training. Your staff should know your menu backwards and forwards. They need to be able to speak about all menu items in detail.
  • Provide staff with detailed descriptions. Have your chef write out or explain the specials in great detail. This will train the staff to provide the same level of detail to the customers.
  • Have a contest. Providing goals and offer rewards is a great way to get your team invested in the menu and upselling strategy.