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    13 Replies Latest reply on Jan 18, 2008 9:18 AM by LUCKIEST

    Marketing / Delivery / ???

    Poultry Queen Newbie
      Hello everyone,
      this is my first day on the forum. i am new to the world of the business owner and am in need of some help/guidance. i opened my wings restaurant about a year and a half ago. when i first opened it, i was the only wings restaurant that offered 28 flavors of wings. this restaurant is a franchise. ever since it opened i noticed my sales have come down a little. i don't have a website or delivery service. can you please give me some insite of what i can do to boost my sales, customer base etc.

      any help would really be appreciated.
        • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
          Ed O'Gee Adventurer

          Welcome to the board.

          What you are experiencing is not uncommon. US restaurants are seeing a downturn in business as American's tighten their belts and eat out less.

          A few questions for you.

          Are you near an office park, mall, or shopping center? Someplace where there is a big lunch time crowd? If so, offer lunch specials (free fries with the purchase of wings and a drink) for lunch customers
          Offer samples, give people the opportunity to try new sauces, by having a sample wing - works wonders in winning people over to new flavors.
          Lastly, offer catering - there will always be office parties, client presentations, etc, where someone will need some good wings.
            • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
              Poultry Queen Newbie
              No, i am not near any of those things. i am in a shopping plaza. this new wing place is a franchise and as they say, "has their stuff together". i am just trying to get my feet wet. at my restaurant, i offer combos. i.e. (10pc wings, fries & drink for $8.03 and that is with tax.) i am really trying to come up with some ideas. i really don't want to go belly up.
            • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
              LUCKIEST Guide
              Poultry, Welcome. Ed has some good ideas. This website loves the word FREE.
              Are you part of a Franchise NOW?? Can they be of help. They have the man power and the brains.
              Any advertising you do, try hard to use FREE in it. Free soda, Free wings after XX purchases.
              You get the idea. You say that sales have come down, how about the bottom line (profit)??
              Do you have a Business and or a Marketing Plan??
              Good luck, LUCKIEST
              • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
                CEO Space Scout
                Join your local Chamber of Commerce and offer to sponsor some of the smaller networking events that include food for free. (unless you can afford to do bigger events)

                Also, go to other small networking groups in your area and sponsor some smaller events with food.

                I know at least here locally, many members almost always return to restaurants we forgot about or just didn't know about once they are featured at an event. Make sure you will get exposure on the programs and mentioned and make sure all your plates and napkins are labeled with your information so people know who is the sponsor.

                You can find local networking events in the business section of your local paper, any local business papers, and google online with your city name and "business networking"

                If you can do a large event, have a both with food samples at the next large trade show.
                • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
                  Wingman Adventurer
                  Hi Poultry Queen,

                  You offer 28 flavors of wings??? That's a lot of flavors to choose from. What's the name of your store (if you don't mind sharing). Do you offer any other menu items besides Wings? If so, would it make sense to create a combo with some items?

                  I too have a Wings restaurant and when I reached out to the local businesses for their lunch catering needs, they said wings with sauce are too messy for them.

                  Here's what I've been trying so far. Nothing seems to be working for me but maybe it will for you:
                  1 - Participated in Kiwanis club fund raising event. Had a booth at the event and my sign was displayed as well as having my store listed as a participant.
                  2 - Participated in local city sponsored events (Concert in the park)
                  3 - Reached out to the local schools and donated food to their various PTA events. Even offered discounts to PTA members
                  4 - Did all your traditional mailing and advertising stuff to local residents
                  5 - Participated in Chamber of Commerce events

                  Like I said, nothing seems to be working for me even though I'm in a pretty affluent neighborhood.
                    • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
                      Poultry Queen Newbie
                      Chicks N' Wings is the name of the restaurant. i am located in miami, florida. i have done everything on your list except kiwanis and the chamber. As for me, i have not had much success.
                        • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
                          Wingman Adventurer

                          Hi Poultry Queen,


                          As Lighthouse has indicated (and I can vouch for personally), donating food to many of these groups and events will not bring you any additional business. I've been there, done that. Most people don't care who you are. They just want the free food.

                          The idea of hosting groups or parties would be good (if you have the space). You could try reaching out to MOMS clubs during the day when there is likely a lull in business (between 2 - 4 pm).

