The Napoleon on Your Staff: Your Miniature Menu

Whether you call it a miniature menu or mini for, er, short, and whether you use it as a carryout or to-go menu, this little dandy can perform an over-sized marketing role for you.
miniature menus--the little general

What a miniature menu is

A miniature menu is simply that—a reduced-sized versions of your tabletop menu. It is designed to go with your customers wherever they go. “Small and mighty,” your miniature menu is easily tucked into a customer’s pocket or purse. It can be posted on the refrigerator or at the office for reference when calling in a take-out order or deciding where to eat out tonight. It showcases your menu items and performs many of the functions of your traditional in-house menu, while serving as an easily visible reminder of all you have to offer.

Where miniature menus fit

Your miniature menus support your overall menu marketing strategy, which may include a dinner and lunch menu, breakfast menu, drinks and dessert menu, late-night menu, and/or specialty menus (think gluten-free items, seasonal specialties, featured menu creations, and more). They do not take the place of your website or your online menu presence. Instead they serve alongside all of these, and fill their own marketing niche.

What miniature menus do

You send your “Little General” into the field to represent your restaurant and to inspire sales through both in-store visits and carry-out orders. It acts as a physical presence. It is a printed piece customers and potential guests can hold in their hands, share with friends and family, and keep on file to refer to at a later time.Napoleon_in_1806

Add a coupon to extend your reach

One way to encourage return visits and increase your sales volume is to add a promotional coupon to your miniature menu. Take a look at your traffic and sales figures and decide what you’d like to promote. For example, if Tuesdays are an especially slow day for you, include a coupon printed with your miniature menu that is valid for a Tuesdays-only discount. Or include a coupon for a free kid’s meal on any Tuesday with purchase of an adult entrée. Test your offers to see which work better for you—gauge the popularity of a given offer by counting the number of coupons returned to you.

How to use your miniature menus

Look for as many ways as possible to distribute these cost-effective marketing materials to current and potential customers. Start with in-house with displays on open counters, bars and at check-out. When a customer asks for a to-go container, include a miniature menu in the bag. Include one with each take-out order, as well.

Distribute your miniature menus around town: hotel lobbies, transportation centers, tourist attractions, convention centers, the chamber of commerce, the visitor and convention bureau and other high-traffic locations. Visit nearby factories, businesses, colleges and other workplaces and ask about leaving copies of your carryout menus there. Some restaurateurs contract with their local newspaper to insert their miniature menus in the Sunday paper.

Do all you can to get the word out. Think of it as sending your little generals out into the field. Chaaaaaaarge!

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On a First-Name Basis with Customers

Steve - Michelle

News travels fast in a small town, and there’s not much happens in Richards Restaurant on the south side of Hartford City, Indiana, that doesn’t soon circulate through the city. So the news that longtime store manager Steve Stafford had bought the business spread quickly.

“Some of my customers had been telling me for a while that I ought to do it,” Steve says.

In January of last year he decided to go for it. He and wife Michelle now own the franchise Steve managed for 29 years. Michelle works as secretary for the business. “She does more than she lets on,” Steve says. He continues to oversee the day-to-day operations, But now as owner, he’s now calling the shots.
“I really enjoy it,” Steve says. “I’ve taken on a few more responsibilities than I had before, but it’s nice to be making my own decisions. I represent a newer generation and bring a fresh way of thinking. I’m open to a lot of new things.”
This has not escaped the attention of area residents. “We’re growing our customer base,” Steve says. “They’ve responded well.”
We caught up with Steve and Michelle when they stopped by the GMI office recently to go over changes to their new spiral bound menu. They plan to promote their catering and banquet services by placing a take-away copy of the catering menu in a plastic pocket inside each dinner menu.

Richards Banquet Menu cover
As a lifelong resident of the county, Steve knows his customers’ likes and dislikes. “In a small town my customers are more like family,” he says. “I treat them that way. And they treat me like family, too.
“For some of the people who come through our doors, this is their only meal out for that day or week and I want them to enjoy it. I do all I can to make that happen.
“Not many people get to know their customers the way I do. That’s a nice thing about living in a smaller place. In a larger community you can’t get to know people as well. I try to learn every customer’s name and refer to them by name. It makes a difference.”

