Watch the online class videos we created and try to match the order of what I said and the spirit of what I said to this list as accurately as possible. This list itself can be longer but should match that order. Get rid of any repeats and replace them with new methods for the book.
1) The three most important ways to make more sales are obviously the following:
- a) Reduce costs
- b) Increase Price
- c) Add to the number of customers.
Here we will focus on attracting new customers. The method I found that works best is to set it up and have it run automatically on your business card. In my case, I have an American Express Platinum card and I run small ads, social media campaigns, Google Ad words, and mobile application ads all on this account. It’s set up to charge my credit card and is paid by my business automatically, every month.
This insures that we reach people every day, every week, and every month. Just like us, your business needs new customers all the time. Once you automate the system, it works for itself. The results are amazon:
- a) a growing social media presence
- b) a growing email list
- c) more faces in the door, new smiling customers, a happy base of people and a happy accountant because you will (hopefully) become more profitable.
2) Encouraging more visits; a greater frequency of existing customer purchases.
Provide incentives to your core customer base to come back, and come back often. Remember those coupons on Starbucks receipts giving customers $2 off any drink after 4 pm the same day as long as they made a purchase? That was smart because it encouraged people to visit Starbucks twice. They may have had a coffee in the morning and visited to Starbucks on the way home from work. They may purchase a sandwich on the second visit.
3) Increase overall spending.
This goes beyond up selling. There are many ways to encourage customers to spend more on the same visit. The creation of our catering menu took me over 2 years. Now, we are blessed enough to have many $300, $400, and $500 orders daily. We helped the customer to spend more; and we made their order processing easy.
We used beautiful, bold pictures and a super-easy way to order. It translated to increased sales, happier customers, and a healthier bottom line. The incredible thing about it is it doesn’t take us that much longer to prepare a $500 order than it does the other orders. We work on it while we are making orders for single order customers.
Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.
4) Control food costs.
This goes back to what I said on number one. This is one of the three most important ways to make more money. Increasing price may or may not have a drawback from customers not wanting to spend too much. But reducing your food cost is always a win-win.
Granted, technically it’s not a way to increase sales. Your sales would remain the same. Arguably sales may increase because as a result of reducing cost, you may not have to increase price. So in that sense it may increase sales, but generally this method is a great way not to increase sales but to increase PROFIT, which is more important than increasing raw sales figures.
Shop around for different distributors. See and talk to other beef and chicken distributors, talk to a different dry goods distributer, and find a different produce person. You can use negotiation tactics to reduce your cost. Even if you stay with the same people you’re working with now, you will put them on check. They will think twice before they increase your costs all the time.
Make sure your menu highlights the items that are lower food cost to you, and ones that will increase profit. High profit margins on your menu should have preferable photo treatment and possibly more real estate on the physical menu itself. This will encourage people, subliminally, to purchase those items. For example, a steakhouse probably makes much more profit from the win list than the steak itself. This is why they bring you a huge wine list and appetizers first. Their cost for high-grade meat is very high.
5) Consider a price increase.
In the food industry, we are dealing with commodities. These commodities, things like tomatoes, potatoes, chicken and beef prices, they often fluctuate. Depending on weather conditions, government regulation, political turmoil, and the price of oil, our food costs can increase dramatically. Educate yourself on IBP and commodity prices so you are in a better position to negotiate.
The only way to deal with this is by doing incremental price increases. Well, there is one other way, one which we never considered at Zankou Chicken for over 50 years. And that is to reduce quality. This is what every big box fast food chain has done, reduce the quality of the beef and chicken they serve you, add fillers like protein to the beef to increase its weight, etc. We will never go down that road because for us, our customers deserve the best. You should never go down that road either.
Always maintain the line of quality. Customers will understand that we need to adjust prices every once in a while. My advice is to look at the cost of everything and to look at it often. Always evaluate the market conditions. The moral of the story is customers can swallow a $1 increase every year much more than they can $3 once every three years.