                          Here are a couple of other suggestions for reaching out to the community:
                          1 - If there is a local high school and you have other food items, try contacting the person in charge of the snack bar to see if you can be a provider of food. Maybe they would have a need/desire to try something different.
                          2 - Try contacting local businesses in the area that cater to children's parties to see you could be their provider of wings and any other food you offer.

                          Feel free to email me if you would like to commiserate further with a fellow wings person.

                      • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
                        Lighthouse24 Ranger

                        The data I have indicates that sales in your type of restaurant are either flat or decreasing, and new restaurants (especially if they are the first of their kind in a community) tend to open big, and then trend downward for about 18 months before they start to level off. So the good news is you may not be doing anything "wrong," and the decline in sales is probably not a symptom of some unique or isolated problem that would drive you out of business if you didn't find and fix it fast. Nevertheless, your goal is to get sales up, so let's consider how.

                        One issue may be the menu -- I read somewhere that every major chain restaurant in America now serves some kind of flavored chicken wing. So for you to get a family of four diners in the door, all four have to want chicken wings. If three do and one doesn't, they can go somewhere else and make everyone happy. It's also not the kind of food that most people want again right away, so repeat business probably comes to you less frequently than to other restaurants. Of course, an expanded menu is not part of your franchise model, so what else is possible?

                        The thing that typically keeps a limited menu restaurant thriving is having large groups of people who regularly use it as a "hangout" -- for instance, it's the place the whole team meets after a softball game, or where all the families meet after a children's soccer game. Perhaps you can examine the demographics of your area and determine what people are already doing things in groups, and then market to those groups directly. For example, if you are near a sports complex, market yourself there as "the place to meet after the game."

                        You can also create groups where none existed before. For example, a restaurant client of mine approached a local teacher at an upscale high school nearby and offered to let him use their dining room for Monday night study sessions (the teacher got free food and drinks, the students didn't). The restaurant turned a slow night into a much busier one, as there were typically 20-30 students (all making purchases and being well-behaved, since a respected teacher was present). Another restaurant borrowed on that idea by creating/hosting a classic film discussion group on one slow night and a book discussion group on another.

                        The key to increasing sales is identifying existing groups and creating a new groups that will meet and dine at your place on a regular, repeating basis.

                        I mean no disrepect to the person who posted it, but my experience (personally and through clients) has been that Chambers of Commerce are a waste of time for businesses like yours. They happily take advantage of whatever you can provide to support their events and further their visibility, but I have not seen a single case where it paid off in the form of increased sales and revenue for a business like yours. Again, that's based on maybe a dozen different small restaurants and chamber organizations, so by no means do I have the definitive opinion (but I would suggest that you not invest a huge chunk of money in that right off -- try it a little at a time and see what you get from it).

                        Hope this helps. Best wishes.
                          • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
                            SpartanWarior Wayfarer
                            Lighthouse's post was fascinating and insightful.

                            I would like to add that you consider margin you get from Delivery part of your business. Delivery business has the following advantages:

                            1. It has higher magin when compared to food served in the restaurant
                            2. It requires lesser overheads (no sitting space, no lighting, no airconditioning, no cleaning tables, trays, no bathroom etc.)
                            3. There is no limit to how many you can service (serving at restaurant will have limited seats; if the restaurant is crowded, people will be turned away)
                            4. There is potential to bill delivery charges if possible

                            Hope this is useful to you.



                          • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
                            Risktk666 Newbie

                            Best of Luck!
                            • Re: Marketing / Delivery / ???
                              newmedia Newbie
                              If you are located in any of the cities listed on this website then you can add your business for free if you have a website.
                              OK so you stated that you don't have a website. Why not?
                              Today a person can buy a domain name for as little as $2 for the first year from Yahoo or $5 to $10 from allot of other web hosting companies. Also web hosting is very inexpensive these days for a small business. It is only $6.00 through Netfirms, and many others have comparable rates. I only mention Netfirms beacause I've used them allot, and find them to be reliable.
                              Your website doesn't have to be fancy, you just need to make your information available to people who surf the net. You can design a website easily using free software or have someone in my business design it for you.
                              More and more people these days go straight to the web to find a business.
                              Good luck.