Developing VIP Clubs that Increase Business

“Before you begin marketing through a VIP Club, you need

to take a step back and take a gander at your restaurant. Make sure

that you are ready for increased business. Don’t attempt to

market your restaurant unless you have above average food

and service. Great marketing can actually put a restaurant

that provides poor food and service out of business faster

because more people will have a poor dining experience,

and the negative word-of-mouth will cause them to fail

faster than if they do not market at all,” says Brent Davis,

Vip service logo Royalty Free Vector Image - VectorStock

Director of Coaching Services for

RestaurantMarketingGroup.org (RMG) a company

that specializes in helping restaurants to assemble sound,

trackable marketing systems through its easy-to-use

software, “How-To” marketing manuals and personalized

coaching.

Gathering the Data:

Once you have taken an internal inventory and feel better

about the food and service that you give, it’s time to

start using and building your database of existing

customers. Remember that in most restaurants 30 percent

of the customers are bringing VIP Service in 70 percent of the business.

For the sake of our discussion, let’s say that Joe’s Family

Diner has 10,000 customers a month. That’s 322 customers

each day. Seventy percent of the diner’s monthly customers

would be 7,000. In case the restaurant’s VIP Club marketing

creates only one more visit each year per customer at

an average check of $25, the volume will increase by

$175,000 each year or $14,538 a month and that’s with only

one extra visit for every existing customer each year. You can see

why it’s important to pursue additional customer visits.

“Don’t forget that your existing customers are your

neighbors. A VIP Club enables you to market within your

neighborhood to existing customers. It’s permission based

and therefore considerably more effective than if you did a

blanket coupon offer to all of your neighbors. These are

folks who know and frequent your restaurant; they took the

time to round out a VIP card and have shared personal

information with you,” says Davis.

“Celebrity Clubs are a great way to fabricate customer loyalty. Always

give a thank you reward bonus for joining the club. We

recommend that the offers go out by email or regular mail

within 72 hours after signing up. The offer should be

without any strings attached. I like to suggest that the offer

be for a dollar amount. A flat $15.00 or $10.00 amount

could be enough depending on your guest check average.

You could give a FREE, dinner with a $10 or $15 limit. Give

them an offer they can use on anything they want. The

offer is now valuable and they feel compelled to use it,”

says Teresa Horn, RMG Marketing Program Development

Specialist.

To enjoy the greatest return on your VIP Club enrollment

campaign, you should train your employees so that they

understand everything about the VIP Club. Have a contest

and offer prizes to the employees who sign up the most

customers. Place VIP Club displays and sign-up cards in very

high-traffic, highly visible areas. Use pre-printed “Post-It”

pad messages and put them on your menus so that your

customers and employees will be reminded to round them out.

Always emphasize the benefits of VIP Club membership.

Enter the names and additional information into the

computer software program on a daily basis, using a part

time worker.