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Marketing Your Restaurant
 (630) 650-9200 | William B. Cummings © 2010 - 2020 All Rights 


When families go out to eat, it’s often the kids who decide where to eat. Children are the focus for powerful marketing programs seeking to influence the spending of the family income. This year alone, according to the National Restaurant Association, children under the age of 12 will directly influence the spending of over $600 billion dollars per year. 

Simply a kid’s menu is not enough, what you need is comprehensive kid’s marketing system to keep the family coming back. You have to offer an outstanding, appealing experience to gain their loyalty. You don’t want them eating another Happy Meal® when they are asked by Mom and Dad where to go for dinner.

So how do you create a Great Kids Klub? You should start by creating a Family Dining Experience where they can all participate together using an activity placemat. The placemat can also include a kid’s menu. Do a google search under “restaurant placemats advertising” where you will find many sources, some for free.  

There could be a short questionnaire asking for some basic information like the kid’s name, birthday, and an email address (probably the parents). You can send a full color birthday cards (by email) and an invitation for a free Birthday Dinner and Treat. You might extend the offer to the rest of the family.  

You could email to the kid a certificate to “Buy Mom and Dad Dinner” from your restaurant. This makes the kid feel important and grown up because they are buying dinner for a change. Use full color certificates and customize them to your restaurant. The restaurants who are using these report a redemption rate of between 50% and 80%! It is high because they are your existing customers and the kids want to bring their parents back to the restaurant.  

Finally, your restaurant’s Kid’s Bucks are the basis of your program for the kids. These customized kid’s bucks are handed out when they come in to eat. They are given a list of prizes that the Kid’s Bucks can be redeemed for or they could choose from a Treasure Chest.  

For more information about promoting your restaurant go to

Also read FULL: A complete online and offline roadmap to marketing your restaurant by Dean Killingbeck. 

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Hard or soft? There are many opinions about whether a restaurant should have a hard Grand Opening or soft one. It is my opinion that there should be a hard grand opening with all the hoopla you can muster. Grand openings are critical to all restaurants for these reasons:
  They create awareness and drive traffic.
  Some of the highest sales figures are around grand openings.
  It’s not easy to maintain those high sales figures, but it is much better than
 starting slow and taking a long time to build up your sales.

Grand openings are designed to generate excitement in your staff and the community. Sometimes there are lines of customers around the block in anticipation of a grand opening. One restaurant brand gives away a free sandwich every week for a year and the next 99 get a free sandwich once a month for a year!  
It generates enthusiasm from the staff and management. It creates excitement for the employees to know that there is all these people lined up waiting to get in and be waited on.

Tips for promoting your Grand Opening:
1.Send an email to all potential visitors you can collect. Also, for schools sent to all parents, teachers, and community partners asking for their support.
2.Utilize all types of social media. For example, ask members to add your flyer to their page and create a Facebook event – invite all your friends!
3.Distribute flyers around the community.

Grand opening events needs to be carefully planned and coordinated. Some franchises will begin holding planning meets 12 weeks in advance. Many franchises have developed programs to follow to insure quality, consistency, and brand identity.

You want to make the local folks to feel it is a big deal and that we appreciate them getting involved.

 For my help, call or text (630) 650-9200 or write me at

© William B. Cummings 2018                                    Open PDF Copy to Download                      Top of Page


​If you have a restaurant, you should do fundraisers. The purpose of a fundraiser is to help a non-profit organization, but more important it is to help you gain more clients. A fundraiser will help a cause but also introduce your products and restaurant to new people.

Online, delivery and catering orders will not count toward your fundraising donation. We want people to come in and see our business and taste our freshest products and experience our good service.  

Schools are good prospects for a fundraiser, but to find other non-profit organizations in your area do a search at Many other non-profits would like to participate.

Tips for promoting your fundraiser:
1.Send an email to all potential donors to the non-profit. Also, for schools sent to all parents, teachers, and community partners asking for their support.
2.Utilize all types of social media. For example, ask members to add your flyer to their page and create a Facebook event – invite all of your friends!
3.Distribute flyers around the community.
4.If the fundraiser is for a school, work with the administration to promote the fundraiser in the morning announcements.
5.If the fundraiser is for a sports team, make sure to announce the event at all practice and games prior to the fundraiser.

Fundraiser FAQs
1. How do our fundraisers work?
You will donate 20% of the sales that the organization earns! Yes, you saw right. 20%!
The amount will be donated when someone comes in with your flyer (smart phone counts, too) or mentions your organization at checkout
Feel free to dine in, carry out, or go through the drive thru. If you order in the drive thru, make sure to inform the first order taker that you are participating in the fundraiser.
Requirement: $200 minimum total sales from your supporters to receive a donation.

