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Think Big, Dine Small! Small Business Saturday is a cafe or restaurant’s day to shine.

Friday, November 22, 2019

A survey found that 94% of Small Business Saturday shoppers said the holiday made them “feel good.” Eating out at a local independent restaurant, then, will feel good in more than one way.

A Small Business Saturday restaurant marketing push might not feel as crucial to kick off this holiday run as it does for a boutique clothier or niche-market shop, but it is vital the entire commercial district (or town or city) suit up FTW (for the win)!

Kinetic Business by Windstream supports small businesses and wants to facilitate more than a few wins this holiday and every day for not only retail businesses, but also our local restaurateurs.

Here’s a few Small Business Saturday tips for restaurants, cafes and dessert stops.

Your internet

Here are some questions to ask about your back-office bandwidth and your guest WiFi:

  • How much speed/bandwidth do you currently have? Do you experience delays in order or payment processing?
  • Do you offer guest WiFi? If not, you should. Here’s why competitive merchants are offering guest Wi-Fi. But guest WiFi must enhance the dining experience, not derail it. Make sure you have enough bandwidth allocated to your guest network to ensure diners can browse and post with ease.
  • Do you have a backup? Guests may not head for the doors if they can’t hit up your WiFi, but they will if your point-of-sale connection fails. Kinetic Business by Windstream’s Always-On Wireless Internet Backup solution delivers a 99.999% uptime guarantee: if the terrestrial broadband connection is disrupted for whatever reason, you immediately fall over to a 4G connection and internet stays up, and profits roll in without interruption.

Your social media presence

Local eateries have character. They have Instagram potential. They can scale up on social media quickly. Those places with strong followings should consider a promotion or even a multifaceted Small Business Saturday hospitality marketing plan!

Your promotions

There are a myriad novel Small Business Saturday restaurant marketing promotions out there. Some of the most successful will invite patrons into the inner workings of the store. In the case of a restaurant or eatery, that might be a cooking demonstration, especially one that results in a lagniappe. Still, simpler promotions will also appeal to the hungry droves of holiday shoppers. Aside from your tantalizing menu, make sure to be loud in promoting your Small Business Saturday “extra.” Maybe it’s a special menu feature, a percentage discount for patronizing your local small business, or a kids-eat-free special – whatever you choose, push it on social media and make sure it’s visible from your storefront.

Did you know that American Express, creator of Small Business Saturday a decade ago, has an online portal for printing out your promotions for display around your restaurant or eatery? Try it this year, and tweet the results to @AmexBusiness, and don’t forget to hashtag it #ShopSmall, #SmallBizSat and — especially — any hashtags specific to your district or city.

Your lagniappe

In the overstuffed New Orleans food scene, a “lagniappe” is a little treat meant to delight a customer without overtaxing the staff or resources. It comes from a Spanish Creole word meaning gift or free extra.

As part of your Small Business Saturday restaurant marketing, ask, what’s your lagniappe? It may be an actual food sample that you give to a passersby to draw them in or a coupon for a neighboring retail business delivered with their dining bill (more about cross-promotions below under Community).

Your staff

More so than retail spots, the tone and “feel” of a restaurant is often set by your people, especially waitstaff and front-of-house. Is there a way that you can raise their enthusiasm without raising their dread of a day-long rush?

  • A friendly competition
  • Special-occasion t-shirts
  • A one-time bonus

Your community

Unlike a bike shop or antique store, many of your patrons may be stopping in for a bite out of convenience or novelty — they’ve not visited before — and not because of a unique item or service.

Factor this into your Small Business Saturday hospitality marketing effort. This day, as much as any other, is optimal for synergies with shopping district partners. 

Consider becoming an American Express Neighborhood Champion or partnering with a local Neighborhood Champion to help drive community activities or events that encourage people to shop small and have fun doing it.

Check into creating beneficial cross-promotional efforts. Reach out to merchants around the eatery and ask if they’d like to partner on a promotion. They could promote your restaurant via a sign at the register or a free appetizer coupon handed out with every receipt. And you can return the favor by delivering a promotional message or coupon for them with every dining bill dropped at a table. Another great idea is to share discounts with fellow merchants and their staff. By 8 o’clock, store operators and sales associates are hungry!

Remember, a great number of patrons shop small this day because it “feels good.” Don’t hide your Small Business Saturday restaurant marketing under a bushel.

Kinetic Business by Windstream is a proud member of our local community. Visit kineticbusiness.com if you are in need of more internet bandwidth or an updated voice solution that extends outside your store! Happy holidays from your local communications partner.