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How to save a restaurant?

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How to save a restaurant?

Post by Becky521 on Sat Jun 09, 2012 6:14 am

One of my friends is a server at the new sports bar and grill that just opened a branch location in my town. They have the MOST amazing fries. However, they do NOT have a face painter and are looking for a way to draw a crowd of families because that's what we have here in suburbia. Right now, the restaurant's numbers are NOT good. At their city location, they can't move the tables fast enough with all the "yuppies" nearby, so they are raking in the dough hand over fist. Here, most people go to restaurants with their kids and it's not really marketing to that crowd. Hardly anyone goes to upscale bars like this to just drink - they save their blue collar dough for the sawdust on the floor dives if they want to go out and drink themselves silly. If the local teams are winning, people will go to sports bars, but if they are losing (and they usually are losing) the sports bars stay empty. So, they are marketing to a crowd that doesn't exist here like it does downtown.

Enter moi. I want to get myself and my kids (mostly myself) decked out and tell them how offering a family night where they can advertise free face painting will show the community that they understand the demographic and help draw in the family crowds. It'll help the parents order another drink or 2 so the restaurant can make more money per patron. It might be a long shot because they don't even have a kids' menu let alone a family night, but I want to try to get in there! I know the manager's name (thanks to my friend) and I know the marketing angle I want to take, so I need the following:

1. Courage!!!!
2. Do I offer to paint for free meals with the option for cash tips from the patrons for a trial run knowing they are struggling to keep their doors open, or do I I try to get real money right off the get go?
3. Do I set up a time to meet with the head honcho, or just show up painted and hope she is there?
4. Did I mention courage? pale
5. Do I offer to provide a lawn sign to draw in the crowd or just leave the marketing to the restaurant? This is not a franchise. It's a privately owned restaurant that has a HUGE presence in downtown Philadelphia and has just started opening satellite locations.

This could be a HUGE deal for me. If family nights go well, I can market some of my more grown-up services for when they celebrate sporting events (in the odd situation that we are winning for a change!).

This is the first time I'm pitching to a restaurant with this enthusiasm. Usually I'm just eating, my dinner with my family and when the shift manager introduces themselves (they do that all the time to every patron in many restaurants around here - but not the one I want to paint at) I try to start the conversation and leave a business card. I've never really expected (or even wanted) them to call me back before now.



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Becky521

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by barbb919 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:16 pm

I paint at 2 restraunts..they pay me 45.00 for 1.5 hours..I am alowed to put out a tip jar and they feed my husband and my self..I work at them 3 day a week in the summer..during sept thru may i only work at one..the other is closed during the winter month.. i have gotten lots of business of these 2 restraunts..so I would say to go with a little less than your hourly rate and ask for food and to be able to put a tip jar out..\

I also just went with my photo book and talke to the business owners..one is Fazolis. its a francise..the other is individul owned 2 branches...
just go for it..maybe you could paint for a few weeks for free and put out the tip jar..but I would only offer that if they don't take the lower rate at 1st..it could be a great deal for both you and the restraunt...i stay busy during the week..now and can book my weekends according to if we are going out of town or not...i thinks its really good to have a gid during the week..
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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by skjfunny on Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:15 pm

Different strokes for different folks, if you mean they feed you by way of gift certificates you can use in the future that's one thing, but imo when skilled business people trade to be fed it can hurt the industry. That's why Walmart has vendors looking for $20. an hour painters, it isn't always about just getting something right then but in building the industry. It has much to do with how you approach them.
A trial run with a trade in gift certificates perhaps? But I'd never ask to be fed. Barb your work is good, I mean no offense to you but it has much to do with how it is handled and restaurant industry and employees know what goes on at other places.
Texas Roadhouse called me 3 years in a row, wanting me to do balloons for dinner. I asked the manager in truly a polite way, how many of the other staff worked for their dinner??? The 4th year they hired me and I've been there 5 years. Reduced rate for a consistent gig every Monday night, happy too...brings me plenty of birthday parties. However, my agreement calls for my name to be part of the advertisement, they have my name on their website and table tents promoting me. Cheapest account I have and I don't mind giving prices. $200 for 3 hours plus tips, which average $35 - $63 depending on season. I consider the advertisement as a subsidy all week people eating there see my name.
Approach as a business person if you want to run a business, not a Mom looking for handouts by tips only or food. DRESS the Part even if you are painted. Offer to advertise on you fb and other social media. Perhaps they will give you a free dessert ticket to give the birthday child at your parties which will bring the family in. This is a ploy used in marketing give to one and the whole family comes. Many restaurants do this as a reading program in schools and then the whole family eats at a place they would not normally go to because their child "won" a free meal.
Frankly, I wouldn't suggest it would get parents to order a drink or two more. Wish you luck it takes time to build a business, but when you look at all the fortune store fronts put out to go broke we are very fortunate in our field. sunny
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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by Becky521 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:02 pm