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Diner-Style Menu Special

diner menu header1

Bellevue Diner coverNow’s a great time to order Diner-Style menus from Graphic Menus.

Sell more of your higher-profit items, enhance your reputation with your customers and boost your sales in 2016.

These Diner-Style menus are compact, designed to fit in a smaller space, and feature a two-fold, three-panel format. They are finished with 3 mil gloss edgeseal lamination, making for easy cleanup and longer wear.

Here’s the deal:

• 2-Fold, 3-Panel compact Diner-Style Menus (6 Viewing Pages)

• Overall Menu Size: 12.5 x 18 inches

• Finished with 3 mil edgeseal lamination

• Three menu proofs are included. (Additional proofs available for $100 each)

diner-style menu prices

That’s 60 compact Diner-Style menus for $749 ($12.48 each)

or 70 compact Diner-Style menus for $789 ($11.27 each)

or 100 compact Diner-Style menus for $979 ($9.79 each)

A 50% deposit is required to start, with the balance due upon delivery. Indiana state tax, if applicable, and shipping charges will be added.

call GMI now-diner menu

Call or email now. Email us your logo and menu copy to get the project started. And to get your new year started on the path to higher sales.

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Featured Special: Spiral Bound Menus!!

Spiral Bound Menus by GMI

Spiral bound Rancho Fiesta by GMI

Here’s the Deal:

• Four-Panel Spiral Bound Menus (8 Viewing Pages)

• Size: 9 x 14 inches

• Finished with 5 mil gloss edgeseal lamination

• Spiral bound with 7 mm plastic-coated wire spiral

• Three menu proofs are included. (Additional proofs are available for $100 each)

100 menus: $1869 (18.69 each); 200 menus: $3359 ($16.80 each)

That’s 100 spiral-bound menus for $1869 ($18.69 each)

or 200 spiral-bound menus for $3359 ($16.80 each)

A 50% deposit is required to start, with the balance due upon delivery. Indiana state tax, if applicable, and shipping charges will be added.

Call GMI at 1-800-333-0233

Call us now at 1-800-333-0233 or email us to get started

spiral bound American Table by GMI

100 menus: $1869 (18.69 each); 200 menus: $3359 ($16.80 each)

Call us now at 1-800-333-0233 or email us to get started

spiral bound headers call now

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“We opened…and business went BOOM!”

“We opened Casa Grande and business went ‘BOOM!’ People really like us.”

This is how Rosalio Sanchez describes his foray into restaurant ownership five years ago. He is owner-manager of Casa Grande Mexican Grill & Bar, located just off the interstate near Gas City, Indiana. To say the business keeps him busy would be an understatement. We caught up with Rosalio recently when he stopped by GMI to make final changes on the menu for a sixth restaurant he and his business partners were getting ready to open.



“It’s a lot of work,” Rosalio says, describing his experience of the hospitality industry. “I try to take off one day a week. Time with my family is hard to come by. My wife and I split up responsibilities at home, but more time with my kids is something I wish for.”
Yet he finds a lot to love about the job. “It’s been good. I like this. I stay focused. I enjoy talking with customers. I find out some of their history. And my staff is very loyal. I don’t have problems with employees. I try to pay them well—that’s my crew! I used to work in the kitchen so I know what it’s like.”


Rosalio got his start in the hospitality business when he was in high school. At age 16 he began bussing tables at Los Tapatios in Greenwood, Indiana, south of Indianapolis. At 19, he moved 90 minutes north to Kokomo to work with his older brother, who was then first chef at El Arriero Mexican Restaurant. “I’ve followed in the same steps as my brother ever since,” he says.
After seven years in numerous positions at El Arriero, Rosalio moved an hour east again to join his brother, who had gone into business with Manuel Rodriquez, their boss at Kokomo, to open Ciudad Colonial Mexican Restaurant in Muncie, Indiana. Rosalio worked in Muncie for two years before opportunity knocked again.
He joined the business partnership and helped scout prospective locations for a new store. In 2010, the partners stumbled across a promising spot near Interstate 69. The location proved ideal and Casa Grande became an overnight success story.


