Loyalty marketing might result in repeat sales but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are creating lasting brand loyalty. Find out which 4 Ps of customer loyalty might be the real reasons why a small business owners claim that our customers love us might in fact be true.

Our Customers Love Us, Our Customers Love Us Not

Your customers might love the products you sell or the results they receive because they purchase your services, but this doesn’t mean they love your business or feel personally connected to your brand.

Even loyalty rewards programs, though desired by a large number of consumers, do not necessarily indicate real brand loyalty. A study done by Vanessa DiMauro and Don Bulmer with The Society For New Communications Research to find out how consumers form impressions about brands found that while quality and pricing of products and services laid the foundation for loyalty, the next three factors rounding out the top five were a brand’s customer care program, what friends or loved ones said about the brand and real customer reviews and ratings on social media. A brand’s actual reward program was very influential to only 18 percent of study respondents.

In fact, it’s possible for customers to have negative feelings about your brand or business even if they regularly purchase services and products from your organization. For instance, you could have a local monopoly, they could be locked in to a contract, or your business might be extending pricing that is compelling enough for them to put up with what they don’t like about your business – just long enough to get what they want from you.

That’s a sobering thought; or it should be. It’s possible that many business owners confuse repeat sales for customer affection, misinterpreting customer behavior that – if they looked beyond the surface – would reveal dissatisfaction and problems that could be addressed in order to make the brand one that customers would love just as much as they love the products or services they purchase from them.

Our Customers Love Us (But How Can We Tell for Sure?)

Most professionals are familiar with the concept of “buying signals” which are actions that prospects commonly take when they are entering the buying cycle, moving from stage to stage within the cycle or when they are ready to seal the deal. Just as there are signs that indicate someone is ready to buy, there are signs that indicate a customer feels loyal to a brand, beyond the products or services it sells:

  • Their patronage continues despite changes in pricing or product mix
  • They frequently open and read your brand emails
  • They follow and even interact with your brand on social channels
  • They refer colleagues, friends or loved ones to your business
  • They leave reviews about your business online
  • They complete customer satisfaction surveys at the point of sale
  • They ask questions and offer meaningful suggestions

Any one of these actions could be a sign of genuine customer love for your brand on their own; but it’s not uncommon to find that engaged customers will send a few or several of these signals. The question is, if products and services aren’t enough to garner customer affection for a brand on their own, what is? The “Four Ps of Marketing” are product, price, place and promotions so we came up with four more words that start with the letter P which lay the foundation for the type of loyalty that transcends the four Ps of marketing, turning customers into loyal brand patrons whose love for a brand can stand the tests of time.

Loyalty Marketing: 4 Ps Explain Why Our Customers Love Us

1. Passion

When a business’s employees are passionate about the work they do and the customers they serve, it shows up in a customer experience that cannot be replicated by competitors.

2. Personalities

The same business owners that say “our customers love us” often claim that their employees – not their products or services – set them apart. For better or worse, a brand’s ambassadors do set the business apart, and business owners that understand this appreciate the importance of each and every hiring decision they make.

3. Purpose

When doing business with you makes people feel that they are part of something special, and part of something that makes the world better in some way, it can move them to the next stage in the customer lifecycle, taking them from casual customer to loyal supporter.

4. Pleasures

Every customer touch point represents an opportunity for a brand to differentiate itself in a meaningful way from competitors. The better a customer feels about doing business with your brand, the more likely they are to identify with your brand personally beyond the products or services they purchase.

You might also like: Which Loyalty Perks Do Customers Really Want

You might not be able to manufacture customer happiness, but you can follow this proven recipe for making customer happy, courtesy of a customer satisfaction survey from Accenture.

Customer Satisfaction Survey Reveals Key Drivers for Consumer Satisfaction

An Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey reveals a list of “customer satisfaction ingredients.” Here’s the list of drivers the customer satisfaction survey found when it comes to what U.S. consumers really want from the brands they do business with:

  • Good value for the money – 8
  • Great customer service – 7.9
  • Competitive prices – 7.8
  • Competent, intuitive staff – 7.8
  • Trustworthy – 7.8
  • High quality products – 7.8
  • Hassle-free – 7.6
  • Knowledgeable experts – 7.2
  • Lots of options – 6.7
  • Cater to my preferences – 6.5
  • Good people – 6.5
  • Engaging – 6.3
  • Innovative – 6.2
  • Relevant to me – 5.8
  • Responsible – 5.4
Customer Satisfaction Survey with a Recipe for Making Customers Happy

Customer Satisfaction Survey: Meeting or Beating Expectations

It’s important to understand that this list of fifteen consumer satisfaction drivers are those that must be fulfilled simply in order to meet expectations, not exceed them. Satisfaction is defined as:

  • fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations or needs
  • the pleasure or feeling that one derives from being satisfied
  • the payment of a debt or fulfillment of an obligation
  • what is felt to be owed or due to one

In other words, these are things customers expect to be true each and every time they do business with your brand – what they feel your brand owes them in exchange for patronage. If you fail to meet any of these standards you could be losing customers without even knowing why, since only about 4% of dissatisfied customers actually speak up and give a brand a chance to make things right. That means that 96 percent of customers who are dissatisfied with your brand may never even voice a complaint. In fact, 91 percent of customers who are dissatisfied leave and never come back (“Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner).

