Wow Street Restaurant Marketing Report: Why It’s Not Free

The Skinny On All Of Those Free Restaurant Marketing Newsletters:

Restaurant Marketing & Restaurant Marketing Newsletters: I get a lot of questions on why I charge $15.99 a month (4 weekly issues) for my Wow Street Marketing Report, while others are available for free. The answer is simply “value.” Actually, I don’t charge enough for the Report. Shame on me!

As a business person, I’m sure you despise giving away free product all of the time. It truly hurts the bottom line.

The fact is, there’s absolutely no sustainable value in “free.”

And that’s why amidst all of the free restaurant marketing newsletters that frequent your inbox, ten years and 492 plus issues ago, I made a decision to produce a short concise weekly marketing report, focused on 35-seconds of intelligent restaurant marketing and executive management insights.

My goal was … and still is … to help restaurant owners/executives take it up a notch and be great. I also decided to make my Wow Street Marketing Report subscription-based – as an impetus to provide valuable content not found in the various freebies that are out

While I know it’s easy to get spoiled with all of the free newsletters, there’s always a catch somewhere – an up-sell, a sponsor, a tease, or articles by ghost writers with absolutely no restaurant marketing experience, a way to increase one’s email list, or just plain inferior content.

The Wow Street Marketing Report is written by me – restaurant marketing professional, who consults with restaurants, does workshops for restaurants – all on a regular basis – who like you, places a value on their product.

My client, Barry’s Pizza, one of the most successful pizza/Italian restaurants in Houston – who gets $25 for a small pizza (it’s absolutely fabulous!) – has a sign posted when people flinch about his prices: “Quality is like oats… if you want nice fresh oats, you must pay a fair price … unless of course you can be satisfied with paying a cheaper price on the oats that have gone through the horse.”

The next time you get a free hospitality marketing newsletter, there’s a chance – much like the oats – it’s been through the horse. :)  Click here if you want to subscribe to the Wow Street Marketing Report.




Restaurant Marketing: What Position Do You Want To Own?

I just posted on my home page an article about restaurant positioning – positioning a message that is memorable in the mind of your customer.  If there’s no position, then there’s nothing to remember and another restaurant takes your place.

Imagine that the customer’s mind is made up of zillions of memory slots. When a customer thinks of a restaurant, the “restaurant department” of the mind becomes active and there’s only 3-5 slots available. If your restaurant is not one of those slots, you’re not remembered.

Read more on and see how your restaurant can be the “only game in town.”




Restaurant Marketing: Promotions For October

Restaurant Marketing Promotions

October is National Pizza Month and National Chili Month.

For beverage marketing, October
offers Liqueur Day, Frappe Day and Vodka Day.

Food related days include: Chicken
Cacciatore Day, Fried Scallops Day, Greasy Food Day, Gumbo Day,
Pasta Day, Seafood Bisque Day, Taco Day and Vegetarian Day.

Desserts include: Angel Food
Cake Day, Boston Cream Pie Day, Brandied Fruit Day, Candy Apple
Day, Caramel Custard Day, Chocolate Cupcake Day, Chocolate Day,
Dessert Day and Pumpkin Cheesecake Day.

Special days for the month include
Boss’s Day, Mother-In-Law Day and Navy Day.

Here is the promotional rundown
for October:

National Caramel Month
National Chili Month
National Cookie Month
National Pizza Month
National Bullying Prevention Month
National Fire Prevention Month
National Work And Family Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Italian Heritage Month

1 – World Vegetarian Day
2 – National Fried Scallops Day
3 – National Caramel Custard Day
3 – Techies Day
4 – National Vodka Day
4 – National Taco Day
5 – World Teachers Day
6 – Mad Hatter Day
9 – World Egg Day
9 – Fire Prevention Day
10 – National Angel Food Cake Day
12 – Columbus Day
12 – Thanksgiving (Canada)
12 – National Gumbo Day
14 – National Dessert Day
14 – Take Your Parents To Lunch Day
15 – National Chicken Cacciatore Day
16 – National Liqueur Day
16 – Boss’s Day
17 – National Pasta Day
17 – Wear Something Gaudy Day
18 – National Chocolate Cupcake Day
19 – National Seafood Bisque Day
21 – National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day
22 – National Nut Day
23 – National Boston Cream Pie Day
24 – National Bologna Day
24 – Make A Difference Day
25 – World Pasta Day
25 – Mother-In-Law Day
27 – American Beer Day
27 – Navy Day
28 – National Chocolate Day
29 – National Oatmeal Day
29 – National Cat Day
29 – Internet Day
31 – Halloween
31 – National Candy Apple Day
31 – Magic Day




Restaurant Marketing Report: What You Missed

Restaurant Marketing Report: Here are the top Wow Street Marketing Report issues you may have missed in August and September

The Wow Street Restaurant Marketing Report  is “intelligent restaurant marketing for intelligent restaurant owners and executives.