2. How do I make my fundraiser successful?
Promote! Create a Facebook event, post on your website or send an email to your friends and family.
Print the really cool flyer that we send you and post them at relevant locations: 
oCoffee Shops
oActivity Centers

3. How do I get the money we raised? 
You should send a check within 30 days. 
Fundraising Etiquette
Please don’t promote your fundraiser on our restaurant’s premises. 
Online, delivery and catering orders will not count towards your fundraising donation.

 For my help, call or text (630) 650-9200 or write me at

© William B. Cummings 2018                                 Open PDF Copy to Download                         Top of Page      


Drive business to your restaurant with the most famous restaurant holiday. Learn how to cash in on it and increase the revenues in your restaurant. According to the National Restaurant Association the average birthday celebrant is with 2.8 family and friends, for a total count of almost 4 people including the birthday celebrant! 

Creating a Great Birthday Program
  • Get the right database list (who’s the best guest). You will probably want a geographic area around the restaurant, perhaps the zip code or a five mile radius. Then you want to get a prospect who matches the demographics of your best guest; age, marital status, income range, homeowners, etc.
  • Give the guest a great offer! Offer them a Free Entrée and be sure the dollar value of the free entrée is ample.  
  • The mailer must be personalized and customized to the intended recipient.
  • Be clear and make the offer “No Strings Attached!”. You need to get them excited and don’t be cheap.
  • Develop the best letter with a gift certificate inviting the guest into your restaurant.

Contact me for more information on how to implement this program and the Secret Strategies needed to make it fly, see the book FULL by Dean Killingbeck (ISBN: 9780983158509), available at Amazon. For my help, call or text (630) 650-9200 or write me at

© William B. Cummings 2018 ​                              Open PDF Copy to Download​                       Top of Page


 It is very important to maintain an excellent reputation in the restaurant business. People tend to go where the food is excellent, and the service is good. Many people love to share the experience with their friends or family when they go out to a restaurant. For example, many people like to take pictures of the food they ordered to post on Facebook and comment.

  Also, and are good examples. Don’t assume there is nothing you can do if you get a bad review. Every restaurant owner must consider the importance of immediately responding to reviews that are either positive or negative. Here are three things you can do:
1.Appoint someone to be the social media manager who is available always to monitor and respond to reviews left by your customers. Immediate action should be required. The job could be assigned to someone at the restaurant who has some downtime and has in interest in this.
2.Address any complaints you find on Yelp or Google in a respectful and appropriate manner. Your customers satisfaction should be your goal. If your patron was unsatisfied, ask why and how their experience could have been improved.  
3.Don’t be afraid to apologize and maybe offer a discount on their next visit or even a $10 or $15 gift card.

Whether you like it or not, Yelp has proven itself to be very important for restaurants. It was created to be a review site for its users. It is also a great source for driving traffic to your Website. If you are not listed on Yelp, or it is listed incorrectly, people will not be able to find you. According to Social Media Marketing for Restaurants, “Having your restaurant accurately and positively listed is kind of like a pipeline right to your business with Yelp users”. Social media today can cause great damage with negative reviews. Don’t take it lightly and fight to keep your good reputation.  

I recommend Social Media Marketing for Restaurants as it covers the topic in much greater detail. (ISBN 9781976289989)

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It is far easier and less costly to get a current customer to buy again than to attract a stranger to your business. The current customer is familiar with your business, has tried your food, and more likely to return. Fishbowl Marketing is a very cheap campaign to promote your products to your current customers and is a low-cost method to market your business. It will probably result in the customer who enters returning with another potential purchaser. It is important to collect email addresses whenever you can. (Learn More)

You should always get a customer's email address when they are leaving the restaurant. If the customer asks why you are asking, explain you send out offers once a month for discounts on your meals.
With this in mind, the “Fishbowl Marketing” concept would simply involve the following steps:
Put a large fishbowl, preferably plastic, on the counter of the restaurant with a sign taped to the front that says: “Enter our free drawing for a $25 gift certificate (or equivalent) that will be awarded each month. We need your name, email address, and zip code to notify you. Only one entry per visit.”

Once per month a name is drawn and the winner notified. The remainder of the entries is sent an email that reads, “I am sorry you didn’t win our monthly drawing for the $25 gift certificate. However, bring this email back to us and we will give you % off your next meal. The subject of the email is “The Drawing for a Gift Certificate at “(Name of Restaurant)”.  

The entry form would be titled “Free Drawing Entry” and it would only ask for name, email, and zip code. The zip code would tell us where the clients come from. It would also say at the bottom of the entry form, “We promise not to rent, sell, or share your information with anyone. From time to time we may email you coupons or other offers that will save you money."
You would put the rest of the names and email addresses into an Excel spreadsheet. The list would then be uploaded into an email marketing program like,, etc. The advantage of these programs is you can set up the template and reuse it every month. It would cost about $30 per month for this program plus the cost of maintaining the list of email addresses. 
Every month starts a new contest. You would have posted nearby a list of each months winner using just their first name and last name initial (like Ray M) to protect their identity. See me for details on how this program may help your business.

© William B. Cummings, 2018
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