96% of customers who are unhappy with your brand might never even voice a complaint.

Understanding Customers – Ruby Newell-Legner

The imperative to meet customer expectations every time they do business with your brand becomes even more significant when you consider that it could take more than ten positive experiences to make up for just one unresolved negative customer encounter.

Acquiring a new customer could cost 7x more than retaining existing customers.

White House Office of Consumer Affairs

The cost of acquiring customers could be 6-7x what it costs to keep existing customers coming back, or even more (White House Office of Consumer Affairs). From a purely practical standpoint, it’s well-worth taking this list of customer satisfaction survey findings and using it as a checklist for evaluating the buying journey in your business.

Customer Satisfaction Survey: Stats Show What It Really Takes to Make Happy Customers

Most business owners understand how pricing, quality and perceived value relate to customer satisfaction. In fact, most business owners have probably already adjusted them in order to maximize the positive impact they have on the customer experience. Of the remaining 12 customer satisfaction survey findings, most can be placed in three main categories, and these may represent areas where business owners will find the ingredients they are lacking when it comes to their brand’s recipe for making customers happy:

Brand Representatives

  • Employees provide a high level of customer service, sales-expertise and advice
  • Employees who interact with customers have the right skills, understand and anticipate customer needs
  • Employees make it easy to do business with the company
  • Employees try to personalize and tailor customer experiences
  • Employees communicate effectively and personably
  • Employees can be creative in resolving customer issues

Brand Personalization

  • The buying journey is personalized to customer preferences, needs, desires and past interactions
  • Brand communications make customers feel more personally connected to the brand
  • Brand values are relevant to the customer’s personal values
  • The brand offers the products/services customers want, and provide the right options to allow for customer personalization
  • The brand is innovative, earning customer intrigue and interest

Brand Integrity, Intelligence and Compassion

  • The brand is intuitive in anticipating what customers want
  • The brand is innovative (a leader in some way)
  • The brand is environmentally responsible
  • Marketing and customer information is interesting, relevant and engaging
  • Customers feel the brand prioritizes and invests in hiring and training employees to be sure they have the expertise, skills and attitudes needed to make customers happy
  • The brand hires “good people” that customers enjoy working with
  • The brand exhibits values customers perceive as compassionate (because they are relevant to their own values and interests)

As you can see, several of the customer satisfaction survey findings fall into more than one category and may even vary from customer to customer depending on their own personal values and perceptions. The more of these ingredients that go into the customer experience, the more likely it is your brand will perfect its recipe for making customers happy.

You might also like: 5 First Impressions that Will Bring Customers Back

Size matters, at least when it comes to a restaurant email and SMS text marketing contact list. Find out how to build your lists and how to use them for customer acquisition.

It’s time to make restaurant email and SMS text marketing the superstars in your restaurant marketing plan.

If you are looking for the most effective ways to attract customers and bring diners back more often in the months ahead, perfecting your restaurant email and SMS marketing tactics could be an ideal place to start. To reach more of your target market, make sure you are taking advantage of every opportunity to grow your text and email contact lists

5 ways to grow restaurant email and SMS contact lists:

Based on the tactics that marketing professionals identified as most effective in growing contacts lists for a business, here are five ways to grow your restaurant’s email contact list:

1. Capture it on an in-bound call or text.

Make capturing a mobile phone number or email address part of the standard script for staff who answer the phones to take reservations or field questions about your restaurant’s hours, menu or facility.

2. Make it a requirement.

Capture an email address or mobile phone number when someone makes a reservation, books an event, fills out any type of form on your website or joins your loyalty or rewards programs.

3. Use it for follow up.

Suggestion and survey forms can — and should — be used to obtain email addresses and mobile phone numbers so that you have a way to follow up when needed.

4. In exchange for instant gratification.

Create online registration forms and ask customers to register while dining or at the point of sale and provide you with email address and/or mobile phone number in exchange for a special offer, discount or free add-on.

5. Include opt-in forms on your website and mobile site landing pages.

Ask site visitors to opt-in with an email address or mobile phone number when accessing certain parts of your website, in order to use your mobile app or to download recipes, party tips or other special content from your web or mobile site.

