CWC 2019 is coming, and you won’t want to miss out on the action. Plan your menus, prepare your space, have a strategy for offers and social media, then let everyone know they’re invited to the party (and make it worth their while they came).
Chefs, you know your clientele best, so take a look at these ideas and pick and choose what’s right for your customers, your locale and your restaurant…
1. Tell everyone you are screening the CWC and offer great deals for early bookings – shout it out on your social media and advertise the facts in advance so that groups can book tables.
a. Individual: offer the first 10 people through your door a 10% discount.
b. Impulse drop-ins: lure passers-by off the street with an AMAZING discount on something really popular: e.g. a set price for unlimited appetisers (which will fuel beverage purchases).
c. Groups: promise discounts for large groups (e.g. a 10% discount for groups of 10+) on social media and encourage shares/retweets to share the love.
3. Decorate your restaurant with cricket memorabilia and team colours – but don’t forget to keep the lighting and décor Instagram-friendly. Perhaps even factor in some perfect spots for posing, and add cricket-themed props! Advertise your handles and unique hashtags on your menus so you can keep track of positive coverage.
4. Offer free or inexpensive snacks (such as salty peanuts or savoury popcorn) – you know that a few of those will inevitably lead to a round of drinks and will probably stimulate appetites, too.
5. Play with flash sales and limited time offers on your social media (but don’t overpromote or people switch off – two or three times is enough).
6. Offer loyalty cards: every time customers spend over a certain amount they earn a stamp. Earn ten stamps and they get a free meal.
7. Start a fantasy cricket league with cash prizes or restaurant vouchers. This is a really fun way to keep your customers loyal.
8. How about a cricket selfie competition? This can start on social media by getting people to post their pics (dressed in cricket whites or as their favourite cricketers) but then you can start building a ‘selfie wall’ in the restaurant and customers can vote for their favourites – the winner wins a prize at the end of the tournament. Pro-tip: current fan favourites include: Shaheen Afridi, Babar Azam, and Hasan Ali.
9. Speaking of competitions, who doesn’t love to win at board games? Give your customers that extra incentive to choose your restaurant by hosting game nights, where casual cricket viewers can follow the match, and play a quick game of ludo or sequence at the same time!
10. Don’t lose out during downtime – when there’s a quiet patch or players break for lunch, keep customers entertained with quizzes, bingo and trivia for instant prizes.
11. Run a caption competition on social media – use a funny photo-still from one of the matches. Wittiest caption wins a prize.
12. Lucky bowl – put a fishbowl on the counter for business cards, or provide cards for customers to write down their details for the chance to enter a free prize draw. Remember to ask if they mind you emailing them special offers.
13. Give away FREE STUFF! Everyone loves free stuff. Merchandise – caps, t-shirts, pens and keytags with your restaurant name all over – but also free Wi-Fi and smartphone charging (some customers are going to watch the whole game so they’ll want to know they can stay connected).
14. Theme your food – offer 10 different burgers to represent the 10 teams, and encourage people to ‘collect’ all the flavours. For example, New Zealand could have beetroot in theirs, the English one might feature Cheddar cheese, while the Afghan burger could be topped with yogurt and pomegranate seeds. Set a burger challenge – give customers a stamp card; if they manage to try all 10 they win a meal voucher; if they eat five they get a free dish.
15. Name your desserts, pizzas etc. after favourite cricket players, and try to capture their personalities in the flavours! Involve your customers (online or in the restaurant) by asking them to suggest flavours, too – the winner gets their dish featured on the menu for the semi-final and final.
16. Can you think of a suitable eating challenge for your customers? For example, who can eat the hottest chilli, the driest crackers without drinking, the biggest quantity of mini-burgers? Post the video (with permission from contenders) on your social media and hope to go viral....
17. If any items on your menu aren’t selling so well, bundle them together with a more popular item and offer them at a discount.
18. Invite a celebrity or influencer to make a guest appearance at your place: a singer, a DJ, a sports writer, a cricket hero – get them to sing, DJ, sign books, pose for photos, whatever’s appropriate. You’ll soon create a buzz.
19. Engage with your customers on social media – post pictures of your best dishes, ask for feedback – such as votes on which flavour ideas they prefer. Ask them which way they think the game will go – if one team wins you can offer a discount on one dish, if the other… you get the picture. Have fun with it and people will keep tuning in and coming back for more.