Appell Pie June 2004/September 2021
Amazing look back to the future
Sometimes I like to go back and read my columns from the early 2000’s to see what has changed in the restaurant/world. This column is almost comical in some spots but still relevant in others. I hope you enjoy it.
Many months ago I wrote about how the high price of gasoline would effect business. Now as we approach a National average of over $2.00 per gallon we must prepare for a much different business environment.
The cost of gasoline is spiraling upward and the guesses are that they won’t stop until they reach $3.00 a gallon sometime during the late summer. ( We now average over $3.00) One of my readers asked me if I was obsessed with terrorism based on some of my previous columns. The answer is no, but I am concerned. These prices represent economic terrorism, which eventually will turn our economy further downward. For an economy based on mobility via motor transport these high prices will bring us to a sudden halt.
What can we do about the high price? Probably nothing. Writing to your Senator or Congressman will do little but waste your ink. They are helpless too. Writing to the car manufactures may work if you said you would refuse to buy a new car until they raised the fuel economy to 60 miles per gallon.
Who am I kidding? You don’t have to write to them. You won’t be able to afford a new car if these prices continue upward.
What can we really do about it? We MUST re-adjust our thinking and our lifestyles. As a restaurant owner or manager you realize that your core customers must come from the neighborhood in which your store is located. Much of your customer base will decide not to drive to you from across town as they used to do. You have to start to think outside the box now.
Local advertising directed to your core neighborhood is essential. Mailings and ads in local newspapers with coupons are one way to build your base now. Rewards programs for customer loyalty is a great way to keep the locals coming in. You may even consider altering your menu choices to appeal to a larger audience. Believe it or not delivery service can be done on bicycle or mopeds. In Europe and Asia motor scooters and bicycles are the main means of transportation in some cities.
If you do 200 dinners on a regular Saturday night and you have a full liquor bar, but your rush is over at nine o’clock, try booking a local jazz band or an oldies group to perform and extend your selling hours. Advertise the fact that you have the entertainment. E-mail is a great way to reach thousands of people with very little expense. Ask every customer you have now to fill out a form with their e mail address and birthday or their favorite dish on the menu. Give them a soft drink for doing so. Once you have the address you can contact them with your message. Don’t over-do it. Once a week or twice a month is fine. The bottom line is that if you do something now, when gas reaches $3.00 a gallon and the economy comes to a grinding halt you at least will have a fighting chance to keep your customers and gain a lot of new ones and therefore survive this challenging economic period.
Isn’t it amazing how things change but they stay the same too. The conditions are the same but just the numbers are different. To read more Blog posts go to www.trnusa.com/blog