5 ways to use restaurant email and SMS marketing in real time:

Real time marketing is marketing either done on the fly in response to breaking opportunities or scheduled in such a way that it coincides with actions that consumers are taking in real time, such as looking for a local restaurant at a given time of day.

Restaurants that master real time marketing tactics have a huge advantage over competitors, because nearly 90% of those searching local restaurants on a mobile device take action within 24 hours.  Source: marketingland.com.  

Five real time marketing tactics that can help you grow your restaurant include:

  1. Email and text message marketing sent just prior to peak dining hours (for breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner, cocktails – wherever the specialty of your restaurant lies)
  2. WiFi on-premises to automatically check in mobile devices set to do so
  3. Special offers sent to email or smartphones triggered by a visit to your web or mobile site
  4. Providing mobile and web online ordering capabilities, online reservation apps, or making data available on your web or mobile site that tells whether you have tables available or how long the wait is
  5. Send special offers or freebies sent to customers based on anniversaries, birthdays, job anniversaries and other special occasions

Many businesses introduce loyalty programs to attract new customers and turn occasional customers into loyal brand advocates. Take a look at the loyalty program benefits that US consumers say motivate them more and compare it against your own marketing.

Is your loyalty marketing strategy getting the job done?

Nielsen study shows which loyalty program benefits are most effective in motivating consumers so that you can meet your business marketing and growth goals. How does your program measure up?

If you are considering a loyalty marketing program for your business or want your company’s program to do a better job in meeting customer-attraction and other marketing goals, you might want to check out a global study by the consumer opinion experts at Nielsen. This study details the types of benefits that work best in the US as well as other parts of the world.

Overwhelmingly, consumers indicated that discounted and free products are what they want most. The top five benefits desired by US consumers in a Nielsen loyalty study were:

  • 75% – Discounted or free products
  • 42% – Free shipping
  • 25% – Exclusive products or events
  • 24% – Enhanced customer service
  • 12% – Special shopping hours

In the same study, consumers were also asked what factors would make them opt-out of a brand’s loyalty program. These were the top six responses:

  • 50% – Program too expensive
  • 43% – Not shopping enough with the brand to receive the benefits
  • 37% – Program is too complicated
  • 30% – Didn’t like the benefits offered
  • 27% – Too many program communications
  • 25% – Did not want to give out personal information

Make Your Customer Loyalty Program More Effective

Do you know what you want your customer loyalty program to accomplish? If you want it to help increase profitability or margins, offering the discounts or freebies consumers said they want most in a brand loyalty program could hurt your bottom line.

Defining goals is essential to identifying and providing the types of rewards that will help you meet your targets. The benefits that help you convert occasional customers to more frequent shoppers could be different than the type of benefits that will help you attract new customers in the first place.

Here are some potential goals that could help you design a more effective customer loyalty program; should loyalty rewards help you:

  • attract new clients
  • motivate clients to shop more often
  • cause existing customers to shop with you on a greater number of channels (online as well as in-store, at an affiliate site, etc.)
  • incentivize customers to spend more per visit
  • stimulate referrals

If you answered “all of the above” or identified more than one goal for your loyalty program, you may wish to consider launching more than one type of program; at a minimum, you may need to offer different rewards in order to trigger different types of behaviors.

For instance, offering a Buy-One-Get-One offer may help you with new customer attraction or referrals, but it goes against the other goals which lead to bigger margins or profits per customer. One size simply may not fit all when it comes to customer loyalty incentives.

In addition, when designing (or re-tooling) your brand loyalty program, make sure that you try to avoid consumer turn offs:

  • If there is a cost associated for loyalty program members, make sure that benefits outweigh costs or add a money back or partial refund guarantee
  • Consider increasing benefits accrued (if customer’s aren’t shopping often enough to get benefits from the program) or offer increased benefits at tiered levels to incentivize customers to shop often enough to realize member benefits
  • Let customers choose from a range of rewards
  • Survey members to see whether their benefit preferences are changing on a regular basis, such as annually at the time of renewal
  • Let customers choose channels and type of communication they want to receive and make it easy to opt out or change their preferences online
  • Don’t require loyalty program members to reveal information they don’t want to share, and reduce information requested to only what is most necessary to administer the program

A loyalty program can help you meet your marketing goals, grow your business and become more profitable, especially if you take a strategic approach. Tailor your approach to reflect specific business goals and to reflect the preferences of your customers and you are far more likely to get the results that you desire.

Consumers find new restaurants to visit via online search and word of mouth, but this isn’t what brings first-timers back. These five restaurant first impressions can leave new patrons with positive perceptions that can bring them back for more.

