Winter Weather Impacting Your Business? Ways to Warm Up Customers and New Opportunities

wINTERCOUPLE_CM9W9UHKKKExtreme winter weather is impacting business. Not only do entrepreneurs have to deal with the actual assault of storms, it is an extra effort to get customers into the mood to spend. Many restaurateurs are experts in finding creative ways to entice customers out of their cars and homes into businesses during winter.

Why are successful restaurants so great at winning customers in winter? They have a lot of experience. Every year, after the winter holidays many customers resolve to lose weight, save money, or even give up on going out. These popular resolutions have prompted restaurateurs to find creative ways to attract new guests.

wINTER_TROPY_TRCKTBXVXSSlashing prices on the menu isn’t the first choice for most restaurants because it cuts profits. Instead, special opportunities for guests and personalized promotions are very popular for many hospitality businesses.  These custom experiences can include classes, competitions, or partnerships for charities or community efforts. Not only can these special events attract positive publicity, it shows customers they’re patronizing a business that gives back to causes they care about.

Restaurants are great at creating customer connections in their communities. Some 94% of U.S. restaurants make charitable contributions, which add up to more than $3 billion a year according to the National Restaurant Association. For example, during the government shutdown hospitality businesses in Washington, Saint Louis, Atlanta and many other cities reached out to furloughed government employees.photo-1514893011-72dfa15bd29c

So what can you do if your business is not in the hospitality industry? Partnerships make it possible for entrepreneurs to expand their reach in their communities. For example, during the government shutdown businesses outside the hospitality industry stepped up to aid restaurants feeding furloughed workers. Offering this help creates connections to long-term loyal customers who will remember long after the event.

WINTER CITY_CNPDGXNQNPIt doesn’t have to be a food event to partner with local businesses and attractions. Think about what sets your company apart and how you use this difference to give back. A car dealership might inspire a video game competition at a popular sports bar or a local wellness center might help sponsor a smoothie tasting event. Coming together on an event or special menu item can connect with customers’ health goals or leisure activities while providing some excitement on cold winter days.

Are you looking for a way to get started? Look around your community and at your calendar. Special days like “Random Acts of Kindness Day”, “World Smile Day” or “Hugging Day” can give you some inspiration for a low cost promotion and perhaps a new partnership to connect with new customers.LUBQRTO8JB_handshake

 

Business Takes Center Stage as LouFest Cancels and Community Support is in the Spotlight

Financial issues and a wet weekend weather forecast are two of the reasons the producers of LouFest gave for leaving music fans and local businesses high and dry with just three days notice.

Just hours after the cancellation announcement, the Saint Louis community began organizing to minimize the impact on music lovers, entrepreneurs and small businesses impacted by the LouFest cancellation.les_paul_guitar

Front Gate Tickets, the festival’s ticketing agent is set to refund music fans for their tickets. A two day pass for the event started at $105.00 and went up to $360.00 plus fees.

The artists and businesses taking part as vendors are not as lucky. Most have paid thousands of dollars in vending fees to be part of the festival and invested even more money in extra inventory to be ready for the fans in what was touted as the biggest festival ever with more than 40 acts.

A lot of extra food was ready to feed hungry fans. Local restaurants are working together with cross promotions and special events this week to minimize the impact.

Saint Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is urging people to get out and support area restaurants and music venues. She posted lists of the local artists, restaurants, brewers and craftspeople who are a part of the LouFest vending list on social media.

The St. Louis Brewers Guild also went to social media to appeal for support for the local hospitality community: “We are devastated to learn news that LouFest Music Festival has been cancelled just days before the event. We loved supporting this event and were thrilled to be working with their team to help create a local beer-focused footprint for the event this year with “BrewFest”. Our local breweries and restaurants have invested so much in terms of time, planning, sponsorship fees, brewing and packaging tons of beer, food ordering, promotion, and staffing and this is a huge blow. Please take a look at the lineups for both BrewFest and the Nosh Pit and go out of your way to show these folks some extra love if you can. Thank you for supporting our local beer and food scene.”

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Schlafly Beer designed a special commemorative can exclusively for the festival along with a special run of that beer. It is a big investment for the brewery.

Schlafly is also reaching out to LouFest attendees with a special offer; “We’re inviting all Loufest ticket-holders to join us Saturday, September 15 at the Schlafly Tap Room. Doors open at 11 a.m. with the tasting from noon to 4 pm. We will be offering 10% off tasting tickets starting today at 10 a.m. through this weekend for Loufest ticket holders here with the code ‘LOUFEST18’. Loufest ticketholders can also pick up a free commemorative can by showing their ticket stub, wristband, or receipt at either one of our brewpub location starting on Friday at 5 p.m. While supplies last and limit of one per ticket-holding customer.”

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Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters who were supposed to headline at LouFest will perform at The Pageant Sunday night. rock-concert-crowd_925x

Other alternative LouFest performances include two stages at the Grandel Theater in Grand Center from 2-10pm Sunday with more than a dozen bands scheduled to play. The event will be free and local vendors are invited to take part.

Retailers who invested money in LouFest are also a part of a pop up experience all weekend on Cherokee Street.

Arch Apparel, a Saint Louis based clothing manufacturer that created special LouFest branded merchandise is offering an alternative weekend event for fun and to support businesses. The ArchFest is an indoor event scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Arch Apparel’s showroom and warehouse at Watson Industrial Park in Crestwood. The warehouse block party will feature music and many of the vendors who were planning to be a LouFest. Want more information on #ArchFest? Check out Arch Apparel’s Event Page.

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To read the entire LouFest cancellation statement and view more of the participating vendors visit http://loufest.com/

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