Utilize your space to cater to customers of all types
Restaurants are no longer confined to the four walls of their dining rooms. Instead, they are utilizing every inch of their space to offer new and engaging experiences. Do you have an open kitchen? Consider setting up chairs at the counter to create an intimate chef’s counter. Showcase your talented bar staff by offering a series of cocktail classes. Or, enhance your outdoor area with greenery, umbrellas, and string lights, and host special events designed for celebrating under the sun or moon. Bottom line, there are so many ways to get creative and use your space to cater to a wide range of preferences beyond the traditional setting.
A lot of our clientele comes from Toronto which is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Ontario. And the idea is how do we [cater] to them [beyond] the dining experience? We offer garden tours and hour-long wine tastings and in the cellar through Tock. We want to be more than just a dinner stop for our guests.”—Milton Mednick
Use guest data to target the right audience for your next event
Restaurants utilize guest data to market to select segments of their guest database based on their preferences and dining habits. By targeting guests that you know will enjoy the experience, it helps to ensure a better turnout. Planning a beer dinner? Dive into your guest tags and notes to identify guests who have a preference for beer, then tailor your marketing accordingly. By leveraging guest data, you can create events that are designed to sell out.
I think we have exhausted every single version of Tock’s tagging feature, ranging from ‘Burgundy lover’ to ‘cocktail lover’ to ‘whiskey enthusiast’. By identifying guests through those tags, we are able to determine exactly who we will market the event to.—Andrew Elder
Revamp underperforming events by adjusting dates, pricing, and marketing strategies
Was your last event unsuccessful? Sometimes an event may not reach its full potential due to timing, cost, or lack of promotional efforts. By reevaluating and fine-tuning these elements, you can breathe new life into your offerings. Experiment with different dates and explore pricing options that strike the right balance. Additionally, think of adding a personal touch to your marketing to reach potential attendees.
You don’t want to always just be on social [saying], ‘Seats open, seats open.’ One thing that’s really nice [about] Tock is the waitlist. We take a hustler approach and go through the waitlist and start making phone calls as space opens up.—Milton Mednick
Keep guests up to date with a consistent marketing strategy
Looking to keep your guests informed about the latest happenings? Continue the conversation via social media and email marketing. Encourage diners to sign up for your newsletter for updates and create a regular posting schedule on social media to engage with both old and new guests.
Through Tock’s database, you can download anyone that’s opted into email marketing. That’s something we leverage to keep our guests updated. If there are new menu items [or] a new event that’s going on, we send out email blasts to anyone that has opted in.—Jon Rosenberg
Tailor your marketing depending on your business
Different businesses call for different strategies. Customize your marketing plan to suit the unique needs of your restaurant. Feel free to test out what works best for your business and what excites your audience, while staying true to your brand.
Our businesses are a bit different. For the winery, we are a boutique producer, max 10,000 cases a year. Less is more. We’re never trying to sell via our newsletter—it’s maybe four to five times a year—and we are always trying to add value, educate, and share something new. The restaurant, which is a 12-month-a-year business, is more frequent.—Milton Mednick
Lean on the expertise of your team for ideas and execution
Whether it’s your skilled bar staff or your knowledgeable sommelier, you have assembled a team of experts, so make sure to tap them for ideas and execution of your next event. By leaning on their one-on-one relationships with your guests, you can create offerings that resonate, while also utilizing your team’s strengths.
It’s definitely a team effort for us. Our bar team, they are always going to take the lead on creating our bar- and cocktail-focused events. Our sommelier has connections with our distributors and the wine community in Charlotte to help curate those events. They have more knowledge than I do, they’re creative, and they are in front of the guests more often than I am. So if I listen to our team and build around their strengths, we are always going to have more success.—Jon Rosenberg
Leverage guest feedback to guide your future offerings
Let guest feedback guide and shape your offerings. Actively seek out feedback through various channels such as emails, surveys through Tock, or online reviews. By incorporating their responses into future event ideas, you can keep building on your successes and create better experiences for the future.
Tock offers an option where, after a guest books an experience, it sends an email to the guests so that they can provide feedback. It allows us to have that one-on-one connection and learn what guests enjoy and what is not of value [to them]. Internally, that’s going to direct what experiences we can offer new guests.—Jon Rosenberg
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