The Power of Positive Restaurant First Impressions: Make It and They Will Come

As a restaurateur you might assume that your food is the beginning and end of what brings customers back; but that simply isn’t so.

The expectations a first time customer has when they visit your restaurant may vary widely and cover everything from quality of service to how soft the toilet paper is in your restrooms. Depending on where they heard about your restaurant, how it was described and what is most important to them personally, the food your restaurant serves is only one of many aspects that might produce the positive restaurant first impressions needed to bring first-time guests back.

Five Restaurant First Impressions that Create Positive Customer Perceptions

1. Marketing Presence

Can a customer easily find your business online through search results, social media outlets, directories or by typing in your business name as a website? Today consumers look for local restaurants online. Your restaurant first impression is non-existent if your website can’t be easily discovered in online search.

Customers are searching online for quick and easy answers and a reported 57% of consumers view a restaurants website before dining there (statisticbrain.com). When they do so, hours of operations, current reviews, and menu selections are among the most common questions. Before walking into a restaurant the customer uses the restaurant’s online marketing presence to validate their decision to visit. In addition, word of mouth through friends, colleagues and online may also decide whether a customer will visit or look elsewhere.

2. Cleanliness

For most restaurant-goers, there is an unwritten expectation that any establishment they visit in order to eat will be organized and sanitized from the front of house to the back where food is prepared in the kitchen. Customers expect to see clean surfaces from top to bottom: table tops, wall molding, fans, floors, and windows – everything should be dust and stain free and properly sanitized. Lack of cleanliness in the front of the house will lead to similar perceptions about how clean and sanitary food preparation and serving areas are.

A second unwritten rule customers expect is the restaurant to be handling food preparation with extreme care. One need only consider the 2015 E. coli outbreak that caused Chipotle’s business – and stock – to tumble or the most famous (infamous?) outbreak which occurred in Jack in the Box restaurants in 1992. Jack in the Box stock took a full five years to recover to pre-outbreak levels and its brand name became synonymous with the problem.

The CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that 1 in 6 Americans (48 million people) get sick each year from foodborne illnesses. More than 100k are hospitalized and 3,000 die as a result. In Washington State alone, where our headquarters are located, up to 60 foodborne illness outbreaks occur affecting as many as 700 people each year (Washington State Department of Health). A customer is dining with the reassurance the food served to them is prepped, cooked, and plated following the State Department Health procedures.

If a first-time customer perceives any area of a restaurant to be less than clean or sanitary, from the hostess station to the table to the restroom, they may make assumptions about the kitchen and serving areas that preclude a second visit, make them hesitate before recommending your restaurant to their friends or colleagues, or may even make them walk out before they give your business a chance.

3. Menu

As restaurant first impressions go, your menu might well have been seen online before a new customer ever arrives. Having a menu that entails a variety of food price points, healthy eating, and options for those with food allergies provides the breadth of choices capable of creating a consistent stream of customers. For restaurants that specialize in certain types of foods that might not be familiar to first-time customers, accurately describing menu items in a way can also be key in helping them make a selection on their first visit that makes them want to come back a second time.

4. Pricing

Most first-time restaurant goers will be looking for menu choices paired with a reasonable price structure (which might be low or high, depending on their perceptions and expectations). In 2013, 45% of respondents stated good prices were very important to them when choosing a restaurant (Statista.com). Many customers also want to be able to estimate how much they will be spending before visiting a restaurant for the first time.

When paying the bill, it’s common for guests to go through a metal check list and evaluate whether they feel they received food in proportion to the price charged and whether the presentation of the food was up to par, whether they enjoyed the ambiance of the restaurant, etc. The more questions they answer with a “yes,” the more likely it is a first-time customer will come back, leave a positive review online, tag your business or check in on social networks, or even recommend your business to their own friends, co-workers and loved ones.

5. Service

Customers are looking for friendly and helpful customer service the moment they walk in the door, regardless of the type or price point of a restaurant. There should be adequate restaurant staff to be present wherever a customer is likely to need assistance – front of house hosts, wait staff, servers, bussers, bar tenders, shift or restaurant managers – each has a role to play in ensuring the customer feels cared for.

From the hostess to the busser, staff need to be an extension of the restaurants mission. A customer is coming to your restaurant to enjoy the food and overall experience.  The team of wait staff needs to be attentive yet not an inconvenience to the guest, and they need to possess the discretion to understand that their level of involvement might vary for different guests and different size and types of parties.

If a first-time customer is likely to respond that their server came by the right number of times and was pleasant, friendly and helpful, they are much more likely to leave with a positive first impression of your restaurant.  A customer is counting on paying for great food and quality service. Even if your restaurant’s food is good, if the service is poor, a first-time customer might not return.