GMI clients include Casa Real and Casa GrandeLEARN BY DOING

Rosalio and his partners did not stop there. They opened more restaurants in Indiana: Casa del Sol in Muncie, El Metate in Fairmount and La Cabaña in Indianapolis have all proved successful; two other ventures closed when results did not meet expectations. “I learn by doing,” Rosalio says. And he keeps doing.

When Casa Real opens, it will mark the partners’ sixth Mexican restaurant. Three of these are located in communities with a population of 6,000 or less. The reception there has been warm. “The mayor came out and had a picture taken with us,” Rosalio says of one grand opening. “We made the front page of the local newspaper. Many people sent flowers and notes of congratulations.”


GMI client Casa Grande's family of restaurants includes several stores


GMI has been the menu company of choice for Rosalio and his partners for each of their locations. “I’ve always worked with Graphic Menus,” Rosalio volunteers. “They do a good job and use lots of custom photos. Many Mexican restaurants have very plain menus. We get a much better presentation with GMI. People will often see a photo in the menu and say, ‘I want this.’ It makes for a great presentation.”

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Restaurant Tips for Saint Patrick’s Day: Get More Green

St. Paddy’s Day offers your restaurant golden opportunities in more ways than one. Join the fun—jump on the (paddy?) wagon and celebrate that wee bit of Irish in us all. To help out, we offer some restaurant tips for Saint Patrick’s Day. Market the already-Irish-inspired items on your menu. Plan a special event to draw in an even bigger crowd. And remember to review your marketing strategy for Saint Paddy’s with an eye to the raft of special holidays that arrive throughout the year. Coming up soon: Easter, Cinco de Mayo, Mother Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, and more.

Make time to celebrate

By the time March rolls around, we all get a little stir-crazy. While sports fans have co-opted the term “March Madness” to refer to college basketball tourney time, it still describes the cabin fever we feel after being cooped up during a long winter.  In March, your customers are looking for a reason to get out of the house and celebrate a little. Saint Patrick’s day offers the perfect reason to get out and kick up their heels a little.

Extend the party

To put the luck o’ the Irish on your side this year, make an event of it. Saint Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. This makes it easy to extend the celebration, starting with the weekend before and running up through Tuesday, March 17.

Restaurant tips for Saint Patrick's Day shamrockPromote food and drink specials

Do what fits your restaurant’s theme and style. If you have a bar, you’ll probably want to advertise green beer and shots, along with Irish beers—Guinness, Harp, Kilkenny, Smithwick’s and more. Feature green cocktails, Jameson Irish whiskey drinks and spirited Irish coffee.

You may already have Irish-inspired food items on your menu: Reuben sandwiches and corned beef on rye. Perhaps you want to run a special on corned beef and cabbage, Guinness battered fish & chips, Irish stew, shepherd’s pie, or steak with an Irish whiskey sauce. Brainstorm ideas with your chef and staff.

Pull a few shenanigans

Think outside the box. Pull a few shenanigans! If yours is a Mexican-themed restaurant, your “celebration of the green” might include margaritas, green iguanas, mojitos, guacamole and more. Up in Chicago, the Italian steak house Harry Carry’s (named after the famous sportscaster) rebrands itself as “Harry O’Carry’s” for the day. Creativity counts when it comes to attracting business. Think outside the box, too, in coming up with featured items, activities, live music or special events that will set you apart from other restaurants in your area.

Review, review, reviewRestaurant tips for Saint Patrick's Day checkmark

You’ve considered these restaurant tips for Saint Patrick’s Day and used what makes sense for you. After the party is over and you’ve caught your breath, take a few notes:
•  What worked well for you?
•  What do you wish you had done differently?
•  How early did you start the planning process?
•  What marketing materials did you use? Social media? Print materials?
•  What did you offer your customers that your competitor’s did not? What made you stand out from the crowd?
•  What did you learn that you can apply to the next special holiday? And the next?