And with the recent minimum wage hikes making $15 and $16 minimum wage a reality in the next few years, more price increases will be inevitable.
One man’s wage increase is another man’s price increase. Harold Wilson
6) Consider having a Specials menu
Having a happy hour menu isn’t just for bars or Mexican restaurants. Everyone from coffee shops to sit-down restaurants now offer some kind of happy hour specials. This generates a lot of free word of mouth advertising and goodwill from customers. It also increases first time customers.
7) Concentrate on creating a sales culture.
Every person on your team has to have sales engrained in him or her. A solid sales culture encourages the waiters to sell, the cashiers to sell, the managers to sell. This requires constant, quality training. Give employees incentives and rewards for selling by tracking their individual sales on the POS system. Everyone from the cleaning person to the owners much be trained in selling.
8) Write juicy descriptions
You don’t have to be a professional wordsmith to come up with colorful descriptions of your food. You can hire a talented writer or marketing firm to help with this. The words should make your mouth water; the descriptions should make you hungry. if they don’t, consider re-writing them immediately. Don’t underestimate the power of words and stories to increase sales. Words are very powerful.
9) Use window decals
I am not talking about cheesy ones the fast food places use. You can now create high quality graphics on see-through vinyl posters. This makes people driving by hungry. Thousands of cars drive by our locations every day. The right kind of window dressing can make them hungry. Use great shots of your food, and of people enjoying life eating it. Remember, many of them are driving home from work and are already hungry, so if done right these posters might be the only encouragement they need to pull over and make a purchase! I can hear the jingle of the cash registers already.
10) Do motivational, pre-shift meetings with the entire team.
Huddle the team together and do a small motivational speech in the morning. I have done this many times, especially on days we know we had huge catering orders. The team needs to know you are there and that you care. The team needs to be motivated and they all have to work together in order to make the day successful.
A successful, cheerful team provides a great presentation to the customer. Having an amazing staff can make any restaurant look beautiful in the hearts and minds of its patrons. There is nothing more important than teamwork and positive energy to make a restaurant successful at selling.
Make your motivational speech short and sweet. Keep it positive. When I do mine, I always buy them coffee or sweets.
Remember the pep talks from the movie like Wall Street (Gordon Gekko) or the Wolf of Wall Street (Jordan Belfort)? It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering drama like this; it just needs to be honest and effective at mobilizing the team and increasing morale.
11) Conduct an In-House Brainstorming session
I have been in many of these and they always produce great ideas. This is where you sit in a circle and take turns producing ideas to help push the marketing of your brand to increase sales. There are a few key rules to follow when you do this.
Make sure no one is allowed to say the words “No, can’t, won’t, costs too much, too much money, illegal…etc. Remember, this is not something where the company has to do anything people are suggesting. It’s just a positive and motivating way for the team to participate in marketing. Allowing everyone’s voice to be heard is good enough for me. But when people know their ideas won’t be shut down, they are much more likely to speak and come forward. Don’t negate anyone’s ideas, just give people an equal amount of time and let them talk about their ideas.
You’ll be surprised with the great amount of fantastic ideas that will come from this. This idea alone is worth so much if done effectively. Conduct a subsequent meeting where you discuss the validity of these ideas, vote and agree on the best ones, and write out specific plans on how and when to achieve them. Don’t wait more than a week from the previous meeting to do this, lest the ideas grow cold and die. Keep the momentum going!
12) Do Live Music
Consider featuring live music performances at your restaurant. Just like a nice work of art, good musicians attract a lot of people. Seek out local artists and see if they would agree to perform for free in exchange for allowing them to sell their CD’s that day and pass out business cards. If not, pay a nominal fee and make have them post your restaurant on their web site. Cross-promotions will allow new people to hear about your brand by increasing your exposure.
