The Melting Pot Brings Women & Whiskey Together

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Image: The Melting Pot's Women & Whiskey LTO.

Winners of the 2016 VIBE Single Event/Single Promo Vista Award this year, the Melting Pot franchise restaurants took an interesting path down the whiskey trail.

The mission of their limited time program was to help drive traffic and enhance sales through unique and innovative themes and food and beverage offerings. This whiskey-based LTO was targeted directly at females, the largest segment (70%) of their guests. They decided to encourage trials of specialty whiskey cocktails through POS materials, female-focused social media campaigns, and fun, sophisticated Ladies Night Out events to drive traffic and revenues on slower nights of the week. They also added a food pairing of whiskey-infused cheese and chocolate fondues created especially for this program.

Program highlights included 5 female-friendly whiskey cocktails, a create-your-own whiskey flight, the whiskey-infused cheese and chocolate fondues, and consumer-facing whiskey education pieces like the "What Kind of Whiskey Woman are You?" quiz and flight pairing notes. The “Women and Whiskey” autumn LTO offered a selection of spirits in the whiskey category including two bourbons, an Irish Whiskey, a Scotch whisky, and a flavored whiskey. These spirits were available in either a flight or in a cocktail. Bourbon was also available in the Bourbon Bacon Cheddar Cheese Fondue and Single Barrel Milk Chocolate Fondue. Monkey Shoulder Scotch was available in the Wee Bit of Honey White Chocolate fondue.

Melting Pot employed a variety of marketing tactics to draw attention to the program. Creative pieces were used within the 4 walls on menus, table tents, and front and back of house posters, as well as on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to keep the promotion top of mind. Announcements and event listings were also communicated via these channels, and an email campaign was sent to Melting Pot’s “Fondue Fanatics” to inform them.

Pre-shift scripts were provided to each location in order to introduce and train the staff on the program’s features and food and beverage offerings. Staff trainings were also offered by the brand ambassadors of each of the participating whiskey brands. Finally, each of the whiskey brands supplied videos that provided background information on their company and spirits.

Revenues grew dramatically over the course of the program, with whiskey sales soaring 113%. The whiskey-infused cheese and chocolate fondues were huge hits, and the sales of cocktails and whiskey climbed dramatically. By offering whiskey in cheese and chocolate fondues, Melting Pot invited guests to try the flavors and attributes of whiskies in a nearly non-alcohol form with most of the alcohol cooked off.

LTOs rarely involve whiskey even though the spirit is so popular these days. Clearly failing to leverage this popularity is a mistake, if the Melting Pot success is any yardstick.