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Sponsored Post – Staples Consulting Sweepstakes Winner

holyoke hummus cafe The following post is sponsored by Staples. The words are all mine. They paid for me to give away an hour of consulting to a small business owner looking to grow their business.

John Grossman runs the Holyoke Hummus Company out in western Massachusetts. He started out with a food truck promoting fresh tasty falafel sandwiches that were healthy but felt decadent. John’s had a lot of success in other businesses, but food can be tricky. When timing struck that he could acquire restaurant space and open a brick and mortar business to complement the truck, he had to take the opportunity.

The Challenge: Get More Dinner Guests

The sponsor of John’s consulting, Staples, points out in their recent survey, that finding new customers and marketing growth is a challenge. John told me that he was getting plenty of lunch traffic, but that dinner was a bit too quiet. Economics-wise, per-customer lunch tickets average probably around $15, but dinner had the chance to be even more lucrative, especially if he could attract family dining experiences more frequently.

This is where I stepped in.

The Recommendation: Build Fast Take-Out and Delivery Options

While dinner’s a better per-customer revenue opportunity, people aren’t eating out as often as they used to according to many studies, especially in the Millennial crowd. So I had a recommendation.

Before I talk about the recommendation, I have to tell you something sponsor-related. I mentioned running to Staples to get some flyers printed up and he laughed and said something about this being paid for by Staples, so naturally he thought I “worked it in there” to talk about a trip to Staples. Both John and I love Staples. We have intimate past business experiences with the company, quite often with the print center’s ability to deliver what we need quickly and at a price point we love. In the middle of giving John my idea, we had a laugh about this.

But the pause is important, because it’s true. I told John not to do a lot on social media beyond what he was already doing. I said that printing something simple that recommended a very specific dining opportunity (fast falafel family platters) married with something people love (like watching Netflix) would be a great way to start promoting.

Hand those simple postcards out to people in the lunch crowd and talk up the offering. Easy peasy. What makes the printed material better in my conversation with John is that you can tack it up at your cubicle at work. It becomes something to look at during the day. It’s a gentle reminder. Maybe you forget about it for a week or two, but then, “Oh yeah, the Holyoke Hummus Company! I should get a platter before the game.” Kapow.

The Marketing Mindset Here

John’s smart and he’s focused on several things. He’s grown the brand. He’s working the community aspects because Holyoke matters to him. And he’s of course perfecting the product at every turn. This restaurant business is a new venture to him and so he was working from existing models.

MY idea was just to look at trends, look outside the methods others were approaching, and think about how we could meet the customers at the marketplace of their choosing. This was the magic trick. Everyone can try to get people to their restaurant. I wanted John to try getting his great falafel and hummus meal experience to people who aren’t coming out of their houses like they used to for dining.

The flyers? Well, it’s good that Staples can help with that sort of thing.

The previous was a sponsored post. They don’t get a vote on the words I use. Those are all mine. You should check out Staples for your business, as they have a LOT more than just Post-it notes and pens. Their Copy center is one of my secret weapons.

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15 April, 2018

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