Sunday 15th March – How are you making it special for Mum this year?

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Sunday 15th March – How are you making it special for Mum this year?

Sunday 15th March – How are you making it special for Mum this year?

Its one of the busiest trading days of the year for food and drink operators. The majority of diners still wanting a traditional Sunday lunchtime booking rather than an evening dinner, compressing all that hosting, cooking, serving, not to mention eating and drinking, into just a few hours.

Decisions, decisions…where to go on the day

Most families will choose to go out for lunch but where will they be going? Everywhere will be packed and even the slickest operator will be under pressure. Is it about price and a meal deal, a free pud or flowers for Mum? Do these mechanics work, or on such a busy day (everywhere will be full), is it really just about getting a table within the right price bracket that all the family will like?

Plan ahead and book online. Seems obvious to me…

So why when it’s such a busy day with many bars and restaurants offering three seatings for lunch, is it so hard to make an online reservation? I put to the test a few bars and restaurants trying to book online a table at lunchtime on the big day. Unanimous response from all – no availability. Wise to the idiosyncrasies of the dining world and the method of locking off sessions, a call to the pubs and restaurants direct opens new doors. After being put on hold for a minute or two while the diary is retrieved (the word diary was used and I could hear the pages turning), I am offered a selection of lunchtime options.  It’s sad but true, for many the paper system stills seems safer than the electronic.

A Mum is for life, not just for Mother’s Day

A free pud for Mum on the day, a bunch of daffs or even a goodie bag but these smack to me of short term marketing ploys.  Yes they are a nice touch but where’s the hook to bring back these families and the lovely ladies themselves? It’s a fact that women love a voucher. Keep it simple and through the power of EPOS print it on the receipt, or dress it up and pop it in an envelope making it more personal and Mum feel extra special. Of course if you have opened up your online booking system you have the opportunity to capture a new online audience. Even better, they are already segmented for you, as they tick family and female at the drop of a hat. Email them their personalized voucher asking to rate their time with you. Thank them for choosing you and reward them inviting them to bring their friends. Target them and track them, use your CRM system to grow your sales. Don’t just wait for a phone call a couple of weeks before next Mother’s Day.

Planning for 2016

Performance and menus analysed, bookings reviewed and opportunities identified. What could you do differently next year to drive sales, generate and reward loyalty, and enhance the customer experience?

Well of course you will take bookings online. Those that did in 2015 will have already established a relationship with their customers and will be a step ahead. But how far could you go?

Pre-order and pre-sell

We do it for the work Christmas do, for New Year’s Eve so how about Mother’s Day too? For the family it could reduce waiting times, for the team on the day it could make purchasing more accurate, reduce food service times and allow a faster yet more relaxed dining experience. Pre-sell a bottle of Prosecco all chilled and ready for Mum on the day, put out the kids activity packs, but importantly, use this pre order knowledge within your CRM. Are they a Sunday Roast family or more of an a la Carte family. Do they like red or white or is it bubbles?

Use this information wisely and be the automatic choice not just one of the alternatives for 2016.