by Paula on December 7, 2010

At the weekend we had Sunday lunch in a local pub/restaurant and I noticed cards on the table asking for our name and address in order that we would be sent details of future special offers. I wonder how many people actually hand over their details? We didn’t.

We are however a nation who love a bargain and discount code websites are thriving. Companies like Groupon are showing huge growth figures, and I always Google “Voucher Codes” before purchasing anything online just in case I can find a deal.

I thought about whether a different approach by the restaurant might have worked. Personally I would have gone for an approach of a card stating a Twitter account or a Facebook Page and promising those who ‘follow’ or ‘like’ access to exclusive deals or offers. Do you know what, I would have taken a card, gone home and signed up. Is that just me?

This article from Information Week states that 60% of consumers follow at least one brand on Facebook, Twitter or another social network with a quarter seeking discounts.  So there has to be something in that. Consumers love a bargain and a discount, of that there’s no doubt, so rather than taking personal details off them, that make them feel at risk of being bombarded with sales material, take a new approach. Put the onus on them to join you and they can then do so without giving too much away, but will be right there, primed to hear your messages and your offers. If you then make sure that your messages are of value then you’ll keep their attention and probably gain that of their friends too.

If you are a pub/restaurant, are you ready to drop the old and consider a new approach? As a diner what are your views? Would you be more likely to take that card and follow them, or hand over your name and address? I’d be interested in your views.

{ 1 comment }

Steve Wilson December 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm

As both a pub customer and a pub owner I’ve always wrestled with why pubs seem to be so different to any other business when it comes to things like this and the best I can come up with is because a pub visit is (usually) a spur-of-the-moment thing and it’s also about the whole experience rather than any particular, tactile product, so people don’t relate to it in the same way they would any other purchase; even something apparently similar such as a restaurant visit? For instance, I used to use the same comment cards as a local restaurant; they would receive at least a dozen completed cards every day and we’d receive very few. Is it because people conciously book the restaurant and therefore see the meal as the product, whereas in the pub it’s a different ‘feeling’? I don’t know!

Or maybe it’s simply the obvious fact that for the customer to get any benefit of an offer they have to physically re-visit the business? I can’t send them a ‘great night out’ over the internet for example!

I’ve now got re-designed comment cards which are much more personal and a little bit cheeky, so they fit better with the pub image. We get a lot more of these back so, in that respect, they’re working very well but, do you know what, we get lots of comments (mostly positive, thankfully :o) but not many people will leave their personal details? This leaves me with a quandary about how best to build a database of customers? Or should I just be happy with communicating to my customers in some other way (such as Facebook)?

Regarding your specific question Paula, I’d be much more inclined to fill out the card there & then, I can’t see me ever takaing away a prompt card and then performing an action online later because of it? But is that just because I’ve conditioned myself due to my own needs as a pub owner?! It’s a tricky one, if you ever find the Holy Grail please let me know :o)

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