I meant gift certs, not feed me that night. I would want to be able to use the meals at my convenience (or give them out as gifts...). The last thing I want to do after painting for an evening is hang out and eat where I've painted (bday parties, festivals, etc I feel that way too).

I do like the cross-marketing suggestions. I wouldn't mention the extra drinks to the manager, that was just external processing on my part. But, if they stay longer, they will likely order more of something which means more money for the restaurant and better tips for the servers (hopefully).
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Becky521

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by Guest on Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:25 pm

If they are a sports bar they are licensed. Do licensed establishments allow minors in your area?

Here there are different types of licenses. Some allow minors but mostly those are restaurants with beer/wine licenses, or, they have to have the dining separate from the bar, etc.

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by barbb919 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:52 pm

skjfunny I agree with you I approached these places when I first started and they found it to be a great idea for the family. I have gotten many gigs off of both of these restraunts one was a family reunion and this will be the 4th summer i have painted for this family.

Becky521 I did not ask these people for food as they offered it as part of the payment so I would paint at a reduced rate..so I didn't mean for you to ask for food..I just didn't word it properly...sorry.

I do not eat while im there..we take the order to go..I never eat on the job...and while im working at the reduced rate the food was a part of the deal we made..they keep my flyers there all the time and have pictures on a bulliten board of me painting the kids on kids night. the one I paint at durin the summer and this is the 4th year.. i have pictures on their website.. so it has been 2 good constant gigs for me during the week..this is a small area and it has help get me out there..so with that being said what they pay me and the tips i make plue the food it comes up to what I would charge for 1.5 hours of work.and most of the time its comes out to more, and its very close to my house..


Last edited by barbb919 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:07 pm; edited 3 times in total
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barbb919

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by Becky521 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:57 pm

Shannon, they do have a liquor license, but they have a separate dining area from the bar. You can still order alcohol from your table, but if you look to be under 21 yrs, they will ask for your ID. It is pretty rare around here to have a restaurant of that size that does not serve alcohol.
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Becky521

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by Guest on Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:00 pm

Just checking! "My" club that I paint at often is a sports bar too... but I am there to paint staff and customers if I want, and no minors.

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by Becky521 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:06 pm

I never really thought about how many restaurants around here serve alcohol until you asked! I think that's kind of funny!
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Becky521

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by barbb919 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:08 pm

Becky521 i revised my post look 2 above this one thanks..
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barbb919

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by barbb919 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:12 pm

oh and skjfunny thanks for the post telling me my work is good.. the meals were a part of the deal they offered me for painting at a reduced rate. and the allow me to put out a tip jar also..it has worked very well here. Just wanted to let you guys know that I don't beg for food..lol...
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barbb919

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by Becky521 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:31 pm

Barb, you're fine! I was replying to SKJfunny who advised me against "working for food." I didn't think that's what you meant, but I wanted her to know it's not what I meant either! I had images of pour souls standing on corners with cardboard sandwich boards tied to their necks that read "will work for food." Thanking the dear Lord that my family is blessed with great comfort! I really want to do the restaurant for the marketing opportunity and if eventually it turns into a regular paid gig, that's even better! Thanks for clarifying though!
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Becky521

Number of posts : 438
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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by barbb919 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:20 pm

i just wanted you to know that i have much luck with the 2 restraunts that I do..and the one of have been painting at for the past 4 summers well it came at a time when I had gotten laid off from my job and this was when i was first starting out. it was their idea to offer me the meals for a discounted rate..as Im still with out a regular job the reastrauts have been a good base for the winter months as is in wisconsin things slow really down...i drr you live in the north also so you know about cold winters..lol
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barbb919

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Re: How to save a restaurant?

Post by Becky521 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:32 pm

Southeastern Pennsylvania winters don't hold a candle to Wisconsin winters! We actually have long stretches without snow!
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Becky521

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