Better Lighting – More Business For Your QSR

A few weeks ago I was pondering why a cafe on a busy city street, in an area that is bustling with nightlife, was dead at night. I mean dead, no business to speak of despite being open until 11:00 PM. I walked across the street from the site and waited and watched. There were lots of people strolling past after having had dinner or heading to the local night spots. None of them so much as glanced into the cafe/coffee house. Then it hit me…the outside lights were the same wattage as the shops on either side – which were closed! Additionally, the lights inside were also too dim to make people realize we were open! Bingo…we installed brighter down lights outside the store and brighter lights in the window and voila…a 15% increase in night time sales the first week! What a simple fix.

If you have a location in a busy area that is surrounded by businesses which close before you do – try it! You may be surprised at the increased traffic you will generate.

R Stevens

Fast Food and QSR Same-Store Sales

With Quarter 4 2009 well over and done with,  most of the large Franchisors have released same store sales figures for last year. Mostly what everyone expected with McDonalds and Yum! Brands being held up by China and the Asia Pacific region and the US still in the grip of the global financial crisis.

Well it is all self explanatory so have a look and let us know if you are bucking the trend.

Same Store Sales Trends Fast Food and QSR

Thanks to NRN for the informative report!

R. Stevens

Local Store Marketing Part 1

Call it local store marketing (LSM), area marketing or just building your business, what you do within your area, shopping centre or community to drive sales and grow customers  is vital to the long term success of your business.

If you are part of a large franchise organization they may call it “below the line marketing.”  That’s because you are normally the one paying for it and it is separate from any national or state marketing initiatives. Some franchisors use part of the franchise fees to pay for LSM, even going as far as giving you an LSM package or guidelines and some ideas of what has worked in the past. Good for them but don’t kid yourself, you are still paying for it and if it is part of your franchise fees I doubt you will see much of it if you don’t use it.

For the small business owner who is not a part of a large franchise organization it is even more important to plan and execute your own LSM. In fact it will be the same as any franchise business – setting budgets, marketing calendars and promotions.

So what are the main differences between national and state marketing and local store marketing?

Just quickly, any national or state promotion run by your franchisor is normally mandatory and may or may not be targeted to your customer demographics, but takes a wider view and should target the average customer that your concept appeals to. The up side to these types of promotions are that they normally use media be it TV, radio, print or signage that you as an individual business owner may not be able to afford but is funded by the marketing component of your franchise fees and is paid for by all within the franchise.

LSM targets the demographics in the area that you draw your guests from and you as the local business owner know more about your customers than any large franchise organization ever can. It is usually more cost effective and the returns can be greater if the LSM is thought out and implemented well. Some of the best LSM can cost nothing more than the discount given provided that it is presented well and gives more value for money than your customers expect. LSM also has the fantastic ability to be stopped if you find it is not working and replaced by something else or even continued past its planned end date if working well. Something that a national promotion with expensive media buys cannot do. Did I say “ Just Quickly” sorry about that, I get a bit long winded sometimes….

So what are the best types of LSM?

That will depend on the type of concept and how much you are willing to allocate to your LSM budget.

It could be as simple as the chalkboard you see outside of many cafes and small restaurants, local loyalty programs or targeting local businesses with permanent discounts or as complicated as setting monthly budgets with a year long LSM plan, setting monthly promotions, daily specials and doing the research to understand your local demographics. It does not stop there. If you are serious about driving your sales you will also do the work after each LSM activity to gauge the effectiveness and cost of each activity. Make adjustments and add new ideas for the next time.

OK, that’s enough from me. More on LSM at a later time and with some ideas on what to do and when. In the meantime if anyone has any great ideas or LSM that you know works for your concept or believe may work generally for food concepts, please respond and share your ideas and best practise.