We may be able to help you reduce your restaurant merchant services fees and we also offer free service and setup for restaurant point of sale solutions:

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As much as you might be tempted to say “no cell phones in the salon,” this approach could offend and backfire with clients. Here are some ideas for salon cell phone policy that take client preferences, marketing and your salon’s atmosphere into account.

Just Say No to a No Cell Phone Policy in the Salon

Ideas for a Salon Cell Phone Policy

Most of your clients are using their cell phones for everything from calling, texting and emailing to dealing with important work matters and posting on social media platforms. Some people don’t seem to do anything without posting about it on Facebook and Instagram.

While a client’s unwillingness to disconnect during an appointment might be annoying for a stylist, you can actually use it to your advantage.

If you move forward with a salon cell phone policy that mandates client cell phone use in the salon, there’s a good chance that you could offend many of your clients.

We recently came across a social media update where salon owners were weighing in on whether banning cell phone use in the salon is a good idea. One of the salon owners wrote,

“My salon, my business, my rules! Clients aren’t allowed to use cell phones in my salon!”

Our first thought was, “Wow, that’s a great idea if you want all of your clients to be grumpy old men who hate technology!”

It’s simply not practical to assume that a policy banning the use of cell phones in the salon creates the environment that every client wants during their appointment. Nor is a salon cell phone policy that prohibits the use of  phones compassionate, especially when your clientele includes busy working professionals who need to remain available to co-workers or customers, parents that need to check in with kids, or whose friends or loved ones might need to contact them in case of emergency. Indeed, many of your clients may not feel that you have the right to tell them whether they can use technology in your salon since they are paying for your services, not signing up for a phone-free environment.

A no cell phone policy isn’t good marketing, either. Your salon could grow more quickly and engage followers online by taking before and after photos for your website and social media. Your salon marketing could benefit even more when you encourage your clients to check in via wifi, share photos of your work, leave reviews and otherwise make public endorsements of your brand on social media and review sites.

Ideas for a Salon Cell Phone Policy

In particular, you should encourage clients to use their cell phones in the salon so that you take full advantage of social media for your brand. There are stylists on Instagram with hundreds of thousands of followers who are showing off their work each and every day, like Los Angeles-based Kristen Ess, the owner and co-founder of thebeautydepartment.com and Chrissy Rasmussen, the owner of Habit Salon in Arizona.

Just Say Yes to a Salon Cell Phone Policy that Helps You Grow Your Business

It is likely that many of your clients already post photos of their fresh manicures and hair styles to social media. Ask them if you can post a photo of their beautiful new look on Instagram and Facebook (and tag them so that your updates are visible to their networks). If they are posting your work on social networks ask them to tag your salon’s accounts in their own posts.

Social media can take having a portfolio to a higher and more competitive level. If you are an owner, create Facebook and Instagram accounts for your salon and ask clients to check in to your salon on Facebook and leave feedback. Also, ask them to tag your salon in posts regarding their experience. Yes, you may occasionally receive feedback that is not positive but most of the time you will probably see posts from happy clients who want to show off their new ‘do or recommend you or your salon to their friends.

While a salon owner should set guidelines for staff use of cell phones in the salon, stylists, too can help attract clients if they are encouraged to snap before and after shots of their work and post it to their own networks, tagging both your salon account and their client’s account in order to extend post reach.

If a client’s use of a cell phone is genuinely interfering with your ability to provide their service, politely explain how it’s affecting your work and ask whether they can wait until you’ve finished to use their cell phone. Remember to err on the side of compassion for your clients, realizing that things can come up without notice and using their phone might be a necessity.


We may be able to help you reduce your salon merchant services fees and we also offer free service and setup for salon point of sale solutions:

Interested? Contact us at 888-580-2234 or complete the form below for a free, no-hassle quote on any of our salon business solutions.

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More than half of millennials dine out once a week, compared to just 43 percent of the remaining population. See how these restaurants exemplify what it takes to attract this generation.

In-Touch Restaurants Attract Millennials by Understanding their Dining Desires

50 percent of millennials dine out according to BusinessInsider.com, and they do so for more reasons than just to eat food. They use it as an opportunity to gather with friends, eat local, and show philanthropic support. As a restaurant, understanding the desires of this generation is crucial as they hold $200 billion in spending power and are projected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.

Be current, be hip.

To attract millennials, restaurants need to continually update your menu, adapt cooking practices, and mold their ambiance to stay on top.

When you think about millennials’ favorite sit down restaurant, Red Lobster is the first that comes to mind, right? Don’t worry, we were just as surprised as you. In May 2016, Red Lobster was named the number 1 choice with 18-24 year old’s, over 173 other brands. What did they do to revamp?