13) Run Contests
Right now we’re giving away 4 tickets to Disneyland and a Family Meal. Participants have to give us their email, and no purchase is necessary. It’s allowed us to collect hundreds of emails. It was done to commemorate the inaugural launch of our new email program we’re conducting with Mail Chimp. It’s important to have a growing list of emails so you can let people know about contests or other important news like the opening of new locations. Contests are very exciting and provide the following advantages
- Amazing word of mouth advertising for your brand; people are excited to win something so they tell their friends and family! Especially if it’s something like a Disneyland trip where they can bring them along.
- It gets the fans and customers excited and energized about your brand more than any commercial ever could. Basic human psychology teaches us that people are inherently selfish (they want to win something or get something). This is where we use that to our advantage.
- Besides getting the fans excited, it gets YOU excited. Imagine being there and giving away prizes, taking pictures with your customers, and posting it on social media. That’s usually not how your typical day goes.
- It’s usually viral on Social Media, where people love to share other people’s victories and celebrations.
14) Pass out Samples
I always tell our cashiers to never let anyone walk in the store and leave without at least trying something. We often pass out samples of our best-selling chicken Tarna™ and beef shawerma. Passing out free samples is always a great idea. If you’re reading this and you own a restaurant in the mall and not doing this, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.
In places like malls or beaches, there are a lot of people that are bored and just walking around hungry. A free sample passed out in this situation can easily turn into a quick sale. You can even up the ante and have someone stand in the hallway, wearing the company T-shirt or uniform and pass it out there. Be creative and adventurous. We once had a person do this in west LA wearing a chicken costume on the corner of Santa Monica and Sepulveda.
15) Invite Charity participation.
We get tons of calls and emails every week about charities that need money, so we created a new program where we help them do this. Local charities participate by handing out fliers and having people eat at our restaurant. In return, we donate up to 20% of the total receipts to their non-profit organization if they can bring over $1,000 in sales.
Think of what this does. It helps student try our food for the first time. In turn, their families and parents are now introduced to our food. In addition to this, our restaurant looks like someone is throwing a party. We have balloons, ribbons, confetti, face painting for kids, and all around happy campers everywhere. This increases the morale of the entire store, makes us look busier to new customers, and more people hear about the program! It’s a win-win because at the end of the year you can use the donations as a tax deduction. As an added bonus, we are making the community better!
16) Offer delivery
There are a host of new delivery-based companies using apps and drivers to help you take your food to potential clients. These include the local company LA Bite (in Los Angeles) and the national brand Grub Hub. Even Uber is joining by allowing people to be paid drivers to take food for restaurants. It’s an amazing and exciting new stream of income we are looking into right now, so it’s something to consider. It broadens your customer base because many people cant drive and want to avoid traffic, especially the corporate clients ordering during lunch.
17) Offer an Express Check out lane for Take Out
This is a much-requested item from this list by many customers. If you have a separate line for takeout, they will call ahead and use it more often. People hate to wait.
18) Offer Online Ordering
Consider using your web site or apps for ordering. The Chipotle app makes this easy, and many restaurants are experimenting with this. One caveat: you have to make sure the company and system you use if foolproof, lest you upset people by getting the orders wrong (or not getting the order at all). So make sure to do all your homework before you proceed on this one.
Also consider, to make online ordering easier, creating an exclusive app for your restaurant. Branding your business is important. Many people now are online and on iTunes and Google Apps, and you have to be where your customers are. One issue with this is it has to be done well. We had a situation where I created an app with a company based in Florida and the app was not functioning very well. The design was poor; the orders were not coming through, and instead of wowing customers with new technology we had upset and hungry people with wrong orders.
I quickly learned that if you want to make an app, it has to be done with excellence. That means it has to be designed well, easy to use, and orders placed on it have to come through. Chipotle has done this well and so has Starbucks, with their newest app update allowing orders directly from your phone without having to talk to anyone. So do it right or don’t do it at all.
19) Consider the Yellow Pages.
This is a must if you own a Pizza place or other delivery-heavy industry. Many people still use this, and many log on to YP.com and other yellow-page type businesses such as AOL’s City Guide, ZAGAT, and Trip Advisor. If your area is heavy on tourists, you should be doing this.
