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Promotion Planning

Staff Engagement = Success

October 20, 2010 By: Rich Verrecchia


Lately, does it seem your promotions fizzle out early? Or maybe the staff just doesn’t buy into them anymore? You want to create great promotions but just don’t know what will work? Why not try this out: Ask for your staff’s input…and use it! Trust me, they will tell you what will work and what won’t. Here’s how to get them to open up:

• Get a group of top performers from your staff involved. Let the entire staff know that these folks are going to assist you in building a promotion and to pass ideas in through them.

• When planning a promotion, be sure to somehow include as many staff members as possible, matching hosts, bussers and back-of-house employees to servers and bartenders. This is a great way to keep the energy up and the conversation and ideas flowing. Whether you have funds to spend on an agency or the ideas need to be home grown, you will be surprised by what your staff comes up with.

• Incentives can be inexpensive — gift cards for iTunes, gas or movies all can be purchased for as little as $5 or $10 dollars each. Find out from your staff what appeals to them most and offer that as an incentive.

• Other ideas are home-grown prizes for each day of the week; it also gets the staff to work slower nights if appealing offers such as “pick your next shift or family meal on us” are up for grabs on slower nights.

The ideas will come; it will be up to you to see what works. Here’s a good idea: “Get out of Jail Free” cards for when an employee really needs something, like a day off (of course some notice is required). It’s ideas like those that are unique and meaningful. When running a promotion, think about giving out multiple prizes for sales success each night; it costs very little and the rewards are huge!

You do the math. Assume you are running a $7.95 Patron Margarita special and you incentivize your staff to sell five extra drinks per server:
Return of $6 = $30/server X 10 servers = $300 per night X 45 days of promotion = $13,500 Profit! Motivating them to sell only five additional drinks each per night can yield thousands of dollars!

A little investment on behalf of the management team goes a long way. The staff had fun, made money and is awaiting the next promotion. Once you get the ball rolling you can take this to dizzying heights.

Now I glossed over a lot of details — we’ll address some of those details in future columns — but don’t gloss over things as you plan your next promotion and incentives. Be sure to make it executable and not too complex.

I hope this helps stir up the creative juices. Just remember, no matter your budget, you can have a successful promotion if you plan it right, train it thoroughly and get the staff engaged, ready to execute and having fun!


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