Restaurant tips for Saint Patrick's Day logo iconTurn right around and use what you’ve learned for Cinco de Mayo and other upcoming holidays. Capitalize on your strengths and address the gaps in your current strategy. You’ll appreciate the pay-off throughout the year.

Erin go bragh!

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4 Tips for Using Table Tents to Market Your Restaurant to Your Most Receptive Audience

Engage your customers where they’re at—meet them at each and every table in your restaurant with table tents. By their presence in your restaurant, your guests your guests are present in your restaurant, you already know they’re interested in what you have to offer. Give them more reasons to make repeat visits.

1. Use Table Tents Because They Work

Eye-catching table tents work hand-in-hand with your menu to market your restaurant. Table tents provide information and alerts about special events, market seasonal promotions, food and drink specials and featured items, and upsell desserts and drinks`. Be sure to use this prime marketing space to your advantage. Advertise. Upsell. Encourage repeat visits.

Restaurant guests look to table tents for information about loyalty programs, food and drink specials, special events, charitable causes and environmental impact. Customers say this information is likely to inspire repeat visits and get them to recommend a restaurant to friends, according to a TorkUSA/National Restaurant Association survey.

table tent by GMI2. Design Table Tents With Your Customers in Mind

Before you design your next table tent, answer some basic questions: who are the customers I’m talking to? What do they want? What do I have to offer that will be of interest to them? Tailor your message to your audience’s wants and needs, and you’ll make more of an impact. Simple idea, easy to overlook in the demands of running a small business.

Obviously, you want to pay attention to the season: market food items, drinks, desserts and specials that match the time of year, holidays, special events and so on.

3. Focus Your Message

Whatever you have to say, say it short. Conventional wisdom says more than seven words on a billboard are wasted. Your guests won’t be reading your table tent as they zoom by at 75 miles per hour, but still, space for your message is limited. Get it across in as few words as possible. Use a compelling headline. Include a call to action if appropriate.

spring table tent by GMI4. Appearance Matters

The table tents you set out on each table should look as good as each dish you bring out of your kitchen. The appearance of each sends a message to your customers about the quality of the dining experience they can expect. design your table tent to look professional. Use photos, artwork and graphics that reinforce your message while reflecting the ambiance and theme of your restaurant. Having a consistent look to your printed marketing materials (table tents, menu, posters, flyers, brochures and more) makes a more professional presentation overall.


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Menu Design Matters: How You See Your Menu Affects you Sales. Meet the Tiger on Your Table

Powerful menu design puts a tiger on your tableWhen it comes to menu design, how you see your menu affects your sales.

It’s true, you know. See your menu as a tiger and you’re apt to give it the respect it deserves. Think of it as a pussy cat, and you’ll never hear it roar.

Menu design matters: see your menu as a tiger rather than a pussy catCustomers sit down in your restaurant and pick up copies of your menu. It looks tame enough, but what they are holding in their hands is a dynamic marketing tool with all the power of a carnivorous jungle cat.

Menu design begins with how you see your menuOK, not really. I mean, which you rather meet in a dark alley—your menu or a hungry tiger? That said, your menu is your number one marketing tool, your primary point-of-purchase piece. Designed right, it can steer guests toward selecting higher-profit items that will make a difference in your bottom line.

Menu Design = Powerpowerful menu design improves sales

Your menu has power. Power to grab your customers’ attention, direct their eyes to specific items, and make their mouths water in anticipation of a great meal. With proper menu engineering, dynamite food photography and professional design, your menu can motivate your patrons to spend more money more often on items that deliver greater profit for you.

Come to think of it, it might not be such a bad thing if menus could pounce. That would make us all sit up and take notice.

The thing is, once you understand the importance of your menu and the pivotal role it can play in driving sales and increasing profits, you’re much more likely to respect it, care for it, and feed it the red raw meat it deserves.

powerful menu design demands respectTreat your menu with respect.

Melissa Smith has a thing for big cats. She recently posted a no-nonsense article titled “How to Care for a Pet Tiger.” Not everything she has to say applies to your menu, of course, but some of the advice she offers does make good sense for restaurateurs who are able to see the crouching tiger hidden in their menu.