Subscription information is at:

1. 45 Topics To Post On Facebook

2. Your Exclusive Secret Weapon For Success

3. Troops & Vets: The Right Thing To Do From Tijuana Flats

4. How To Be The Only Game In Town

5. New Study: Customers Say A Story Actually Improves Food Quality

6. If It Doesn’t WOW, It’s Boring. Is Your Restaurant Boring?

7. What The Parents Want: The Two Minute Drill

7. It’s Raining. Are You Soaking Your Customers?

8. Your Burgers Are Screaming A Story. How To Sell More Of Any Product

9. They’re Still Alive: Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead

10. Two Highly Successful Strategies To Follow For Success

11. The Angus Barn: The Church Of The Dining Experience (series of three)

The Wow Street Restaurant Marketing Report is a concise, to the point, no BS, 35-second read; great insight into building your restaurant or retail business. For intelligent restaurant marketing, subscribe and get 4 issues per month, click here.


Restaurants Embracing Cause Marketing & Social Fundraising

Restaurant Cause Marketing: In an October 2014 National Restaurant Association news announcement titled “For restaurants, charity begins at home,” the Association cited research estimating the restaurant industry donated nearly $3 billion to charitable efforts in 2013.

Corporate responsibility within the restaurant industry has evolved beyond grandstanding– as restaurants of all sizes see multiple benefits from actively supporting charities favored by their patrons.

The “Edelman goodpurpose 2012” study projected that 72 percent of U.S. consumers would recommend a brand that supports a good cause over one that doesn’t.  

Given this, as a restaurant owner, manager or marketer, you should be asking: What causes should my restaurant support?

A 2014 “Statistica” survey of restaurant customers in the United States, listed these as the “Top 5” types of charities they would like to see restaurants support:

1.    Those that fight hunger (48% of survey respondents)

2.    Those that help poor families (41%)

3.    Those that help children (28%)

4.    Short-term disaster relief (28%)

5.    Those that fight diseases (26%)

Here for your inspiration are examples of three philanthropically-inclined restaurant chains who’ve run cause marketing programs to benefit charities in those top segments:

Wendy’s Campaign for Foster Care Adoption
In 2014, 90% of Wendy’s restaurants across the U.S. participated in a national campaign to sell Frosty Key Tags. Purchases of $1 Wendy’s branded key tags raised funds for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and provided customers with a free Jr. Frost with any purchase through the end of the year. Touting the tagline “Every child deserves a childhood,” Wendy’s Forever Family campaign resonated with customers, raising more than $4 million for the foundation and helping 4,000 children in foster homes to find homes, thus far.

Denny’s & Team Up for “No Kid Hungry
Since 2011, 1,600 Denny’s restaurants nationwide have run annual coupon sales campaigns which have raised $1.4 million for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry, the leading nonprofit focused on ending child hunger in America. Last summer (2014), Denny’s expanded its initative by teaming up with T-shirt fundraising site The campaign began with a nationwide contest for Denny’s employees to submit compelling t-shirt designs to spread the word about No Kid Hungry. Three final t-shirt designs were selected, and put up for sale for $10 each on a #DennyNKH-branded t-shirt fundraising web page. Encouraged by social media, and driven by active participation by Denny’s franchises, team members and customers, Denny’s raised $18,000 from t-shirt sales alone and revenue from donations jumped 30% over the prior year. Beyond raising money, management at No Kid Hungry claim that the t-shirts also helped raise spirits and public awareness about the more than 16 million American children struggling with hunger. Denny’s is continuing the t-shirt fundraiser in 2015.

Chili’s More Hope Campaign for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
The fall of 2013 marked the 10-year anniversary of a partnership between Chili’s Grill & Bar and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, a globally respected leader in the treatment childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Timed to coincide with Childhood Cancer Awareness month each September, Chili’s restaurants across the country as well as in Puerto Rico have participated in the company’s Chili’s “More Hope” Campaign, offering a number of in-restaurant and online giving opportunities designed to raise funds for St. Jude.  In 2013 and 2014, Chili’s raised more than $5 million for St. Jude and to date, has raised more than $54 million. This effort surpassed their $50 million commitment and did this two years early. In 2015, Chili’s and the Create-A-Pepper campaign is extending their partnership with St. Jude beyond the month of September and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and taking part in the St. Jude Thanks and Giving® campaign.

Cause marketing and social fundraising isn’t just for large, national restaurant chains. Embracing and supporting the causes and issues your own patrons care about can let you “do the right thing,” while also enhancing your connection to customers, fostering loyalty, repeat business, and favorable word of mouth referrals.  Why should your restaurant do this?

Just Be Cause.


