Cheldin Barlatt Rumer is the CEO of i-g creative, specializing in internal and external marketing. Over the course of her career as a marketing and promotions executive, she has served as the head of public relations for Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa and then helped to open several McFadden’s properties. The successful launches of 46 restaurants has instilled in Cheldin a sense of the benefits of internal marketing.
Internal marketing allows you to use your staff to promote your venue, saving you time and money. You’re in a battle every day to attract loyal guests, capture dollars and thrive within your community. You are the general and your staff is the army you send to fight your battle. Like any army, they need to be armed with information and skills and rewarded with a healthy work environment and quality of life. Staff morale and employment longevity is directly related to their quality of life because if they’re happy, having a good time and making money, they will fight harder for you. Internal marketing also creates authentic community engagement because you gain access to your employee’s networks: their family, friends and others that they connect with in real life and via social media. These networks all contain potential guests who can be driven into your establishment. Consider this: It’s an indicator of bad corporate culture if your employees don’t want their friends and family to spend time at your bar, restaurant or nightclub.
As mentioned above, armies need information. So, share your sales goals. Your staff can’t know what you want from them if you don’t tell them. Makes sense, right? Communicate your expectations clearly to your staff. What are their sales goals for their specific shift? For the day? The week? The month? Set attainable weekly and monthly benchmarks and let your staff know whether or not they’ve been reached or even surpassed. You have their personal information: send emails or texts to share this information. You’ve spent an incredible amount of time and money on creating your perfect concept and, no offense intended to the young people who make up the majority of service industry staffs, you then pass a lot of control to 20-somethings hoping that things will work out. Well, hope is not a strategy. Commit to having pre-shift meetings and treat them like pep rallies. Motivate your staff, get them pumped, make them proud to work for you. Your staff uses social media so arm them with the tweets and posts you want them to share.
We at Nightclub & Bar have urged you time and time again to ask yourself the following question: What is your brand? When you’ve answered that, create a corporate culture around your brand. Make your business someplace that people are excited to come to for work. Cheldin points to Hooters as a great example of corporate culture within our industry. As she says, Hooters uses nude stockings, something most women would never normally wear, and what could be considered outdated short orange shorts. And yet their culture is attractive that beautiful, capable women live and breathe it. Strive to come up with a culture that makes people want to work for you. You’ll know you’ve done it if guests are asking how they can get a job working for your business.
Cheldin also encourages operators to “sell the Kool-Aid.” As she puts it, “If you don’t have enthusiasm for your brand, no one will have enthusiasm for you. It’s a fact.” So, get your employees excited and thinking your place is the best place to work. You need your employees to bring energy and enthusiasm to each and every shift. Selling the Kool-Aid requires a strategy: offer incentives and contests, offer prizes and awards, engage via social media, implement affiliated programs discounts such as student discounts and friends and family discounts, schedule organized meetings, plan outings with your staff. What’s more intimidating after all, than rolling into another bar on an off night with your happy staff who is partying and tipping well?
An effective army needs more than just motivation, however. It also needs positive feedback and it needs to trust leadership. Yes, you’re the boss. But that doesn’t mean you can’t say please, thank you and good job to your employees. In fact, Cheldin strongly suggests letting everyone know what a great job specific employees have done for you over social media. Not only does this serve to motivate and reward your employees, it shows your community that you care. Gaining the trust of your army of loyal workers isn’t really that difficult. Truly, it’s a matter of commitment. Commit to delivering on your promises. If you offer up incentives for reaching certain goals, your staff performs for you and you don’t deliver, they’re no longer going to trust you or management. Why would they participate in your internal incentives programs if they can’t trust you to follow through? Don’t cancel scheduled meetings no matter how busy you are and don’t cancel scheduled outings. If you’re really too busy to schedule and attend meetings, designate a shift leader, head bartender or manager who will conduct meetings, deliver the information your staff needs and be their cheerleader.
“Contrary to popular demands, people have kitchens and [they] can buy liquor on the corner,” says Cheldin. “Why should they not drink in their house, eat in their house? Why should they come to your space? That’s what we’re doing every day. That’s what we’re fighting for every day, that experience – creating that experience.”
Help your army help you fight the good fight.
You can learn more about motivating your staff from amazing speakers at the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Registration opens in the fall!