Catering To Families
Currently, curbside pick-up accounts for ten percent of the average chain's sales. Never would I have imagined that someone would want to pop forty dollars for dinner for two from Outback.
Most restaurants have a menu that is take-out friendly regardless of their price point. Just like catering has become a profitable and important niche, there is another restaurant profit niche the fast-feeders and bbq restaurants are capitalizing on. I call it the "Family Meal Deal".
Regardless of the name, duel income families with children have a need at least two to three times a week for take-out. I call it the Soccer Mom Syndrome. Between work, getting little Susie to ballet and Johnnie to basketball, there's very little time to cook.
The Family Meal Deal is the working couple's version of a drop-off or pick-up catered event. It all starts with a list of your most popular entrees, sides and bread. It's all packaged in large containers so the labor is far less than making individual to go boxes. Just picture dad walking in with a Family Meal Deal from your restaurant. He plops it on the table and there's a big container of rotisserie chicken cut in pieces, a large container of mashed potatoes and a large container of mac and cheese with four of your famous cornbread muffins.
The Family Meal Deal works with any concept: Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Pizza, BBQ, etc. You are passing on the savings to the consumer for their commitment to four to go meals and your lower cost of labor and overhead. You are selling convenience.
Now how do you find these soccer mom families? Start with a good mailing list broker. If you can describe the demographic, they can more often than not find you a list. I would be looking for families within two to three miles of your restaurant with kids in the three to twelve year old range. Create a sales letter that describes what your Family Meal Deals can do to simplify their life and include a strong offer. Then make sure and "wow" them to turn them into Family Meal Deal regulars.
Michael Attias, the country's foremost expert on high return, low cost direct marketing strategies for restaurants, speaks from experience in the trenches. He operated a close to $3,000,000 a year restaurant in Nashville, TN that he used as his marketing "laboratory". He now helps restaurant owners increase their sales by adding or expanding a catering profit center through his company The Results Group. You can download his FREE Report: Tapping Into Your Hidden Catering Profit$ and subscribe to his free e-zine: The Restaurant Marketing Minute at www.ezRestaurantMarketing.com.