Promising to keep customers cool in the summer is a double edged sword for casual dining restaurants. Trained on free refills and bottomless glasses of soda and iced tea, many don’t want to venture out of their familiar comfort zones and try anything new.
This is part of what faced the units of the Genghis Grill when the chain launched last summer’s “Dream Come Blue” alcohol-free beverage promotion. But they needn’t have worried – the program and its ancillary marketing cues worked well enough for the 100+ unit chain to earn the Vibe Vista Award this year for the best adult alcohol free restaurant program.
The Dallas-based chain’s alcohol free program included promotion of their popular watermelon-inspired drinks called “Dream Come Blue.” The promotion ran during the hot summer months from June through August 2012. To cool customers down from the summer heat wave, the chain created three drinks; Blueberry Lemonade, Bluetazzle Tea, and Berry Mint Blast. The drink promotion was communicated largely through social media channels and point-of-sale material at the store level, using tried and true methods including table top stickers, in-store banners and postcards for LSM opportunities.
The recipes, crafted to be served with or without alcohol, allowed customers to add their own spirit, but were designed to be fully satisfying without. In order to help drive sales, Genghis Grill associates were engaged with the promotion with weekly and monthly prizes to those who served the most drinks. Monin Gourmet Flavorings, whose syrups were used in the concoctions, also was a sponsor for the drink promotion. Specific, photo-supported recipes and directions were made available to every unit, to ensure consistency across the 22 states in which Genghis operates.
Supported by email and text blasts, the promotion was also bolstered via will social media on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
In-store, staff were directed to place promotional stickers on each table in the restaurant. Postcards were supplied to promote the Blueberry Summer drinks to local businesses, hotels and residences. Prominent store signage and outside banners as well highlighted the program for the Mongolian stir-fry concept.
Net results of the promotion – more than 128,000 drinks sold through the promotion. Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade was the biggest seller, and some regions and units out performed; for instance, one unit in Oklahoma was responsible for more than 4,700 drinks sold, head and shoulders above most other units.
The VIBE Vista Operator Award winners are selected by a panel of beverage professionals. The awards are given to companies which create positive initiatives that spark beverage sales, innovations that contribute to operational efficiencies, training and service programs that lead to the highest quality standards and operational practices.
Enter to win a 2014 VIBE Vista Award by clicking HERE.