Customer-birthday Promotion Ideas

I’m planning on setting up my Mailchimp account to automatically send out a special offer a few days before each of my e-mail subscriber’s birthday. I might use Moving Target’s birthday mail service also.

Here’s my idea for a promotion targeted at adults: We just started selling individual-sized cheesecakes and key-lime pies in our dining room. I’m thinking of offering a free dessert to the birthday guy/gal AND everyone he/she brings in too.

Do you guys think that is aggressive enough to drive dine-in traffic? Or is the idea of getting a free dessert too “meh” to move anyone into action? Any other adult-birthday ideas that have worked to put butts in the seats?

If you make it good for the month of their birthday, it just might peek their interest. It always does mine.

First… LMFAO!!! My niece was here yesterday with a snorgtee on that said “meh” and I had to ask. I felt old! As far as your idea…and I dont remember your setup… but what about teaming up with other vendors like a local brewery or winery and a cheese shop of sorts. Get a basket shop to sell or donate at cost a small gift basket to use to market all the paticipating vendors… add a few great discount cards for each place to get people into new stores and then the entire cost is not just on you. Think about it… if you have 2 bday groups a night with 4 each… that could be almost 3000 desserts a year all at your cost. Try to get as many other local shops involved and cross market in all the locations. I think we all know that the very best advertising to get new customers in the door is to get yours and the others involved food or drink into the mouths of the potential new customers. “If you feed them they will come!” and hopefully come back…again and again and etc…

Hmmm… Free desert to get people in the door? Let’s say you do give away 3000 deserts and your average ticket is $20 per person; 60K in sales for maybe 5K food cost on deserts. Yep no problem. But I might limit it to two free deserts per party.

Another idea, birthday person 1/2 price or free with party of four or more.

Compared to other promos like direct mail or advertisements where you have to pay to deliver the offer mail chimp is free to use. I would have to pay 2K to deliver post cards to our local addresses and hope for orders and give a disount when I receive them. I have to get 1000 orders (and I never do) just to get the cost of delivering the offer down to $2 per order. My guess is that the food cost on giving away 3000 deserts would be cheaper than the mailing cost alone to drive that many orders!

I will be interested to hear how it works as we started collecting birthdays on Mail Chimp a while ago but have yet to do anything with them.

Steve I like the idea but the math is a little off…I think. If he gives a free dessert to all people in the group…and they order a large pie, maybe an app and sodas for 4…gives you a ticket of +/- $30 - 35 or so. Lets say 2 bdays groups a day if it takes off…and you now have sales of $60 -70 with an additional cost of $1 per dessert times 8… so maybe 10-15% in lost profit right off the top. Add to that you will need to send out a bday reminder card. I think the cost for free to the group will quickly outweigh the marketing idea. So approx $25k in gross sales and $3000 off the top? Yes it is worth it if the repeat business is there. Like I said… I think food in mouth is always the best tool out there. I guess no matter what one does… it all has to be apart of a larger marketing campaign and not just a one off idea or plan! :idea:

I guess I should have mentioned that the food cost on those mini cakes (with a drizzle of syrup) is about $1.40. At dinner time, we do not do any discounting in the dining room. Everything is full menu price so we should be okay as long as the average table isn’t, “eight waters, an order of breadsticks, and eight cakes, please.”

You guys seem to think dessert can move people to action, so I’ll give it the ol’ college try.

Funny you should bring this up, Romano’s Macaroni Grill sent me this in email yesterday, valid until Jul 4th, for my half birthday. Yes I am 52.5 years old and need to celebrate! I would go there to claim it if we were in the area, but not make a special trip. They are about 20 minutes away and our last couple of visits there have not been stellar.

I believe that a free dessert could motivate existing customers to an additional action that month . . . a customer gives you one additional sale that month based on the offer and the ticket minus food+marketing cost is arguably pure profit, regardless how much the dessert costs. It is bonus revenues over and above expected sales.

Mike, No I do not think my math is off other than what the average per person spend might be… not knowing what his operation is other than that it is sit-down, I was figuring on $20 person but… In the end it does not matter as the comparison of the cost of the promotion will be the same regardless of the ticket average:

Re-read the original post. He is using Mail Chimp to send out the reminder so there is zero cost to do that. He can send it 2-3 times during the month of the customer birthday… all for free.

For comparison:

8 deserts X 360 days X $1.4 = $4,000 Assumes 720 parties of 4 during a year.

Direct mail to generate 720 visits: 3% return rate = 24,000 pieces = $4,800 assuming bulk postage and cheap printing and using round numbers.

So far we have already spent more than the deserts cost and we have not even made a special offer yet!

All in all I find this idea to be VERY cost effective.

Steve I was just going off his menu with an xlg pie, app, and 4 drinks at about $35 or so. That is where I was basing numbers off of. Are you really getting $80 tabs for tables of 4 there? I guess not hard with a couple of large pies, an app, and drinks. All this makes me think who is crazy enough to sell $7.99 large pies with free delivery… WHY??? :roll:

Mike, we do not offer sit down. I was assuming that a sit down place would sell beer/wine and that a party of four doing a birthday would get a couple of nice 14" pies, some apps and or salad and two bottles of wine… around here that would easily top $80. I guess a family doing a kid birthday might spend $45-50 on that model. Where it could really sting would be a kid birthday party of a dozen kids ordering 3 large pies and wanting 12 free deserts… back to the idea of limiting the number of freebies.

I did not look at his menu and was just focused on the cost of delivering the promo. Sometimes I think operators get focused on only the cost of the discount or free item and write the cost of delivering the offer off to “marketing” or fail to realize that an offer that costs less to deliver can be more agressive and still come out cheaper than a less agressive offer that is expensive to put in the customer’s hands.

Yes, $8 pizza with no delivery charge is nuts unless you have either staggering volume or a source of free cheese.

Just turned on my Mailchimp autoresponder today. This is what each customer who supplied their birthday date with receive 3 days prior: … 8363808&e=[UNIQID]

If you can’t see that it says…

Happy Birthday, <>!
Dessert is on us.
Since you were so kind to share the date with us when you signed up for our E-mail list, we thought we’d extend a special offer for your birthday on <>

Dine in for dinner anytime between now and the week following your birthday and we’ll give you a free dessert to add a sweet ending to your meal. Save some room because Aver’s offers a Mini Cheesecake - you can enjoy it plain or topped with either caramel or raspberry sauce. Also, we serve an individual-sized Key Lime Cream Pie on a graham-cracker crust topped with whipped cream & toasted coconut. So rich!

Oops! We forgot to mention, each one of your dinner guests receives a free dessert too! Yes, everybody. Now that’s a party!

Dinner is served in our dining room from 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm daily at 2905 E. Covenanter Drive. We’re near Kroger, right next to Elements. Simply print out this E-mail and present it to your wait person. We look forward to your visit.

Our goal is to generate a nice, steady flow of previously delivery/carry-out customers trying out our dining room. We’ll see how it goes.

Hey Brad… I think everyone will be interested in the results here. Does your POS have a report option you can put in to keep a list of just people using bday offerings like this? I would love to see the other items ordered with their meals. Was it a lot of free treats or a lot of drinking and apps to go with the pizza and treats. Lets us know!

So far, this is the response to the e-mails themselves:


We’ve had 3 sets of redemptions. A 2-top, a 6-top and a 12-top. Looks like each cake we give away generates around $10 in sales.