Pointers on Caring for Your Tiger Menu:

menu desirn requires commitment1. Commitment Required

If you choose a tiger as a pet, you’re making a big commitment to its care. As a general rule, what we put energy into gives us back energy in return. Putting a powerful menu into place at your restaurant does require commitment on your part in terms of time, energy and financial resources. While hiring a menu professional to  design and print your menu alleviates much of the work, you will need to be a part of the process in reviewing items and prices, and carefully checking the proofs of the menu before it goes to press. You’ll want to train your servers on how to use the menu to promote higher sales, as well.

powerful menu design requires investment of resources2. Devote Adequate Resources

Tigers eat more than kitty cats. If you want a powerhouse menu, be prepared to lay out some cash. Your customers expect to pay a fair price for their meal. And they know a side salad will cost less than a steak dinner. If you look for them, you may find places that advertise “free” menus, others that offer do-it-yourself menus. Explore your options. Nothing wrong with that. But if you choose one of those routes, you may find out there’s a reason a side salad costs less than a tender juicy New York Strip. One has more staying power than the other.

powerful menu design requires adequate space3. Provide Adequate Space

Tigers cannot be successfully kept in a broom closet. Nor can your menu items be squeezed onto a postage stamp and do a decent job of representing your bill of fare to your customers. Count the number of items on your current menu. Compare this to a sample menu you like. Do the math. Or rely on a menu professional to do it for you. Part of designing a tiger menu is to give it adequate space to flex its muscles, show off appetizing photographs of your best-selling dishes, and make a splash with your customers.

change up your menu design4. Change It Up

Tigers and other animals held in captivity benefit from enrichment activities designed to reduce stress brought on by boredom. Your menu benefits from periodic updates, as well, because your guests appreciate opportunities to try new dishes. There are a variety of ways to trial new items before adding them to your permanent menu: feature them as daily specials and advertise them on a specials board; have your servers announce them to guests. Highlight seasonal or holiday offerings on menu inserts and/or table tents. Finally, update your menu items and prices regularly on a schedule that makes sense for your operation. Consider a menu redesign to get your customers’ attention and further stimulate sales.

5. Feed Your Tiger (Menu) Appropriately

Tigers are carnivores. They live on meat, not rabbit food. Melissa notes that big cats should eat about 20 pounds of meat daily, with periodic fasting periods of a day or two. They need more than steaks and burgers. Whole prey should be offered so the tiger can incorporate bones and organ meats into its diet to maintain a proper nutritional balance.

What it takes to make a tiger menu thrive? A quick menu design overview:

menu design power needs menu engineeringa. Menu engineering.

There is an art and science to crafting a powerful menu. Applying proven menu engineering techniques to the design of your menu adds muscle and teeth to your menu. Pay attention to where items are positioned on the page and under menu headings, how items are categorized, and the treatment you give your higher-profit items. Draw attention to these with appetizing food photography, graphic devices that highlight these items, and optimum page placement.

menu design is more powerful when customizedb. Customize.

Make sure your menu fits. Your menu should reflect your restaurant in style, tone and personality. Your menu sends signals to your customers about the quality of your operation, cleanliness of your kitchen, and the type of dining experience they can expect at your place. Use your menu to make a great first impression, one that will keep your guests coming back for more.

menu design requires coherent organizationc. Organization

Your menu should make it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for, and especially those higher-profit items you most want them to find. A logical flow to your menu items helps, as do clearly marked categories. Color, font choices and graphic elements can all be used to help guide your customer through the menu.

readability is important in powerful menu designd. Readability

You may think your menu looks great, but if it’s not readable, you’re losing sales. Use restraint in your choice of type fonts, colors, artwork, photos and other graphic elements. You’ll maximize the power of your menu if all these aspects work together to enhance readability rather than detract from it.

e. Appetizing Food Photography

If it’s in keeping with the style of your restaurant, appetizing food photography on your menu can make a big impact on sales and bottom line profits. People tend to order with their eyes. As human beings we’re wired to pick up on visual cues. A great-looking photo of steak or shrimp or pasta can get our juices rolling.

