Last month, Jeff and I went to Florida and ate at Seasons 52 for the first time. If you haven’t eaten there, I highly recommend it for the lesson in outstanding marketing.
Wedding marketing lessons from a restaurant chain?
YES! We’re such marketing geeks that we went back the very next night to re-examine exactly what they did and how they did it. (It didn’t hurt that the food was really good. And it gave Jeff an excuse to have more martinis.)
Here’s what you can learn from Seasons 52 and apply to your wedding business:
1) Maximize Sales at Every Opportunity.
We walked in and were greeted by the hostess who informed us that there would be a 45 minute wait. She took our name. Would we like to get a drink at the bar while our table is made ready?
Since we were in no rush, we agreed to sit at the bar. Jeff immediately ordered his vodka martini, straight up, dry, with olives. I sipped a club soda and cranberry drink because I’m such a light weight.
Why did they sit us at the bar? We’ll, drinks make for happier customers, but a wait at the bar pretty much ensures a drink order, and that means more revenue for Seasons 52.
TAKE AWAY – How can you encourage your brides and grooms to buy more at each interaction with you, before, during and after the wedding?
2) Underpromise and Overdeliver.
Our table was ready early, only 20 minutes later. I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, except that when we returned the second night, they told us there would be a wait even though there were clearly many tables available.
We waited only 5 minutes at the bar (Jeff ordered another martini) before our table was called.
They set us up to expect a 15 minute wait, then pleasantly surprised us…and gave us an opportunity to order that profitable pre-dinner drink.
Why would they do that?
When the customer’s expectation is set at a reasonable level, and then you overdeliver, you knock their socks off. They feel good because they got more than what they were expecting.
TAKE AWAY – Most of the time we promise clients the moon, and that’s exactly what they expect. Then if we miss one step, we’re falling short. Instead, train your clients to expect a reasonable level of service and then overdeliver. They’ll be happier with your service and you’ll look like the superstar you are.
There’s another reason Seasons 52 made us wait when we really didn’t have to…
3) Use Their Names.
Jeff gave our last name when we were asked to sit at the bar. The hostess gave it to our server, who proceeded to address Jeff as “Mr. Padovani” throughout the entire meal.
Have you EVER had a server use your name during the meal?
It created a connection. It made us feel like she cared. It was GOOD MARKETING.
TAKE AWAY – Get the bride and groom’s names immediately and use them naturally in your conversation to increase rapport and trust.
4) Share Your Irresistible Offer Everywhere.
An “Irresistible Offer” is a statement you make to your ideal customers that promises a specific result so targeted for them that it is truly irresistible. It’s what sets you apart from the competition immediately.
Our waitress asked, “Is this your first time here?” and proceeded to explain it very clearly in a few sentences.
The food is made with local ingredients, the menu changes weekly with the seasons (hence, Seasons 52) and each item is less than 475 calories.
Why is this offer so irresistible?
It’s extremely popular to “go local” right now, for people who want to support business and protect the environment. And that “less than 475 calories” part is BRILLIANT. It allows diners to indulge themselves without guilt; after all, everything is less than 475 calories.
What we don’t think about, gullible diners that we are, is that the entire menu is a la carte. By the time you add up the appetizer, salad, entree and dessert, not to mention the drinks… you’ve consumed well over 1,500 calories. But we can still feel good about ourselves for eating less than 475 calories.
Not only did Seasons 52 explain their Irresistible Offer aka Unique Selling Proposition to us the minute we stepped inside the door, they reinforced it on the menu and brochure.
TAKE AWAY – Communicate your uniqueness in all of your marketing so that it’s immediately understood to irresistibly attract your ideal couples.
Now comes the part of our Seasons 52 experience that really blew us away…
5) Assume the Sale with “The Spoon Close.”
Jeff and I are NOT dessert people. At the end of our meal, we were ready to collect the check and leave.
But instead of asking if we’d like to order dessert, our server brought over a tray of “mini-indulgences”…each less than 475 calories, of course…and set it down on our table.
Tempting, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Then, she took it a step further.
She placed a doily in front of us and set a spoon on top. It was one step away from dipping that spoon in a dessert and holding it up to our salivating lips for a taste.
Then she pointed a flashlight at each “mini indulgence,” forcing us to watch as she described them in vivid detail. Then she didn’t say a thing.
Jeff and I were floored. I’d never felt so much pressure to eat dessert in my life!
That’s what we call the Spoon Close. It’s assuming the sale.
TAKE AWAY – How can you put the bride and groom right into that picture of you as a part of their wedding, literally put it into their hands and get them tasting it, and then say, “Which would you like?”
6) Upsell to Exponentially Increase Revenue.
On the second night, Jeff got the waiter to go off script and tell us the results of using the Spoon Close.
A typical restaurant sells desserts to 40-50% of its customers. Seasons 52 sells desserts 90% of the time.
Think about the power of that upsell! Let’s crunch some numbers…
If the average profit for a dessert is let’s say, $3, and they’ve doubled the sales they make off dessert sales with the Spoon Close, and they serve diners close to 365 times a year in 21 locations for thousands of people…I calculated it out at only 50 tables per night and they do lunches, too…
That single strategy is easily worth over 2 million in pure profit each year.
TAKE AWAY – Ask yourself, “How can I get more couples to buy this upsell?” Increase the services your couples add on when they buy to make a huge increase in profits.
7) Get the Bride to Follow Up With YOU.
At the end of our meal as the server presented our check, she gave us a business card with her name on it. She explained that on the back is a reservation card we can fill out and drop off at the front desk to make our next reservation.
What a great way to encourage repeat visits!
My brain is swimming with ways you can use this for your wedding business.
You’re at a bridal show and the couple agrees to meet with you. So you pull out a business card that has a spot on the back for you two write in your appointment date.
Or at the end of the meeting when the bride and groom say they need to “think about it,” you ask them to call you on Wednesday to let you know. When they agree, you pull out that card and write in the date and time they’ve agreed to call.
It’s like a doctor’s appointment! They’ll feel committed to follow up with you, or to at least call and cancel. You’ll never have to chase down a couple for an answer again.
TAKE AWAY – Use your business card to get the couple committed to following up with you and keeping those appointments.
It was obvious that some marketing genius took apart each step of the customer experience from start to finish to maximize sales, satisfaction and return visits.
It’s been weeks since our meal/s, and I’m still impressed!
What‘s the coolest thing you’ve learned about marketing or customer service from another business?
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