This guest post written by Andrew Moss, President of t-shirt fundraising site (Newton, MA)


Restaurant Marketing: Top Newsletters You May Have Missed In March & April

Restaurant Marketing: Here are the top WOW newsletter issues you may have missed. The WOW newsletter is "intelligent restaurant marketing for intelligent restaurant owners and executives.

WOW has been quoted as a better read than Nations Restaurant News for marketing and building your business. Subscription information is at:

1. The Apple Watch Story & How It Affects Your Restaurant

2. Why You Should Start An Annual Tradition

3. Google's Smackdown

4. Be An Inspirational Restaurant. Start With "Why"

5. Keep Your Marketing Grounded & Focused

6. Think You're Customer-Centric? Try This!

WOW is a concise, to the point, no BS, 35-second read; great insight into building your restaurant or retail business. To subscribe and get 4 issues per month, click here.


How to Create a High Performance RestaurantTeam in 90 Days

Wow Team Building Master Class: Denver June 15-17
Over my many WOW issues, I've written about the importance of building a championship team – something I know you're acutely aware of.
The challenge is that developing the right team is a hit or miss venture. It's stressful, it's expensive. Turnover hurts everyone in your restaurant, including your customers.
Unfortunately, there was never a class or a course on "Best Practices For Developing a Championship Team" to teach us the right way on how to do this.
Until now, that is.
Imagine if you could:
1. Hire the right people right away – and keep them.
2. Increase staff productivity – leading to greater profits.
3. Have a team that runs like an orchestra – all in-sync, all providing great customer dining experiences – and all building your sales and profits – and even performing perfectly while you're away on that long-overdue vacation.
You don't have to imagine it.
Now you can have the perfect team you've always dreamed of having.
This is a special invitation to join Bill Marvin The Restaurant Doctor and I in Denver – June 15th-17th – for our Team-Building Master Class – "How to Create a High Performance Team in 90 Days" – two and a half days of intensive learning and interacting with other restaurant owners – building the team you've always dreamed of having.
Our Team-Building Master Class is the third piece in our SFA series for impatient restaurateurs. In our first two programs, we've already proven (to some initially skeptical operators) how easily they could increase both sales and profit by 20% or more within just 90 days. (Those classes are coming up again in October and February.)
I urge you: Don't miss this one.
For this intensive and focused Master Class, we're only accepting a limited number of attendees. Register now before this limited number of seats are claimed by others (maybe your competitors?).
Click  to get the whole story on this exciting new Master Class.
You'll leave Denver being able to create the high performance championship you've always dreamed of having.
Again, get all the details at


Restaurant Marketing: How LEDs Can Increase Your Sales.

Restaurant Marketing: The number one rule for increasing liquor sales is:

Situate premium products where they are visible to patrons and easily accessible by employees, with plenty of inventory on hand to meet increased demand.

Lighting is a critical but sometimes under-emphasized component of any sales strategy. It affects customers’ perceptions of liveliness, coziness, and brand value, and a high quality lighting design has been shown to encourage patrons to linger and shop more.

The best lighting designs consider the cohesion of ambient and accent lighting. Ambient lighting is the backbone of design and uses consistent light levels to ensure that patrons can see the space and navigate through it safely. Along with natural daylight, ambient lighting is created using direct and indirect fixtures that shine directly onto surfaces or bounce light off of walls or ceilings.

Accent lighting is precisely what you need to increase liquor sales and here’s the science behind it:

  • Studies show that people prefer facing walls that are spotlit. It’s no wonder, then, that so many customers belly up to the bar; a well-lit space behind the bar gives patrons an enjoyable drinking/eating environment, allowing attentive bartenders to upsell.

  • Lighting affects people’s moods and emotions, and creating the right atmosphere increases spending.

  • High contrast lighting enhances visibility and levels of attention while simultaneously lowering energy consumption.

  • People prefer cooler light (5000 Kelvins) to warmer light (3000 Kelvins), finding cooler light to be brighter and more arousing. Similarly, light with a higher color rendering index (95 CRI) is more pleasurable than a lower color rendering index (75 CRI).1

But science can only get you so far.

When it comes to sales, you have to follow the trends: clear (not translucent) hand-blown glass with a warm-colored bulb inside; an uplit back bar; directional light for feature displays; and, of course, LEDs.

LEDs are ideal for full-service restaurants, which have “among the highest electrical costs per square foot of any building type.” True, the up-front costs are greater, but LEDs’ small energy consumption and long lives mean fewer replacement bulbs to be purchased and labored over. They also emit more light per watt, show truer colors, and are better for your health.

LED-lit shelves boost a product’s visibility along with its attractiveness by drawing a patron’s attention to striking pops of light. It’s important to choose the right colors to increase sales: red creates urgency to make quick decisions and is associated with energy and vitality; yellow and orange have high visibility and grab attention; and while royal blue is effective for impulse shopping, never (ever ever) use blue for food because it suppresses appetite.

