It’s that time of year again. Flowers will soon start poking out of the ground, the days will get longer, and spring fever will start to spread like wildfire. If you’re like many local restaurants, it’s inevitably also the time of year when you’ll be approached by recreational baseball, softball, and volleyball teams for sponsorship. Some operators look back on these seasons and wonder if the logistics and costs justify the benefits. If you play it right, team sponsorships can be an effective restaurant marketing strategy. Try some of these ideas:
- Instead of sponsoring just one team, expand your sponsorships by offering teams the “10 Percent Option.” Individual team members pay full price up front throughout the year, but at the end of the year the team is reimbursed at 10 percent. Have players save their receipts and turn them all in at once.
- Offer players a two-for-one drink special or a free appetizer instead of the standard free drink. This will encourage the players to stay longer and bring in their spectating friends.
- Market specials to teams that play against the team you sponsor, regardless of who wins. These leagues are supposed to be fun, so your marketing campaigns should be, too.
- Record games on a tablet or other recording device, and pass out a list of the times each game will be “televised” at your restaurant. Players are sure to want to watch themselves and their teammates on your big screen and opposing teams will use your place as a way to view the competition.
- Train your servers to not only be ready for the traffic that comes in after the game, but also to make the most of it. Win or lose, guests are usually looking to have fun after the game, and they’re usually hungry. Servers should be ready to suggest appetizers, pitchers of beer, and the day’s specials.
- Use your menu board to congratulate winners and post stats from the game. Players and their friends will love to see how they did.
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