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First I must say this was not my idea - it is not original - I read it in NRN and its an ad campaign that I must share! ( It has been a while back - but I managed restaurants for years and if I was today I would be all over this idea for an ad campaign!)In San Antonio this brilliant restaurant operator is "Bailing Out" a percentage of his regular or new clients! He went to Kinko's and made an official fun notice that he gives to select customers at the end of their meal who fully expect to pay & instead it tells them they are getting "bailed out" just to tip their server and the meal is on the house!Its a win win deal - the servers get like a 40% tip the client leaves all happy and tells a gazillion people what happened to him, the little guy gets bailed out! The operator is smart because he sees his clients coming in ... lots of them depressed with all of the financial turmoil we are all in... He surprises them - he does not use this if a client is not pleased with something - he has his policies in place to handle any complaints.This is for the client who may dine for lunch or dinner 3-4 times a week & he is thanking them or surprising a new client with a "Bail Out"! He keeps track of what it is costing him but he says the return on this type of in house campaign has been very successful for him! I bet it is! You could be creative & come up with your own touch to this ad campaign but I feel better now that I have shared it! I just think it rocks! Hey if you try it let me know how it goes for you!And the beat goes on...Patti xoxoEarthy Delights
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  • These are great ideas. Restaurants who can flip the bad press and leverage a great opportunity will survive these times.

    Checkout www.blabberbug.com and give me some feedback!
  • It does build loyalty and it does connect with the guests these days. . .if it is done right. I think there is a big distinction between something that feels authentic and something that does not - this guy is taking care of his guests who will keep taking care of his business. I think the Denny's giveaway is completely different, however. Sure, it will drive trial, but I hardly see it as 'authentic' or designed out of concern for the community. Even if it were, it is hard for the bigger chains to suddenly send a message of 'care' when the theme is not felt consistently with the brand over time.

    In July of '08 our two restaurants bought everything (everything, even liquor) for all of our guests, all day around the message that "we're part of this community and we're going to give something back". People saw it as authentic because we already have a huge reputation of giving back 5% of our NOP to our community. Man, word started spreading (or I should say, the texting started!) and we had lines all day. A few people took advantage, of course, but it was hardly worth trying to police them. Most people appreciated the guesture for what it was, and probably 80% didn't know about it until their bill came. In all we comped $26K for the day - but people are still talking about it nine months later. I would do it again.
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