  1. Updated their menu. Red Lobster constantly updates their menu to the newest food trends in the country. Recently they added new flavors such as chimichurri and spicy Tennessee bourbon.
  2. Adapted cooking practices. Red Lobster took feedback from their customers and increased the size of their shrimp by 47 percent. They also prepare more dishes in house (over shipping) and added more sauce to their dishes.
  3. Molded their ambiance. Red Lobster encourages their customers to dine in by offering a new line of unique alcoholic beverages and has made sure their restaurants are designed to hold large parties, which perfectly fits a millennial’s desire.

On top of these changes, Red Lobster has embraced their role in pop culture. Pop singer, Beyoncé, mentioned the restaurant in one her songs in February, and sales went up 33 percent the day after she released her song.

We understand not every restaurant can get a shout out from a pop singer, but staying current with your menu and ambiance is an effective way to grab hold of your millennial audience.

Be online, be mobile.

As a restaurant owner you should be asking yourself these questions: Do you have a website, do you have an app, is your menu available online, how easy is it to order, and are you racking up online reviews?

59% of Millennials Review Menus Online Before Going to a Restaurant

59 percent of millennials review menus online before going to the restaurant. Millennials research places to eat like they research buying a product on Amazon. They will go to your website, look at your menu, read your reviews on Yelp, and look at pictures of your dining experience.

19% of Millennials Use Mobile Devices to Research Restaurants

19 percent of millennials will use a mobile device when researching a restaurant. Being mobile friendly goes beyond your website – and you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to create an app either. Creating a simple online order process won’t cost you much and will make it easier for millennials to order on the go, as they sometimes prefer. Your website can even help save on labor costs by eliminating or at least reducing the amount of manpower needed to:

  • take restaurant reservations
  • chalk up points or rewards to a customer’s loyalty account
  • find out whether rewards can be redeemed
  • act as a digital POS (point of sale) for to-go orders (or any customer check)
  • promote ancillary services like catering, special events, membership programs, and so on
  • estimate staffing needs (based on reservations, advanced orders and trends)
  • and much more

For fast food and fast casual restaurants that want an app, consider Starbucks as a model. Starbucks users can use the Starbucks mobile app to pay and order ahead so they can bypass the line, avoiding a potentially lengthy point of sale experience in-store, and receive promotions to entice them to return every day. Regardless of whether millennials will be taking their food to go or eating at your restaurant, enabling point of sale functionality through your website or mobile app can be an attractive perk for customers, especially if they are short on time.

Be healthy, be local.

Counting calories is so last year if you talk to millennials. Understanding the ingredients in your dishes as well as where they came from now takes precedence.

30% of Millennials Prefer to Eat Food Labeled as “Organic”

30 percent of millennials prefer to eat food that is labeled as organic. Many restaurants have taken part in the farm to table movement. The idea of this movement is the minimize the miles between your food source and your restaurant.

The great news is this kind of food doesn’t have to break the bank. Chipotle, and Five Guys are the most popular restaurants that have adopted the healthy and local menu. Chipotle serves meat with no human antibiotics while Five Guys writes their meat and potato source on their whiteboards every day. Make it a priority to help millennials understand where your restaurants food originates.

Be giving, be ethical.

Of all the generations, millennials are the most likely to visit a restaurant with good social ethics. 40 percent of millennials are more willing to endorse a company with eco-conscious values over a company without a societal stance.

40% of Millennials Prefer Restaurants that Express Eco-Conscious Values

Your restaurant in no exception. Think about Chick-Fil-A. Everything about their brand shows what they stand for; it’s easy to see how they are involved in their community. If your restaurant is involved in local community events, you should be publicizing your involvement on social media in order to attract philanthropic and charity-minded millennials.

Incorporating these four millennial drivers can help your restaurant capture the attention of this generation and attract more millennials.

Understanding the desires of the millennials will help your restaurant move faster as this generation continues to move into its buying power. While not all millennials have the same taste in food, they do look for the same qualities in choosing a restaurant. Adapting your restaurant to these changes now, will help not only help you attract millennials, but will also help you stay current, and stay resilient as times continue to change.

With holiday shopping in full force, it’s crucial that your retail business staffs enough employees to keep your customer’s experience in your location as relaxing, stress-free, and positive as the rest of the year. Here are six tips for attracting the best seasonal retail employees.

Hiring the Best Seasonal Retail Employees is Crucial for Holiday Sales

If you’re understaffed during the holidays, there’s a good chance one or more of your customers is going to have sub-par service at some point during the season. How does being understaffed affect sales?

