Promotion is a mandatory priority for any restaurant that has its sights set on success. A well thought out advertising campaign, whether in print, online, through emails or direct mail is a sure bet to beat the competition in the current competitive dining market.
Often, a group will open clustered franchises in a city essentially competing with themselves. However, in order to make this work you need to have a promotional calendar and campaign that appeals to your audience.
Just to promote something, without a message, is a foolish waste of time and money. And, bad promotions often do more damage than doing nothing at all.
Nothing at JR’s seemed to change since I was there last over two years ago. Balloons still fluttered from one of the booths- a typical in house promotion- and the staff, dressed in spotless white uniforms with 50’s styled soda fountain paper hats still appeared pleasant. As always, the jukebox was blasting Martha and the Vandalas or some other sock hop song.
While sitting at the counter, Kranston and I realized, once our sandwiches were delivered that the crew behind the counter had vanished. Moments later they appeared behind us, in front of the window, lined up as though they were impersonating the Four Tops. Suddenly the music stopped, a new song began and the manager, two waiters, and a prep cook broke into a line dance that only Smokey Robinson could appreciate. For the next three minutes I thought I was at a very bad “dancing with the Stars” audition. The foursome looked ridiculous – side stepping, twirling and flailing their arms to the beat of the music- as though they were actually talented.
Once the music stopped and the restaurant staff returned to their posts, I asked if the choreography was just a once-in-a-while event or if it was scheduled.
According to the manager, it is a corporate requirement that needs to be performed every hour. He claimed that it is supposed to be good for business, which could be the case. Yet, it didn’t seem to do too much to entice sales, while making it impossible to pass through the entrance while the dance line was performing.
I will admit, I don’t know how much dance has to do with burgers. And, possibly there is some corporate choreographer at Johnny Rockets who sends out various steps that have to be performed at scheduled intervals.
The egg Salad Sidestep, the Burger with Fries Fox Trot, the With Cheese waltz could all be on the menu of entertaining line dances. Yet, in the real world of advertising and promotion, a message that offers value to your customer is worth more money and good will than watching the wait staff perform while food is waiting to be delivered.