Marketing Q & A
Marketing Q&A
By Al Jabaly

Al Jabaly is a certified marketing and business consultant with over 20 years of small business experience. Email your questions to All questions will be answered via e-mail. Some of the most interesting questions will be posted in this weekly column. For further information, Al can be reached at 1-888-899-3190

“Al, How Do I Increase Breakfast and Lunch Business at My Restaurant”

To answer the question, I will pretend that it is my restaurant. Whether it is a new or existing business; or if it is expanding into breakfast and lunch; or just seeking increase traffic during these periods, I will take the same five steps.

Step #1: “My Market Area.” I will begin by drawing a circle on a map, with a three- or four-mile radius around my location. Next, I will drive around that area to get familiar with it. I will design and print at least 500 flyers with two coupons on each, one offering “50% off breakfast” and the other, “50% off lunch.” They should have an expiration date noted, and it should be no more than 15 days away. The purpose is to let people know there is a new choice when they eat nearby and induce them, with the two 50% off coupons, to try my place for breakfast and lunch, NOW!

Step #2: “Put A Face To The Name Of My Restaurant.” I will personally visit every business within my market area, introduce myself, ask how many employees work there and leave an equal number of flyers. I will ask the name of the receptionist and write, on the LUNCH coupon on one flyer, “FREE for Mary at A. R. Realty.” I will sign it and give it to her and tell her it is to thank her for giving the flyers to her colleagues. I will need at least one ally in each business and a FREE one-time lunch will gain me that first one! I will collect the following information on each business that I visit: name, address, phone, the number of employees, and receptionist’s name. I will enter the information on my data base or on cards.

Step #3: “Be Consistent and Offer A Value.” I will design and mail a weekly lunch menu and offer daily lunch specials that do not exceed $5-6 each. (or the appropriate price point for the area and type of restaurant). Every Friday, I will print the menu on white 8.5” x 11” card stock paper and have photocopies made. I will print labels, one per business, and address each with the name of my ally at that business, (“Attention Mary”). On the menu, I will mention my free delivery (with a $10 minimum), my catering service, my “10th lunch free card” and finally the free birthday lunches. I will mail a flyer to each of the businesses in the data base I built in Step #2.

Step #4: “Build a Base of Regulars and Their Friends.” The reason for the “free birthday lunches” is to increase the number of my “allies” in each business. I will offer FREE BIRTHDAY LUNCHES to those employees of those businesses on their birthday. They just need to mention the business name, prove birth date and fill out a card with their name, address and birthday – so I can mail them a free birthday lunch card next year! People appreciate, and remember, when you give them something of value for free!

Step #5: “Get Them Coming In More Often.” My next goal is to get new neighborhood clients and have them eat at least twice a week at my restaurant. I will design a MONTHLY FREE LUNCH CARD that offers a free 10th lunch with every nine ordered. The objective here is to make every dine-in or delivery client eat at least 9 times during a given period of time (for example, I suggest one month). To benefit from the card, the nine meals must be completed within the timeframe. I will make a policy that the staff will hand a card to each diner who comes in, mark off the first lunch and explain the program to them.
In short, I will systematically target my market area, then, I will zoom like a laser on those businesses in that three- to five-mile “circle of profit.” I will try to make them my restaurant’s “bread & butter.” Everyone else who dines with us will be the gravy!