Menu design matters: see your menu as a tiger rather than a pussy catMenu Design Summary:

How you see your menu affects your profits. See your menu as a tiger and you’re more apt to:
• Commit yourself to putting in place a powerhouse menu
• Support your menu with adequate resources
• Make sure your unique menu works for your unique restaurant
• Update your menu, items and prices at regular intervals
• Custom design your menu. Apply menu engineering techniques to guide customers to higher-profit items. Pay attention to menu organization and readability, while employing dynamite food photography for maximum impact.

Powerful menu design means you see the tiger on your table

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Six Tips for Getting More Love & Money from Valentine’s Day

Get more money on Valentine's Day with these 6 tipsValentine’s Day is for lovers, sure, and it’s also a great holiday for restaurateurs. (What a win-win when you fit both categories!) As a restaurateur, Valentine’s Day offers an opportunity to attract new business, promote new items and wow guests with tantalizing specials, popular menu items, fantastic service and a romantic atmosphere.

As you know, February 14 (Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year) is one of the biggest dining-out days on the calendar. For the typical consumer, it’s a day to splurge on loved ones. And that’s where you come in. Better yet, where your customers come in—come into your place for a great meal, quality service and a memorable romantic experience. Getting them in the door takes some effort on your part, of course. Here are six tips to help jump-start the process.


Plan for Success1. Plan ahead to get the most out of your menu on Valentine’s Day.

Put your goals in writing. We humans are visual creatures, wired so we pay more attention to things that are set down in writing. try it: jot down your goals for Valentine’s Day. Be as specific as possible. This will help you focus on what needs to be done to give you the best shot at hitting your target.

For example, you want to increase traffic to your restaurant. Now get specific: you want to increase traffic by how much? Which potential audiences will you tap to make this happen? How can you best get the word out to these target markets? Which menu items hold the most appeal for these prospective guests?

You want to see sales jump—what is your sales target? Which menu items can you feature that will enable this to happen? What kind of special offers or menus will contribute to meeting this goal?

You want to fill every table—what will that look like for you? Will you rearrange your dining space to primarily seat couples? Reserve a separate area for families with children? Will you stagger reservations? Limit reservations to, say, the first 80 couples and make an entire evening of it with music, dinner, dancing and drinks?

You want to provide your guests with a memorable experience—what specific ingredients go into your version of memorable? Music, dimmed lighting, candles, flowers, table and house decorations, a complimentary rose or carnation, a special Valentine’s Day Menu for Two? How will the experience you offer be different from other restaurants? What will you do to create a mood in keeping with your restaurant concept?

By setting clear, specific goals you help give yourself a clearer picture of what you will need to reach them. And a leg up on your competition.

If you’ve not already started the planning process, begin now. Focus on the aspects of your plan that are most crucial for you. Decide where you need to direct your efforts. Focus on the activities that will give you the biggest return on your investment of time and energy. While you’re looking ahead, look back, too. Review strategies that have worked well for you in the past, as well as those that were less than successful in helping you meet your goals. What past practices will you build on, tweak, change radically or eliminate altogether? Give yourself some dedicated time to work on this project. It’s worth your full attention.

2. Build your Valentine’s Day offerings around your popular higher-profit menu items

feature popular higher profit itemsMany of your guests see Valentine’s Day as an excuse to splurge and treat themselves and their loved ones to something extra-special. Be sure to give them the opportunity. Look to your menu as you create a recipe for success on Valentine’s Day. Review your higher-profit and higher-dollar menu items, suitable for a special Valentine’s Day meal and already popular with your customers. Include these among your features on Valentine’s Day. It’s a great chance to offer a new dish as a special, one that will entice your guests’ appetite and imagination. If it does well, you might consider running it again or adding it to your menu as a regular item.

To keep your kitchen from being overwhelmed with a variety of orders, consider offering a limited menu. Include several of your higher-profit entrées as well as appetizers, soups, salads and desserts.