20) Upgrade the Décor.
Every once in a while, we have to beautify the atmosphere. Some of our older stores need a facelift. When considering one, think of refreshing and exciting colors, higher ceilings, better acoustics, more comfortable chairs and tables, and big-screen TV’s. In the old days, my father used to say the furniture shouldn’t be so comfortable that people sit for hours because we are in the fast food business. A lot has changed since those days.
Nowadays, people want to be comfortable and the environment is much more important than it used to be. Better-looking storefronts, better signage, and new awnings can attract people like moths to a flame. When people see the new designs, they will love it and feel revived. The business itself will see a jump in sales. The use of trees and plants has been known to add a relaxing vibe to the atmosphere. Also consider better colors, a better menu board (even a digital one), and better bathrooms.
21) Bring in outside advisors
If you are a family business, like us, you have been doing this many years and are often closed minded about new ideas or outside influences. Family businesses tend to be tight-knit, holding our cards close to our chest. The problem with this is, often we become tone-deaf to our own problems and issues. Sometimes it takes an outsider to come in and fix things.
Consider using outside advisors when it comes to how to grow the business. You may be surprised how much they can help, bringing in fresh ideas the family never thought of.
22) Participate in blogs.
Create a blog and write in there routinely. Have a blog on your company web site. Make sure the marketing team is in touch with what is going on the social realm. Follow the trends on Twitter and on Facebook which are usually hash tagged and found on the bottom right corner. Many people may end up reading about your business on a blog. Does your restaurant offer senior discounts or special corporate client rates? Blog about it! People want to know.
We created and run our own blog on our web site now, and we have to come up with a whole new blog post every month. This forces us to be creative and come up with new ideas to post to our web site. Thrillist is a great blog right now, which has already featured us twice. LA Weekly has a great restaurant reviews section, as does LA List on Facebook. I will list my top 20 favorite food blogs in the word document so check them out, get inspired, and starting writing your own food and restaurant blog. If you want to check out my own blog, head on over to The Restaurant Marketing Expert™ on WordPress.; I will post that link as well.
23) Create or fix your Google Places profile
Google Places is catching up to the other sites like Yelp and Facebook pages in terms of importance. Check your location page on Google Places. Do they have the right address and phone numbers listed? Sign up and prove that you are the owner with Google (often they verify this via email or regular mail followed by a possible phone call). This is important so people know all the facts about your location. No other site is as important as Google for people searching your business, so do this right away because this is how Google classifies your restaurant. Consider buying Google Adwords and further up your rankings. for this page.
24) Get active on Foursquare
Foursquare is a great platform where people check-in your location and can get deals and information about your restaurant. You can offer something simple like a free drink or other promo, and every time they check in their friends can see where they were. Increased check-ins to your location will rank you higher to others and increase your restaurant’s popularity. Make sure the info is correct on your Foursquare page and be active on their app.
25) Fix the Patio
The patio is a place where people love to congregate and eat. Here in Los Angeles, we have beautiful weather and since it’s usually so hot people love sitting outside. Many of our customers have dogs and can’t bring them inside, so they prefer the patio and they feel their dogs can sit and enjoy time with them. A more beautiful patio will pay for itself many times over. Consider getting heat lamps, better lighting, better seating, weather-resistant furniture and umbrellas with your logo on them. All of this attracts an amazing amount of passers by and will increase foot traffic and therefore, sales.
26) Create a Social Media Poster
This is where people see how they can find your brand. Make it easy for people to find you on Foursquare, Instagram, and Twitter. Ask people to check in. We are not supposed to ask people to rate us on Yelp (as per their guidelines and recommendations), but you can also have the Yelp logo on there. This can be small and attractive with a nice “Welcome” sign. For example for us it can be, “Welcome to Zankou Chicken”.
