Dan Naden

What One Restaurant Did to Guarantee Repeat Business

A typical day becomes extraordinary when a SURPRISE appears.

For restaurants, surprises are repeat business. If you can get someone to return to your location, you’re well on your way to survival ability. Restaurants might bring in a person one time via a Groupon, advertisement, word of mouth, yet can they ‘wow’ you enough to bring you back for a 2nd visit?

The stats of restaurant flops are astounding:

Will a restaurant 'wow' you enough to bring you back?

About one in four restaurants close or change ownership within their first year of business. Over three years, that number rises to three in five.

Personally, I’ll try most restaurants once. A friend may say: “Hey, you must try that new Mexican restaurant that just opened up down the street.”

If I don’t get a personal recommendation, I’ll sometimes succumb to a 2 for 1 Groupon offer at a steakhouse.

A warning for all restaurant owners: If something about the experience doesn’t dazzle, I won’t return – my money and time are too valuable to waste on the mediocre.

My family recently visited a breakfast place in San Antonio named, the Egg and I.

Like most new places we frequent, we were referred by a friend. The noise of radio, TV, billboards, newspaper, Web, F’book, Twitter becomes just a little noisy to remember anything.  The power of word of mouth marketing can’t be contained.

We stumbled into the Egg and I at a slow pace. The previous day’s excitement at the super-fun Sea World amusement park had us moving at a whisper.

The food: stupendous.

The service: timely.

The finish: something to remember.

We received the check from our server and then she handed us a red envelope.

Who doesn’t like receiving things in a red envelope?

I proceeded to start to tear open the envelope when our waitress said:

“Sir, please don’t open the envelope now. When you return to visit us here at The Egg and I, please hand the red envelope to your waitress and she’ll open it for you at your table. It’s a gift for you for returning to visit us here at the Egg and I. We thank you for your business.”

So what’s in the envelope? It’s pure marketing genius.

“Do you have what it takes to win?”

Free gift inside

Winning is all about discipline; do you have what it takes?
Can you contain yourself? Big time prizes are calling your name if you can wait to open this envelope.

I remember ticking the days off a calendar until Christmas morning. Now, years later, I experience a similar tension as I count the days until my next visit to The Egg and I. I can hear the sound of the envelope being torn open now. The waiting game until the prize is revealed.

Think deeply about what surprises you can bring to your business. It’s a no-brainer that you must deliver a spectacular experience, yet strive to create an event that your customers will remember: an event that will keep them scurrying back for more.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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