78 percent of customers have bailed on a retail transaction because of a poor service experience, and 91 percent of unhappy customers will never again willingly do business with the offending retailer. Since holidays are a high stress, high traffic time, hiring the best holiday employees is key for retail business success. Here are the six tips that can help you attract the best seasonal retail employees, so you have a better chance of hitting – or even exceeding – your holiday sales goals.

6 Tips for Attracting the Best Seasonal Retail Employees

Look Early

Even if holiday candidates are only going to be on the books for a few weeks, their impact on your organization’s sales and reputation can be long lasting. Just like hiring a full-time employee, you need ample time as a hiring manager to select the best seasonal employees, and train them on customer service, POS (point of sale) software and equipment, loyalty and rewards programs, internal procedures, and so on. While most businesses target November to start posting their open positions, consider posting in September and October to ensure you have first pick of the best available talent.

Is your candidate jolly?

Around the holidays, your team can encounter various stressful situations from customer escalations to long wait times at the point of sale. When hiring a holiday employee, they should be able to stay positive through the holiday craze and never sacrifice customer service.

Posing a role-play in the interview where the holiday employee must act on a tough situation rather quickly is a beneficial way to gauge how they’d handle the situation in real life. This also eliminates potential candidates who may say they would act a certain way but really aren’t that way in a real situation. These “jolly” seasonal retail employees are also crucial to keeping a positive and engaged company culture, and a performing team will help your business operate smoothly through the holiday season.

Recruit local college students

Have you considered advertising your seasonal retail positions to college students? Partnering with nearby universities can help you access a solid pool of candidates when it comes to hiring for holiday positions.  In some cases, seasonal employment at your company could even help fulfill internships required for college majors. It’s worth your time for you to reach out to local trade schools and universities with a goal of creating mutually-beneficial partnerships. You could end up with a steady source of the best seasonal candidates and reduce seasonal hiring costs in the process.


Retirees represent a large pool of potential holiday workers as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement. Imagine if you own a boutique retail clothing shop and you hire a retiree who spent their career at Nordstrom! They have a lifetime of knowledge that will mesh well with your customer base, as well as your employees. They also have a love for fashion and will stay engaged in their position. Retirees also want to enjoy their time off, so they like the flexible work schedules that are needed around the holidays. Give ‘em a shot!

Go beyond seasonal

Some of the best seasonal retail employees are the ones who see a temporary position as a stepping stone to full-time employment and not merely a job. These types of candidates will likely be your superstars during the holidays and want to use the skills they learn from you not just for a few months, but for years to come.  As an employer, you can use the holidays as a probationary period or test run. Seasonal hires who perform outstandingly could be a great fit for a current or future full time position.

Employee referral program

Great hires come from great hires! Start a company incentive program that pushes your current employees to refer their connections that they think would be successful candidates. When your employees are stretched thin over the holiday season, the last thing they want is to work with people they do not like or trust. Using a referral program allows your team to be comfortable in the holiday hires as well as take the edge off as your team handles tough customer situations.

Using these six ways to hire the best seasonal retail workers will help your team transition into the busiest season of the year.

Employee culture is the key to a successful holiday season. Allowing yourself time to hire the holiday worker that best fits your team and pulling candidates from outside of your typical candidate pool will help make the transition into the holidays as smooth as possible.


Use these ten marketing ideas for food trucks and other mobile business models to grow your business by creating brand awareness and demand for your signature menu items.

On the Road Again:  10 Marketing Ideas for Food Trucks and Other Mobile Business Models

Over the past several years, the food truck has transitioned its role in the restaurant industry from sometimes-questionable construction site staples to gourmet fast food restaurants and tourist destinations. Food trucks found their way into the mainstream and even onto movie screens, sending foodies and other local diners out into the streets in search of the specialty foods and unique experience only a food truck could provide.

Some food trucks remain truly mobile while others have taken up more permanent spots; food trucks are now common vendors of specialty dining fare in urban business districts, on college campuses, in residence at street fairs and farmers markets, at music festivals, outside nightclubs and sports arenas and in a host of other locations.  And with menus filled with delicious street eats from hot dogs and burritos to specialty, regional gourmet signature menu items, there’s something for just about every palette. Food trucks also provide restaurateurs with an innovative way to test-market new locations or expand at a relatively low cost.

Consider these food truck industry statistics: 

  • More than 3,500+ food truck businesses in the U.S.
  • More than a billion dollars in annual revenue
  • Employing more than 15,500 people
  • Growing at an annual rate of over 8%.  [Infographic]

Small wonder that an overwhelming 91% of consumers say that food trucks are no passing fad, but are here to stay.  One of the pitfalls of the food truck industry is lack of marketing plan, so we came up with these marketing ideas for food trucks (and other mobile business models).