Connect with us on ZankouChickenLA (our Instagram Handle) and on Twitter at Zankou Chicken LA and on Facebook at ZankouChickenInc. Notice these addresses are somewhat different. That’s because each social media channel has different name requirements and often times, simply using the brand name was taken by E-squatters. So do the best you can and choose handles appropriate for your business. Increase your online visibility by making it easy for customers to find you where they are.
27) Put Yelp on your web site
We have our designated Yelp pages attached on our web site to each location. When people are visiting our site, our Yelp location that corresponds to that location they are looking at is only one click away. This will increase your overall score because now you are sending your best fans to place reviews for you. Of course, we are not overtly asking them to place reviews for us, however that is exactly what’s going to happen. Having a high score on Yelp is important, no matter what your opinion of Yelp may be (and I know for many of us business owners it’s negative and that’s OK.)
28) Participate in Video-based Marketing
There are many channels where you can make creative and cheap videos, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram (they do videos now as you know), and Vine. The younger crowd is heavily using SnapChat, so if you own an ice cream store, hot wings place, or candy shop consider creating a channel there. People love videos and they love interacting with videos in the social space. If you don’t want to do it yourself there are many marketing companies out there now producing videos for cheap.
Make sure to keep creating and posting videos. Not only will you become a better video producer and videographer, but also you may end up with a hit! You never know when one of these videos may go viral. For example once we had former laker Metta World Peace participating with us at a dodge ball tournament. I took my Sony camera and recorded the entire event, which was to help raise money for his charity. Well, guess what, ESPN ended up posting my video on YouTube and linked it to their web site! They even mentioned it on the air during their live television broadcast. My video shot up to over 250,000 views! I will post that video here as an example. So be creative and adventurous! You never know what’s going to happen.
29) Don’t underestimate the power of celebrities.
Here in LA, we treat our celebrities like kings and queens. But with all the magazines and trash talk about many of our gifted artists, it’s easy to take many of them for granted. As far as marketing goes, it’s important to have some celebrity contacts and make sure they visit your restaurant. Never underestimate the power some of these singers, actors, and artists wield on their fans. Some of them have super fans, and these people will follow their every move and read their every tweet. Try starting small, and follow many of your favorite celebrities’ Twitter profiles. Re-tweet them and invite them to try your restaurant for free, in exchange for a simple shot out. Let the positive word of mouth about your new place spread like wildfire!
We’ve been fortunate enough to be inside a song from Beck, be featured twice on Saturday Night LIve, multiple times on New York Times and LA Times about all the actors and artists that eat with us. More recently Hillary Duff was photographed eating at our north Hollywood store by TMZ. Justin Timberlake, Tyra Banks, and many others have been known to tweet about us and eat regularly at Zankou Chicken. Now are these people better than the rest of us? Of course not, we are all created equal, but they undoubtedly carry jour clout.
My dad used to smoke cigars with Rick Dees. He would help him during Christmas and they would both pass out food and gifts to the homeless shelters in downtown LA. In exchange, Rick Dees would give us shout outs and even once invited us to speak on the air at 102.7 KIIS FM. I was terrified! The point is make new celebrity contacts and don’t be shy from these industries because they matter.
30) Do Customer Appreciation Days.
We did this in 2012, when we reached 50 years in business. We gave away $5 whole chickens, $10 family meals, and other door buster deals. We had lines out the door and record attendance.
The only problem was many of these people never came back. So while I do recommend doing Customer Appreciation Days, I also want to make sure we follow up and do our best to make these people customers for life. That is difficult when they are people that just want to take advantage of an unbeatable deal. Sometimes throwing events like this is great just to generate word-of-mouth advertising and raise brand awareness. They are not great for long-term strategy.
31) Frequent buyer cards. These work great for car washes and juice shops, so why not make them a staple at your restaurant? Not only is this a great way to give away something small and reward your loyal customers, but imagine your beautifully created business card sitting inside a customer’s wallet. It’s a constant reminder for them to visit again and again, sitting beside the credit cards like a permanent billboard. Speaking of billboards…
32) Rent a billboard. As I mentioned earlier, if your restaurant is at a major intersection or beside a freeway this can bring in so much foot traffic it will easily pay for itself in 2 weeks and make you profit for the other half of the month. Go for it!
