Trade

Get Creative with Your Marketing Budget

 

 

Owning a restaurant can be a pain in the ass for sure. But one of the perks (if you get hip to it) is trading meals for almost anything (and I mean ANYTHING) you want. This is especially helpful when you're looking for ways to boost your marketing budget. 

I traded for concert tickets, car service, even airline tickets.

And the list goes on...

  • In this video I'll walk you through the simple steps to get started.
  • I'll show you businesses to approach.
  • Exactly how to structure a trade.
  • Even how trading for stuff you don't even need, can still be a win for you.

Hit "play" above and start printing your own money... or read below. 

How cool would it be if you could get a lot of the things you needed without ever reaching for your wallet? What if you could create a robust marketing budget without using your cash? 

If you own a restaurant, you already have that power. When I owned my pizzeria, I traded pizza for everything from restaurant advertising that grew my business to airline tickets. You heard me right: airline tickets.

I first learned the power of doing trade when I owned a nightclub. I had an airplane at the time and I got certified to tow advertising banners. It was pretty exciting. I charged $300 an hour to tow the banners, but when I traded with a radio station, I would typically negotiate for about $3,000 to $5,000 in radio ads because the station really wanted the banner up over a high-profile event. So for about $50 in gas, I kept my clubs packed to the rafters every week. It was pretty wild.

When I got into the pizza business, it didn’t take me long to realize I was sitting on a printing press. I could crank out all the cash I wanted. Trade is the oldest form of commerce, of course, it goes back to "I’ll give you 20 chickens for that goat." Today, most people don’t even think to trade. They just pull out cash and pay full price. In my restaurant business days, I traded for pest control, TV ads, radio ads, window cleaning, equipment repair, photography, custom artwork, printing, and mail services. I was attracting new customers, running a robust marketing budget and getting the need of services done for food cost.

Let me tell you about two big ones: the Nissan dealer and Southwest Airlines. We’ll start with the Nissan dealer. It got to the point where these guys called me, asking me if I needed something done to one of my cars. Did I need an upgrade or an oil change? Well, yeah, if you want some pizza!

With Southwest Airlines, it turned out we were delivering to one of their call centers out at the airport, and I just asked him one time, "Do you guys ever do any trade?" and he replied "We do it all the time." From that point forward, I was trading pizza to Southwest Airlines for airline tickets, and I was getting the tickets for thirty cents on the dollar.

Here’s the benefits for you:

  • You’re going to attract new restaurant customers and trade means that they come in over and over and over to use the trade.
  • Trade automatically hurts your competitors, because that’s where a lot of your new customers used to go.
  • Your payment, the trade, is spread out over time, so you’re going to get what you want now and pay for it later, interest-free.
  • About 20 percent of trade will never be redeemed, so your 30 percent food cost just dropped to 25 or 25 percent.

Here’s how to get started: what you want to do first is to negotiate the lowest price you can, then pull some preloaded gift cards out of your pocket so it’s tangible. Handing one of those over is better than saying, "Oh, I’ll put a little trade in the POS," or writing a certificate. If you have a gift card program, load the gift cards and have them ready. Once you flash the gift cards in front of them, you’re going to agree to deal with them if you can pay with trade. If you can’t do the whole deal with trade, go for 25-50 percent. If they don’t want to do trade, why do business with someone who won’t do business with you? Find someone else. I did.

Remember my airline tickets. I had a briefcase full of these puppies and I put them to good use. Imagine if you’re an employee, cook, server, on the phones, or a driver and you’ve had a really cool night and Kamron walks up and hands you an airline ticket. Man.

That brings me to the next point:  what if someone actually wants more trade from you than you need services from them? Piece of cake. You can triangulate. If it makes sense, go ahead and do the deal. You can sell some trade to someone else who needs it, or, if it’s the right stuff, theater tickets, airline tickets, restaurant meals, whatever, give them to your employees for spiffs.

Here’s an example of triangulation: I bought a seven night stay at the Hyatt Regency in Maui from a radio station in Waikiki for 50 cents on the dollar. The hotel had traded with the station, kind of like how I used to do with my banner towing, and the station sold the rooms at a discount. By the way, I’ve now stayed at that same hotel more than a dozen times, so it worked out very well for them.

Trade allows you to create money out of thin air, so whenever you want something or need something, consider how you can implement a trade to get it.

Here’s a hot tip for you: if you’re struggling to implement or keep up with your social media, or can't find any money in the marketing budget for it, find someone local that can help you with that. It might be a local college kid, or even a company, it doesn’t matter. Set up an ongoing trade. They come in several times a week, have lunch or dinner, take pictures, and post them for you. You’re done! Be sure to document all of your trade and hand everything to your accountant so he can report everything to the IRS. 

If you would like to learn more about increasing restaurant sales, maximizing a marketing budget or anything else related to restaurant marketing, visit my YouTube channel

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