Back to School Restaurant Marketing Ideas

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016


If the end of summer is typically a slow time for your restaurant, one terrific way to drive sales is to jump on the back to school marketing bandwagon. Offering various discounts and specials aimed at cash-strapped college students and families with school-aged children can help bring in new customers, establish goodwill within the community, and lead to longterm patronage and bigger profits. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Everyone loves freebies, especially after spending hundreds of dollars on school supplies and textbooks for the upcoming term. Offer a free appetizer, drink, or dessert to customers that show a receipt for school related purchases or tuition fees. Another option that’s great for bringing whole families into your restaurant is to provide a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree.

If your margin is too tight for freebies, discounts are the next best alternative. For example, eateries located in college towns or near high schools can offer discounts on all purchases for customers who show a student or teacher ID card. If that kind of promotion is unsustainable, consider offering the discounts only at lunchtime or only on a specified day of the week.

Many college towns and communities distribute coupon books to students and residents at the beginning of the year filled with promotions from local businesses, so check to see how your restaurant can get in on the action. You can also put printable coupons on your website or Facebook page, or send out offers on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

Incentive/Loyalty Programs
A proven way to cultivate repeat business is through incentive or loyalty programs, so this is also a great strategy to try. A stamp card that gives the bearer a free item after “x” number of purchases is easy to implement, as is a free (or discounted or BOGO) item for showing a report card with a B average or perfect attendance.

Whatever kind of back to school marketing campaign you implement, be sure to take time to promote it beyond your usual social media channels to ensure you reach new eyeballs. Distribute fliers on campus or at the mall, put up signs in your windows, and place ads in popular local media.

Now Serving – September – Using Sports-Related Marketing to Your Advantage

Monday, September 16th, 2013


SEPTEMBER 2013 A monthly newsletter showcasing the taste of cookware ISSUE 57
Now Serving

The beginning of fall is less than two weeks away which means football season is here. Football games tend to bring bigger crowds into restaurants and bars, so now is the time to inspect all of your equipment and make sure it’s in tip-top shape. If you do need to replace something, be sure to click here and check out the Gen2 closeout specials we are currently offering. With several different types to choose from, you should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Here’s a fun fact you can share with your friends at your next football gathering: did you know that the total, average play time in a football game is 11 minutes?

Which team are you rooting for? Do you watch college football, or stick to the NFL? Let us know on our Facebook page! While you’re there, be sure to check out our one-day only deals! And if you review a product online, you will be automatically entered into ShortOrder’s monthly giveaway.

Please join us in congratulating this month’s winner: Colin Wood!

And remember to visit our clearance section. We have a wide variety of discontinued, and scratched and dented products that are all covered by the full manufacturer warranty.

In this month’s issue: Using Sports-Related Marketing to Your Advantage, To-Die-for Crock Pot Roast to fix before the big game, and our featured products: a Gen2 Char Broiler, a Hobart Dish Machine, and an APW Cheese Melter.

Do you have any suggestions for us? We are always ready to hear from you. Please drop us a line anytime!

Ann Marie Hillier

Using Sports-Related Marketing to Your Advantage

Make Your Restaurant the Place for Fans to Gather


Welcome to the start of football season! Now is the time to attract customers to your restaurant with these great sports-related marketing suggestions featured in the article, Why Sports-Related Marketing is a Must for Your Bar or Restaurant.

1. It’s year-roundRegardless of what time of year it is, there’s almost always a sporting event of some type on television. If you go the extra step and choose to show a pay-per-view event, you will attract even more customers that may not want to purchase the event in their own homes.

2. It makes you part of the community If you promote your restaurant as a supportive place for fans to gather after a local high school game, you will gain lots of loyal customers. Or, take it one step further and sponsor a local team!

3. You can attract college fansCollege fans are among some of the most devoted. Entice these loyal fans to watch the game at your restaurant and you can almost guarantee their repeat business week after week. For an added bonus, consider partnering with a local university which will establish your bar or restaurant as the official place to watch the big game.

4. Fans can engage with each otherMake the sports watching experience for your customers interactive by offering sports-themed trivia games during half time.


5. There are endless promotion ideasGet creative and think of all the different ways to tie your promotions into the games. Why not offer a discount for every fan that shows up in a jersey? Or, if the local team scores a certain number of points, free appetizers for everyone!

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Gen2 Char Broiler
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Featured Recipe
To-Die-for Crock Pot Roast
Serve up this recipe from at your next football party!
Yield: 8 Servings


  • 1 (4-5 lb) Beef Roast
  • 1 Package Brown Gravy Mix
  • 1 Package Dried Italian Salad Dressing Mix
  • 1 Package Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1/2 Cup Water


  1. Place beef roast in crock pot.
  2. Mix the dried mixes together in a bowl and sprinkle over the roast.
  3. Pour the water around the roast.
  4. Cook on low for 7-9 hours.
Short Order

Now Serving – Restaurant Marketing Tips and Zucchini Cobbler

Friday, July 13th, 2012
July 2012 A monthly newsletter showcasing the taste of cookware ISSUE 43
Now Serving

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! We’re in the heat of summer now – How’s your equipment holding up? This time of year is tough on ice machines as they have to work twice as hard to produce the same amount of ice. If you’ve repaired yours several times, you might consider replacement. Foodservice Equipment and Supplies wrote a helpful article on when to replace your ice machine – read it here. If it IS time, check out our deals on ice machines of all sizes here!

