September 18 was a fairly busy day for me. Tasked with the Saturday chores of grocery shopping, laundry and general errand running, it was a day that required these things be done even though there were 1,000 other “I’d rather be doings.”
I stopped at my local World Market to look at some furniture (I needed a new dining room table) and spent the next hour making my selection. It was close to 8 p.m. by the time I left and upon leaving the store my nose and stomach were both hit by the overwhelming smell of grilled burgers.
I should mention that the World Market is situated right next to a Home Run Burgers & Fries, a local burger chain with three locations in Louisville. I’ve eaten there three or four times and, not wanting to ignore the hunger pangs, decided to treat myself to a burger and fries.
To my dismay, I was only one of three customers in the entire store. The staff of about six did its best to look busy, but I couldn’t quite understand why they weren’t. The shopping center houses a variety of retail stores and several restaurants, and is typically extremely busy. And the theme of Home Run Burgers, classic and current baseball, should be an easy one to market.
By the time I left, there were a few more customers in the store, but not nearly the number I thought there should have been. Louisville, Ky., has a minor league baseball team so, I thought, why doesn’t Home Run partner with the team? I have gone to a few games and I’ve never heard a Home Run promotion while there. I thought this is where local-store marketing should really come into play and it was unfortunate this type of opportunity was going unfulfilled.
Then something else hit me entirely. Sitting at my desk Monday morning I came across an item that revealed Sept. 18 as National Cheese Burger Day. Wow, I thought, what a coincidence. I also wondered why the franchise owner/operator hadn’t known enough to run a promotion tied into the day – an even more important issue. That was the perfect marketing opportunity to drive customers into the three Home Run locations in Louisville and it went completely unnoticed.
I’m not trying to pick on Home Run, they have a great burger in my opinion, (and I know it isn't easy) but I am trying to make the point that sometimes, a quick search on the Internet can yield huge potential in terms of marketable ideas. For example, according the HolidayInsights.com (the best website I found for this sort of unique/interesting information), September 28 is Ask a Stupid Question Day. I can’t tell you how many marvelous, funny and creative ways this can be used in your restaurant (after all, National Pop Tart Day is a top seller for California Tortilla). Additionally, October is National Pizza Month; October 4 is National Frappe Day (unsubstantiated) and Oct. 14 is National Dessert Day.
There is opportunity all around to connect and reconnect with customers. All it takes is a good idea and a little time. And if you want to take it one step further, perhaps your brand can create its own ‘day’ and even get the town mayor to sign a proclamation stating it so.
As the founder of P-O-P Content & Communications, Valerie Killifer brings her passion for creative thinking and relationship development to the forefront of her business. She spent 15 years as a professional journalist and continues to write about the brands, people and trends impacting the restaurant industry.