I’m always looking for an excuse to communicate with my guests. Whether it be a special event to leverage, a relevant story I can tell, or an exclusive offer or reminder. If you’re an avid reader of the EZ Profits Newsletter, you’ll recall that during COVID I started sending emails to my customers DAILY (in addition to regular Facebook Live posts). And when I asked them for feedback on my communication frequency, the survey responses can back overwhelmingly as “just about right’.
You see, your guests WANT to feel an emotional connection with your business. And no matter what your industry, one of the BEST reasons to communicate is your business’ anniversary. This milestone gives you a reason to communicate with them AND gives them the feeling of being emotionally connected.
I recently celebrated my 25th anniversary and saw some big returns because of it. Below are some of the key elements I used and some additional ideas to help plan and execute your anniversary celebration. Because I’d BET that you have one of these milestones approaching some time this year…
#2 INVOLVE your guests.
A milestone like this is a great time to request guests’ personal pictures enjoying themselves at your establishment and share their stories and family traditions that involve your business.
I involved my guests through a social media contest, however there are countless ways to approach this, and you may be surprised at the amazing things that get submitted. There are 2 critical elements to this: your guests become more engaged, and you get the “real-deal” raw materials (stories, pictures, and memories) for the rest of your celebration. As you gather these, share them during the celebration period to promote your business.
#3 Create a history, TELL your story.
EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW!! People LOVE to be an insider and have information and insights that no one else has. Sharing how and when your business dream started creates a direct, emotional connection with you. Other things to include can be when you opened, when your best-selling menu items were first introduced and how they came to be, historical moments at your place (famous visitors, millionth taco served, etc.), highlighting key employees and any important events or dates that you can think of. Sharing this can be done many ways: a printed book or pamphlet, a sheet of paper, a large banner with dates and pictures or online posts. No matter how you do it, people WANT to know this information – they want an emotional connection to your business!
#1 Have a DEFINED PURPOSE for your celebration.
Yes, an anniversary is reason enough but why not leverage this occasion to build a stronger, anti-fragile business? For me, my purpose was to create a palpable sense that we have been, and
continue to be, an integral part of our community for decades. Another purpose or goal was to entice more people to become Rewards Members. We did this by leveraging our offers for Members only. To get the deal, you had to be a Member. Having a defined purpose from the start sets the stage for the rest of the celebration.
World Famous Tableside Guacamole – The History
Our most beloved dish and the one that put us on the map – not only as the originator of tableside guacamole but throughout Los Angeles as the place for guacamole. Described by the slogans; “Take Time To Guac with the Family”, Take a Guac on the Wild Side”, “Holy Guacamole”. and “Any Fresher, You’d be in the Tree”.
It has become so powerful that is has infiltrated nearly every aspect of daily life in the surrounding community. Gabrielle M. discovered this early one morning when she said, “The sound of guacamole, I hear it in my sleep.” Clearly, it was a perfect night of sleep.
The Guac nearly didn’t happen. It was a magical confluence during the opening summer of Los Gringos Locos in 1996 when Henri Mesclon (our original consulting chef) had the absolutely brilliant idea to make a tableside preparation of guacamole. What?! Tableside at a Mexican restaurant with TERRIBLE parking in a strip mall? at the time, only the la-de-do-est of the restaurants would make Caesar Salad or Banana Foster tableside – why not us? we re-purposed an old cart that was being used for décor, had our artist quickly paint some designs on it and used some soup bowls, a couple of soup spoons and a stone molcajete and started what has grown to be our “World Famous Tableside Guacamole”.
Worthy of a Vegas act, Denise C. called it “The ‘dancing spoons’ guacamole floor show.”
These ‘dancing spoons’ were made famous by our first guac maker, Edito Simental, who magically used the spoons to create and perform his many different “guac beats”. (The guacamole equivalent of beatboxing) and Nacho Sierra (still a familiar face at Gringos) continued the tradition with his friendly smile.
Christian Hansen pioneered the guacamole preparation to laboratory specifications. Often dressed in protective goggles and lab coat he made sure each guac conformed to the high, fres standards expected by all. Christian encompassed the entirety of The Guacamole when he said “A proper Guac is a magical combination of the freshest ingredients measured with lab-like precision, trained and refined mixing technique, and a musical mashing – without the exact proportions of these, it’s just not a proper Guac.
Los Gringos Locos developed the world’s ONLY official guac spoon. After several years, it became apparent that the regular soup spoons were not the most effiecient way to make the guac and, for some reason, sometimes these spoons resulted in a “soupy” consistency. We studied the situation and designed and commissioned a specially designed and manufactured spoon to ensure the perfect guac – EVERYTIME. To this day each and every guac is made with these specially designed, Los Gringos Locos logoed, ergonomic spoons.
These spoons are a critical part of the recipe and allure of the guac. Allison W. may not have understood this aspect when she shared “Every time the “da ta ta da, da ta ta” of the spoons my husband knows to take me to Los Gringos.”
The original cart, soup spoons and molcajete were carefully transported from their original location down the street at 464 Foothill and are all on display at Los Gringos Locos.
Thank you for being a part of the “dancing spoons” guacamole floor show and supporting Los Gringos Locos and the World Famous Tableside Guacamole. You guac our world and keep us Gringoing!
#4 Take it SLOW.
Plan on a celebration that lasts weeks or months. TAKE YOUR TIME! There’s no reason to rush. Give your guests time to marinate and be involved in your celebration. Doing too many things too quickly is a recipe for most of your guests to miss important events or be completely unaware the anniversary happened. I’d recommend that any one promotion during your anniversary last at minimum 1 week. Maybe longer. Rushing an anniversary celebration is akin to inviting guests to your home for a dinner party and giving them all the food and drinks when they arrive but asking them to leave and it eat it at home. Celebrate!! And do it slowly – enjoy the moment and build your business while doing it.
#5 Approach this opportunity with an attitude of gratitude.
You didn’t get to this point by yourself. Your guests supported you. Your staff worked hard. Your family supported you. Your community supported you. Be aware of this and RECOGNIZE them PUBLICALLY continually. Gratitude NEVER gets old.
These were the guiding principles I followed for my 25th anniversary celebration. It lasted from June to September.
Here is what happened:
• I received and shared 145 personal quest stories and increased my Rewards Program by over 700 members.
• My sales increased 12% and have stayed at that level even AFTER the celebration ended.
• I cemented my business as part of the fabric of my community.
• My guests’ concern for the well-being of my establishment and their engagement increased more than ever
before… because their emotional connection with me, my staff, and my establishment increased.
• My staff is engaged more than ever knowing they work for a business that has had long term success and
seeing customers that are highly engaged.
Taking advantage of my anniversary was one of the best opportunities I’ve had! Good luck with yours.
For more examples of how to leverage your anniversary and to see what others have done click here.