10 Marketing Ideas for Food Trucks and Mobile Business Models

1. Frequent and timely use of social media, email and text message (SMS) marketing – post a status update on your social network and send an email and/or text SMS with mouth-watering image or compelling offer right an hour or so before the lunch or dinner bell sounds.

2. Get people to look for you by rewarding customers for sightings or holding contests on social network, email and text SMS marketing where customers get clues as to your next location and a reward for finding you there.

3. Tie in to a local charity and donate a portion of proceeds or proceeds from specific menu items or from sales made on specific days of the week to make people feel even better about buying from you, create predictable demand for certain menu items or boost sales on slower days of the week.  Charitable tie-ins are also a great way to get some love from local media!

4. Offer “rainy day” specials and create an instant patio by setting umbrella-covered bistro tables to entice customers to buy from you on bad weather days.

5. Update your website every day and make sure it’s optimized for mobile; people searching mobile devices for a local place to eat usually take action within 1 hour!

6. Offer street samples and a bounce back offer coupon to commuters passing by in the morning to create demand for lunch items later in the day.

7. Send email announcements to the offices of local employers with special offers just for their employees, provide a stack of menus and limited-time-offer coupons for break rooms and seek out listings on corporate intranet sites and employee newsletters.

8. Create signature or regionally-oriented menu items that tie in to local tourist destinations or sports teams.  Send samples to local media and invite them to come and cover your business for use as a web or TV news “fluff” piece with local flair.

9. Expand your capabilities by offering local delivery service or for group orders.

10. Incentivize standing orders and pre-ordering and use pre-orders to help determine where you will set up shop next or on certain days of the week.

food trucks infographic - statistics about food trucks in the US

[Infographic – Food Trucks – Restaurant Marketing Ideas]
source:Mary Beth Campeau via wordpress

FDA nutritional disclosure laws regulating how chain restaurants must disclose the nutritional value of all menu options to restaurant patrons means more work for restaurant owners and managers — but there is a marketing upside too.

FDA Nutritional Disclosure Laws Create Opportunity Thanks to Creative Restaurant Marketing Ideas

Use these restaurant marketing ideas to promote your restaurant and its menu to local diners using nutritional disclosure laws. 

Even if not required to do so, many restaurants choose to disclose caloric and nutritional information to restaurant patrons. Federal law requires that *restaurants with more than ±20 locations post calorie information for each food item in at least its standard serving size. Among other requirements, calories must be posted:

  • On all menus and menu boards, including boards at drive thru locations
  • Calories must be displayed clearly and prominently
  • Can be displayed in ranges for variable items (like combo meals)
  • Must be displayed on a sign next to foods on display
  • Should be listed per-serving or per item on a sign next to self-service foods (like a restaurant salad bar or buffet)

Plus, upon request, restaurants must be able to produce more information about all of the foods it serves, including total calories, calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fat, sodium, total carbs, sugars, dietary fiber and protein.

You might also like: Are Restaurant Specials – or Special Restaurants – Key to Restaurant Loyalty Programs?

More work? Maybe. But the FDA labeling requirements for restaurants, food establishments and vending machines brings restaurant marketing opportunities, too.

7 Ways Nutritional Disclosure Laws Lead to Restaurant Growth

1: Create “lite” versions of your most popular menu items by reducing portion size or ingredient substitutions.

2: Offer sampler plates featuring appetizer-sized combinations of menu items customers love but may pass over due to calories in full-size portions.

3: Take advantage of the new regulations to send out an informational email and direct mail newsletter to your customers or within local zip codes.

4: Write a press release or editorial for publication in local newspapers relative to the new regulations and what restaurant customers should be looking for – and asking for – in order to maximize nutrition while eating out.

5: Don’t just display calorie information beside foods, that’s only one piece of the pie! Many foods high in calories are also high in health benefits – the two are not mutually exclusive. Explain the nutritional benefits of foods and ingredients.

6: Tell your customers about locally-sourced ingredients in your menu items. By sourcing locally, you can reduce the time from garden to plate and use foods while they are fresh, rather than frozen or processed. If you source local foods and ingredients, let your customers know! It’s not just better for them, it’s better for the local economy, too.

7: If nutritional disclosure leads to less demand for certain items on your restaurant menu, have a “clearance” event and extend a special offer on those items to give customers once last chance to either try or enjoy a menu item before it is discontinued.

*chain movie theaters, sporting events, airplanes and businesses that are not primarily restaurants (but still serve food) are exempt

±New York City requires restaurants with more than 15 locations to comply, and other states have lobbied for the regulations to apply to restaurants with as few as 10 locations – check with your state’s regulatory agencies for information about nutritional disclosure laws in your state.