How A Local Biz Grew Profit & Cut Cost in 1 Easy Step
Marketing and advertising.
Those can be some pretty big words. And for a small business still trying to get its feet under it while managing day-to-day operations, those words can be terrifying. But they don’t have to be. Just ask the local Spokane business, The Swinging Doors.
When they launched in May of 1981, Bob and Barb Materne did everything they could to drum up business. From paid advertisements in newspapers and the Yellow Pages to TV and radio commercials and beyond, they spent their hard-earned money on marketing their little restaurant. But the bills kept piling up, and the customers still weren’t coming. After many years of just scraping by, they knew something needed to change.
Enter the birthday deal.
The Swinging Doors actually came up with a pretty compelling deal: A free steak meal on your birthday! All you had to do was show up. It was an instant success. Within weeks, The Swinging Doors saw more traffic than they ever thought possible. People were coming in for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In fact, there was so much new business coming in that they had to rethink the way they were promoting their deal. They kept the free steak, but the limited the offer to dinner time only.
At first, they thought that narrowing the scope of the deal would have a negative impact on business, but it did just the opposite. Their loyal customer base only increased. Lisa, the daughter of the owners, said that the eight-year-old daughter of one of their regular customers has already planned her birthday dinner at the restaurant because they love the atmosphere so much.
Adding the birthday deal impacted the restaurant in more ways than one.
With the customer base increasing rapidly, the owners realized that they could significantly reduce their paid advertising media. That meant hundreds of dollars a month otherwise spent on paid advertising would stay in their pockets. Today, The Swinging Doors spends very little revenue on paid ads and relies almost entirely on word of mouth, social media, and a highly visible reader board in front of the restaurant to get the word out about their birthday deal.
Not only does this save them money in the long run, but it’s actually helping them increase their overall revenue! Think about this: When someone comes in to celebrate his birthday, how often does he come by himself? Not very often, right? Typically, a person will bring some friends with him to celebrate, which means more people buying food. A Birthday Steak may cost the restaurant around $8 or $9, but they bring in so much more than that because of the friends!
Unlike other incentives that may only increase customers on the weekends, this deal was different. Birthdays happen every day of the week! As is typical in the restaurant industry, Monday nights used to be the slowest night of the week at The Swinging Doors. In fact, many restaurants aren’t even open for business on Mondays. Now, thanks to this incredible deal, Monday is one of the biggest nights at the Swinging Doors. The restaurant went from barely any customers to lines out the door on any given weeknight.
If you’re a small business in need of a boost, take a page out of The Swinging Doors’ book. Consider starting up your own birthday deal. It’s simple, easy, and, with the launch of our new Free Birthday Fun app, it’s free to spread the word! All you have to do is make sure our content developers know about your deal. We’ll put it up on the app for you. After that, just sit back and welcome your growing birthday crowd.