Or offer a prix fixe or fixed-price menu. Include a glass of champagne, appetizer, soup, salad, entrée, dessert and coffee or tea, all for a set price per person or per couple. Let your guests choose among two or three appetizers, a couple of entrées and a host of desserts (including something with loads of chocolate—it’s a well-known aphrodisiac). Call it “Our Special Valentine’s Day Dinner” or “Valentine’s Day Gourmet Dinner for Two,” something fancy.

3. Promote thyself.

You have to let your regular guests and potential customers know what you’re doing for Valentine’s Day. Promote your store’s offerings through all the advertising channels that make sense for you: your restaurant’s website, social media, email blasts, print media, radio and/or television. Promote your special celebration to the guests in your restaurant right now. Use table toppers, posters and other displays to encourage them to make plans that include you on February 14 (or the 13th, or 15th.) Invite them to make reservations now. Consider offering some give-aways to sweeten the deal: roses for the ladies, two-for-one dinner specials, complimentary champagne or a free dessert.

4. Do. Delegate. Outsource.

Do what you do best. Delegate the rest. Outsource what makes sense. You can’t outsource the personal relationships you build with your guests. And with your staff. You can’t outsource the professional service your staff provides your guests. Or the staff training it takes make sure that happens. But there are plenty of tasks you can outsource.
4-work smart

Put someone in charge of decorations, music, flowers, candles and more. Outsource advance advertising: radio, print ads, table toppers, posters, banners, flyers and the like. Got a point person for social media? Let your customers know what you’ll offer on Valentine’s Day via Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. Send reminders a couple days before the event. You may want to outsource your specialty menus to get a professional look that will add to the event.

5. Put your plan into action.

Make it happen!Come Valentine’s Day, make sure you’ve adequately staffed both the front of the house and the kitchen. Use your best servers—seasoned, experienced staff who know how to suggestively upsell items, who can manage multiple tables at once and keep the evening running smoothly. You want your guests to relax, enjoy and experience your restaurant at its best.

6. Evaluate.

After the event is over and while the experience is fresh in your mind, take a few moments to evaluate your experience.

6-evaluate• Did you meet your goals?
• Why or why not?
• What actions or strategies paid off for you?
• What does the experience have to teach you?
• Based on your experience this year, what will you do the same again next year?
• What will you do differently?
• In what areas can you improve?


We’ve outlined some basic steps for getting more out of your Valentine’s Day efforts—more money and customer good-will, that is. The love part is up to you . . . .

VD-GMI promo• Take time to plan your strategy.
• Look at your menu: what are your popular higher-profit items? Consider featuring these on Valentine’s Day, perhaps on a limited menu or a set-price menu.
• Promote your event in many different channels.
• Do what you must; delegate all you can; outsource where it makes sense.
• Staff appropriately.
• Afterwards, take time to evaluate. Use what you learned to refine your strategies for upcoming holidays.


We’d love to hear about what’s worked and working for you. Leave us a comment below.



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A Holiday Toast to Your Success

seasons greetings GMI

Here’s a copy of the holiday e-card and note we sent to our clients this year. It expresses our gratitude and sincere wishes for success in the year ahead. It also speaks to the reasons we’re in business—we serve those who serve others. We take pride in creating restaurant menus that not only enhance the dining experience of countless customers across the nation, but reward restaurateurs with higher sales at the same time. It’s a win-win-win for our clients, their guests and for us. We are grateful.

Here’s what we have to say:

Happy holidays!

We’d love to pile into your restaurant one of these wintery mornings—the whole lot of us who work at Graphic Menus—and join you for a cup of hot chocolate or steaming coffee. The warm hospitality you dish up for your guests is very much like the kind of service we strive to offer year round.

As you know, there is a great deal of satisfaction to be gained in serving others, providing a quality product, convivial atmosphere and superb service. We who make our living in the hospitality industry understand this.

In this busy time of year we’re taking a moment to say thank you for allowing us to serve you. In our mind’s eye we’re sitting down to the table with you, taking in the scents and sounds of the holiday season, toasting your success in the new year.

From all of us at GMI, here’s to you!


Tonya Bragg
Customer Service

P.S. This photo is of the country lane leading up to my house. This is what I see looking south on winter mornings!

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