If you’re in the market for ice machines, or any other piece of equipment, there’s a way to save on your equipment costs: You can earn some money while helping other people out. Go to and submit a product review! We’re giving away a $50 Gift Card to one reviewer per month. Also, keep an eye on our Facebook wall – and check back frequently for special one-day only deals!

Don’t miss the clearance section, full of scratch and dent and discontinued inventory! These products have only minor physical imperfections and are protected by the full manufacturer warranty. Clearance inventory changes often so check our clearance section for the best deals.

In this issue: Remarkable Restaurant Marketing: What Works?, a recipe for Zucchini Cobbler and our Featured Items: a Scotsman ice machine, a Panasonic microwave, and a Beverage Air refrigerator.

Remember, this newsletter is for you and if there is anything you’d like to know more about – give us a shout! We’d love to hear from you.


Tylee Van Waes

Remarkable Restaurant Marketing: What Works?

A brief analysis of a study on restaurant operators and their customers

Recently, the National Restaurant Association conducted a study to better understand restaurant operators’ use of and preferences for particular marketing channels and how consumers engage and respond to them.

Restaurant operators have always struggled to find the best way to draw loyal customers. They use a wide variety of marketing channels ranging from traditional print to online media. It is important to not ignore one avenue over the other, as they work together to form a cohesive message and build a relationship with customers. Research shows that a marketing strategy that is balanced and meets consumers’ expectations is the right approach.

What does that mean? We’ve listed a few of the highlights from the report:

targetKnow your customer – Do some research and get to know your customers’ likes, locations and lifestyles. Customized marketing for your particular customers is the most effective.


Connect online – Tech savvy customers have an expectation of an online presence such as a website, email, social media and maybe even daily deals online.

 Extend your reach – Don’t go crazy here, but do make an effort to balance your marketing campaign with thoughtful online dialogue and a consistent message across all mediums.

 Build your reputation – Customers view restaurants with an online marketing campaign as trustworthy, upscale, modern and popular (all good things!). It is also a good idea to monitor the web for negative remarks and always take the time totalk (respectfully!!) respond to any issues. It shows the customers you care.

 Join the conversation – When using social media, remember that customers consider it to be their personal space. Ditch the hard sales approach, join the conversation, be respectful and informative.

For the full report from the National Restaurant Association and LivingSocial, click here.

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Beverage Air Refrigerator
2 door reach in
$2537.00 delivered
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Featured Recipe
Zucchini Cobbler 

A zucchini cobbler? That’s right! Check out this awesome recipe from!
Yield: 25 Servings Ingredients:

  • 8 cups peeled, chopped zucchini
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, chilled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon



  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir zucchini and lemon juice until zucchini is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 10×15 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine flour and 2 cups sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup of butter mixture into zucchini mixture. Press half of remaining butter mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Spread zucchini mixture over top of crust, and sprinkle remaining butter mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden. Serve warm or cold.
cobbler image
Short Order


Tips for Restaurant Owners: Keeping Busy in Slow Times

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

We all know times are tight right now. Some experts are pointing towards signs of a slow recovery, the keyword there being slow. How do you keep customers coming into your restaurant, and more importantly spending money?

Get the customers in the door!

You might consider lowering the prices on your offerings, or offering free desserts to entice clients. In order to make up for lower tickets, you’ll need to turn more tables. Avoid rushing the customer experience, but the more tables you turn, the more money you’ll make.

In house marketing

It’s usually pretty affordable to get some table tents and run contests to encourage servers to up-sell. Sometimes it’s as easy as a server walking through the restaurant with a fresh loaf of garlic bread or some sizzling onions, both known to stir hunger in customers.

Broaden your appeal

Do you donate to charity? Perhaps you could consider it now. Have charity nights on your slower nights. Encourage customers to bring in canned goods for a local charity and offer $5 off a ticket of $30 with 3 canned goods. Or host a job fair and let local businesses set up tables for short interviews — have a “job fair” special for those attending.

Customer service

Customer service will be of utmost importance for your business now. Gone are the days of snooty servers; guests will want to be treated as such and want to feel welcome and appreciated.

Though the economic recovery is sure to be a slow one, it is not time to cut marketing budgets, no matter how tempting that may be. Encourage locals to choose your business over the others by teaming up with other local businesses for a co-marketing theme coupon (think dinner and a movie, or family night out).

Flexible restaurateurs are sure to succeed in any economy, so think outside of the box and have some fun with it!

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