Once you’ve installed eye-popping, cost-saving LED accent lighting and liquor displays, the final step to increasing sales is to create a signature cocktail that will keep customers coming back. We recommend pouring it into a unique glass that isn’t used for any other drink, high-quality alcohol, and a lot of experimentation!

— Guest post written by Charlie Wilson of


Restaurant Marketing: Effective Strategies for Acquiring New Guests in Your Community

Restaurants spend a lot of money every year trying to attract new guests. It is by far the largest portion of the marketing budget. Data collected from Tuee using over 30,000 data points, indicates that new guests only account for about 25% of a restaurant's total business on average.

What does this mean? It is not saying that attracting new customers isn't important, but perhaps you should be careful about spending too much time on it, if the effort does not equal the reward.

This unfortunate reverse example of the 80/20 rule, whereby about 80% of your efforts and marketing budget goes to only about 20% of your revenue generation. Think about that! Now think about how you can get out of this debacle, because new customers are important to keep your restaurant alive. Nonetheless, something that accounts for 25% of your revenue should probably only receive about 25% of your time and money, right? Keep reading if you want some quick and affordable ideas on how to attract new guests to your restaurant.

1. Partner with other local businesses
Many restaurants have successfully used other businesses to market their restaurants. Most often these other businesses are looking to create mutually beneficial relationships and are more than willing to work with you.

For example, your upscale restaurant could partner with a flower shop – let the flower shop include a subtle and stylish note on the table decorations in exchange for free or discounted flowers. An extension of this used to attract guests could be a "dinner for two" which includes keeping the romantic single rose that adorns the table.

Other ideas include go to the local bakery for a supplier. Granted it may be a little more expensive, even after negotiating a price, but let them put up a sign in the store to "Visit Mike's Seafood Restaurant for great meals using our signature bread" and you can make sure to mention them in the menu or a table card: "Tomato and Basil Bruschetta served on Mama's Home Bakery baguette slices."

2. Host Local Community Events
Get to know the local community and host some local events. This will allow the people locally to get to know who you are and earn you some brownie points as a business that helps out the community. People are often inclined to dine at businesses they have seen active in local community events.

For example, a sports bar/restaurant might partner with a local team to be their designated after-game drink location for their once-a-week games. No matter the sport, no matter the level. This will attract a few core customers who are likely to become repeat customers, but it will also bring a few new tag-alongs with each visit. Many of these customers are then likely to come back even when there is no game.

Other ideas include sponsoring a local high school sports team. Any restaurant could see if there is a rotary club you can work with or a PDA meeting that wants to avoid the monotonous classroom or gym for their meetings. You could also put a little more skin in the game by sponsoring a local high school sports team. Connect it to a healthy children initiative in your area. Let people know that your restaurant is a place where healthy food/living can be expected. Viola - successful marketing!

3. Host Combined Events with People who have a following
One of the best ways to promote your restaurant to new guests is to work with a well known local individual and provide them with a place to reach their audience. If possible, allow an influential person to host their event at your restaurant.

For example, if you are trying to attract affluent people and young professionals, you could host a comedy night and invite local comedians who will benefit from the exposure. The night itself should be profitable and the event will draw the right kind of crowd to become repeat customers.

Other ideas include having local associations do their weekly or monthly meetings at your restaurant, like the real estate group, or even the local restaurant association.

In conclusion…
These are mostly give and take strategies that are mutually beneficial. What in life isn't a give and take, right? Give 80% of your marketing budget to 20% of your business or spend a few hours in meeting local businesses to set up relationships that will pay dividends for a long time to come. The restaurant business is a human business. Don't let that stop with the server-guest interaction.

Get to know your guests and find out what they want. Many want a trusted source to recommend places, a partner to interact with in the community, and a venue to socialize with their friends and associates over a drink or good food.

This guest post written by Vikram Rao – co-founder of Tuee - redefining restaurant guest relations.



Restaurant Marketing: Top Newsletters You May Have Missed In Jan. & Feb.

Restaurant Marketing: Here are the top WOW newsletter issues you may have missed. The WOW newsletter is "intelligent restaurant marketing for intelligent restaurant owners and executives.

WOW has been quoted as a better read than Nations Restaurant News for marketing and building your business. Subscription information is at:

1. Understanding The Profit Value Of The Dining Experience

2. Why You Should Stop Hunting For Customers

3. The Best SEO Tools For Your Restaurant's Web Site

4. The Importance of Your Female Customers

5. Building A Monopoly Of Trust In Your Market Place

6. The Huge Illusion Of Customer Satisfaction, Loyalty & Spending

7. The Importance Of Starting An Annual Tradition

WOW is a concise, to the point, no BS, 35-second read; great insight into building your restaurant or retail business. To subscribe and get 4 issues per month, click here.