As summer draws to a close for another year, back-to-school season is approaching rapidly. Are you ready for the boom in business as students return for the fall semester? Students of all ages will be headed back to class again. So, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the increase in university students and busy families looking for a delicious meal for takeout or dine-in. Here are some tips for altering your marketing approach to reach these potential customers and boosting your back to school business.
Simplify Ordering and Create Specials
The first two weeks of the new school year are hectic for students, parents and instructors. Nobody is particularly enthusiastic about preparing a healthy nutritious meal or eating at the cafeteria after a long day of new classes, new teachers and new routines. Make life easier for everyone by putting together a menu of specials that will appeal to busy families and college students alike.
Post your back-to-school specials prominently on your website, make sure your online ordering system promotes it directly via pop-up or top-of-the-fold placement and boost it on social media. College students love online ordering apps, so have one set up so they can tap, order, pay and pick up their food or have their meal delivered to their campus dorm or off-campus housing.
Offer Discounts for Students and Educators
Offering discounts for students, teachers or families is a guaranteed way to draw more business to your restaurant. Doing so will save you the effort of making up special menus and the increase in business will more than make up for the small percentage loss from the discount. Another discount that works extremely well is offering a “kids eat free” night for busy families looking to sit down to a hot, delicious meal together. Make it on a typically slow night for your establishment, as that will help keep your operation busy all week long.
Family/Student/Teacher Happy Hour
Happy hours do not need to involve drink specials (though that never hurts). Creating a student and family happy hour special is a great way to increase foot traffic for your restaurant. You can also offer your happy hour special online to boost your takeout and delivery sales. Set a time frame when your happy hour special is en effect. When considering the time frame for your happy hours, think about when people want to sit down for a meal and when you can handle a large influx of food orders.
Focus on High School and College Students
Hungry families aren’t the only people looking for a good inexpensive meal. High school and college students are always looking for easy snacks for after classes and meals to get them through their busy days and nights.
Focus on high school students by offering specials on days when the local school has major athletic events planned. Discounted appetizers, bottomless soft drinks and similar offers will draw in a crowd before and after a big high school event, particularly if you are located close to the stadium or campus.
College students, on the other hand, are all about inexpensive meals that don’t require a long walk or bumming a ride to the grocery store. Provide a small standard discount for anyone who presents a valid college ID. Another technique that works extremely well is to offer late-night study specials that can be ordered online.
Providing a discount on caffeinated beverages with an order or a free caffeinated beverage after 10:00 p.m. is a great way to boost end-of-day sales and inspire repeat business during midterm and finals season.
Don’t Forget About School Staff!
Teachers at every level work hard all year long, and extra-hard at the outset of the school year. Offer all educators and other school staff members with a school ID. You can also offer specials for school employees.
Offering online ordering is also a great way to reach teachers who have families, as they can punch in an order on a mobile app and pick it up on the way home. Teachers have a lot on their plate during the first few weeks of school and cooking dinner is probably the last item on the list. Making their lives easier with delicious meals ready for takeout or delivery benefits you and the entire community.
Give these specials a try in the upcoming weeks as the new school year begins for parents, students, and school staff alike. You will almost certainly see a major boost in business thanks to your focused marketing efforts. If you need help getting your online ordering system up and running before the back-to-school onslaught begins, contact Orders2me today.