Last month, I guest-cheffed at EVOO Restaurant in Cambridge to promote my new cookbook. From a simple financial perspective, this may have seemed foolish. EVOO didn't pay me, and though I earned royalties from that evening's book sales, it amounted to about $3/hour.EVOO had to hire extra staff for the evening, and they probably ran a higher than normal food cost, too.
But we both benefitted from the special evening:
- All my clients and friends learned about EVOO, with my endorsement of their quality.
- Of the 130 covers of the evening, at least 40% came were first-time diners, coming in explicitly for the guest-chef appearance. These guests had a chance to sample EVOO's fine service and cuisine, and are more likely to become repeat customers in the future.
- Likewise, EVOO's entire client base (both from the mailing list and from dining in the restaurant) learned about my new cookbook.
- And the customers who came into EVOO unaware of the special event were able to sample dishes from the cookbook.
- Finally, we had an opportunity to send a press release, and the event was mentioned in both the Boston Globe and Stuff Magazine. This exposure benefitted both of us in building awareness of our respective brands.
Building partnerships with similar, but non-competing businesses can be a great way to promote your business to an expanded client-base. Viewed as a marketing effort instead of a revenue stream, these promotions make business and financial sense.
Here are some examples:
- Not all farmers can grow the diversity of crops for their region. Partner with a farmer to sell their complimentary products at your farm-stand and vice versa. Be sure that your customers know you support each other.
- Hang artwork of local artists on your wall. This can be an economical way to decorate your space while creating new opportunities to promote your restaurant. Additionally, opening parties that showcase the artist's work will bring in new customers.
- Host special events with local organizations. This could be a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs, or a book-signing for an author. Darryl's Corner Bar + Kitchen closes the regular dining room every Monday for these types of events.
- Showcase the source of your ingredients on the label. If, for example, you make your famous Bolognese sauce with meat from Pete and Jen's Backyard Birds, mark that on your label. Pete and Jen may consider giving you a discount for the promotion. And if not, they may be willing to promote your product on their website.
Cross-promotion can be a low-cost, win-win marketing tool. For assistance in creating these promotions, call or email.