Fourth Annual "The Best"
For the fourth year, we asked operators to share the bests they’ve encountered in a variety of areas, including retail, the menu and design. Consider this list a jumping-off point for some inspiration as you plan and make resolutions for the new year.
The best promotion theme/campaign we’ve done
We rolled out the Bus Stop Café this past summer. The Bus Stop Café is a mobile summer feeding site. It is a school bus renovated by our own vehicle maintenance crew, complete with a hand washing sink, cooler and seating. The community response was amazing. I have told many people that this is the best, most rewarding project I’ve worked on in my entire foodservice career.
—Julia Bauscher, director, school and community nutrition services, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville, Ky.
Best use of Twitter
I have used Twitter to send out secret specials. We wouldn’t advertise the specials or post anywhere else, so unless you were following us you wouldn’t know about them. This created a buzz and got people into the habit of checking out our Twitter feed. You have to become part of your customers’ daily news feeds or someone else will take your place.
—Jason Giagrande, global director of food service operations & events, NBCUniversal, New York
Best use of Facebook
We continue to see Facebook as the best place to show our customers what is going on in our cafés on a daily basis. Just showing a beautiful photo of the special of the day gets the most traffic and interest from our customers.
—Gary Coughlin, senior director of business development, Guckenheimer Enterprises, Redwood Shores, Calif.
This past summer, we launched a “Tell us where the Big Dawg travels” promotion where students submitted photos of themselves holding our “Let the Big Dawg Eat!” bumper sticker at the various places they visited throughout their summer break. The photos were emailed to our marketing department and then uploaded to a Facebook album. The promotion kept students engaged with us through the summer and took our brand image to five continents, 15 countries and nine states.
—J. Michael Floyd, associate vice president, auxiliary services, University of Georgia, Athens
Best use of traditional marketing tools
The public service ad by the Australian Metro, presented as a music video called “Dumb Ways To Die.”
—David Davidson, managing director of dining services, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
We have found that for the best outcome it is important to use multiple marketing tools. We saw a 5% increase in our summer meal program by using several tools. We sent home flyers and hung posters in schools promoting the program. We used our School Messenger program to send recorded messages to parents. We also have a summer meal promotion truck that visited our park sites once a week. Staff would promote the program with flyers, one-on-one communication and leading kids in a short, fun activity.
—Jennifer DeHoog, R.D., nutrition specialist, Dallas Independent School District, Texas