Thursday, October 4, 2007

Holiday Gift Giving:

Ahaaaaa, the holiday season is in full gear. Most restaurant management teams have mapped out strategy to maximize the revenue this season. Corporate Catering and Private Dining Managers are out in force with brochures in hand, hoping to land the big holiday party. Along with the planning of how to book parties, a sidebar discussion about what and when to give the best customers as gifts sprouts up. Usually the dialogue goes something like this, “we’ll put together gift baskets of goodies and deliver it the Thursday before Christmas because everyone takes the Friday before Christmas off”. That is an excellent strategy to make no impact at all. The gift if it is acknowledged at all will soon be lost among the hustle and bustle.

Holiday gift giving is actually a golden opportunity to create customer advocacy and cross market a variety of your products (i.e. gift cards, delivery services, curb side pick up, private dining etc). The best time to deliver gifts to your best customers is the Friday before Thanksgiving. The timing has two distinctive advantages

1) You will stand out from the other restaurants, because they will remember your unexpected early gift. There is more time to talk to your contact and discover what other needs your restaurant might be able to fill. There is more time to get honest feedback from your customer about your performance to date and what improvements they might want to see implemented.

2) Your restaurant has all kinds of services that your customer might not know you provide. The gift visit is an excellent time to educate your customer and pick up some new business between now and the end of the year. Gifts given just before Christmas rarely result in new business because the customer has already spent their holiday dollars.

What benefits will you accrue if you reinvent your Holiday Gift Giving?