33) Choose a colorful paint job that stands out from adjacent buildings. This has to be done in a way such that it’s not tacky. Get a designer and make your building stand out! It will be noticed 365 days a year and you won’t have to pay for it like you do a billboard.
34) Create or add better signage. In most cities, signage rules require that only one side be allowed on a building per side of the building (or facing the street). As signs have proliferated signage rules and regulations have increased and cities are making it more and more difficult for restaurants and bars to have huge signs. It’s come to the point that in expensive parts of town like Hollywood or Century City, you have to pay thousands of dollars in city fees for permit allowances on any sign that’s out of the ordinary. In some cases these fees exceed $30,000 or more on tall buildings. For rich landlords or expensive restaurants, paying tens of thousands in fees and building permits is still a great deal if that sign can increase gross margins every month. If you have a wall facing a busy street or intersection, consider adding signage or replacing old signage with much better, well –lit replacements.
35) Purchase web site SEO. There are companies that specialize in helping people find your restaurant on Google. They do this buy placing key words and phrases throughout your web site, optimizing it for Google search engine’s robots to make it easier to find. This increases your web site’s rank, and in theory will also increase sales. Consider which key words to add, and use a web site optimization company to help in this effort. It really is a specialized task so I don’t recommend you try it alone.
36) Revise your web site. I am just finishing up a huge revision of our web site. How long did it take me? Over 18 months. Now why would I work on a project almost every week for 18 months before I even launch a new web site? Because that’s how long it takes. Writing this book was a long process with many twists and turns that took me over 4 years. Was it worth it? You bet. Your web site is your online hub, and it’s very important to make it shiny and looking as nice as possible. I recommend re-designing your restaurant web site every 7-8 years.
37) Create amazing paper menus. Paper menus are like walking billboards. People love taking them back to work, back at home, and often pass them out to friends and family. At the office, people look over them and order together. I can’t stress enough the importance of a beautiful, well-made paper menu. It is vital that it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye, with multiple photographs of all your food items. I worked for over 8 months on the recent revision of our catering menu. I took my time and re-took many of the shots from the previous menu, sharpened up the descriptions, and added many new items customers were asking for. Just like the web site, the paper menu should be revisited and re-created every few years with new pictures and an amazing new layout.
38) Make powerful business cards that stand out. Business cards are important for your patrons to be able to grab before they leave. Sometimes menus are too large for purses or wallets. Place business cards just beside the POS system. Make sure it has the company logo, the name and phone number of the local manager, his or her email, a map of the location showing major intersections so people can use it for directions, and of course the phone and fax numbers. I would also put a small catch phrase. Right now we are simply using, “Ask us about fundraising” on the business card bottom left. You can also place a nice quote from a third party newspaper or famous source. This increases customer’s perception of your brand and establishes respect in those that do not know the brand well. Business cards are easy to keep, easy to pass out, and easy to hold in wallet sleeves.
39) Place downloadable PDF menus on the bottom of the food section of your web site. I also encourage you to place it on the footer. This is the bottom part of web sites that permeate every page. This will help people, in impulse, to download the menu and place orders. Even if you don’t have direct online ordering this will increase sales because your menu will become easy to find and easy to use.
40) Add a drive through. A drive through permit is notoriously difficult to get, but if it’s in the right neighborhood with enough room for vehicles to maneuver inside the parking area they are attainable. A location with a drive through will beat the sales of one without a drive through any day of the week. Many Starbucks locations have seen double-digit sales increases due to having a drive through. It’s been so effective that their corporate office now seeks out only drive through and/or corner locations.
41) Make up-selling easy for the entire team. Train employees, place posters near the POS system, and use the paper menu to list the expensive items as most alluring. This is called 360 Selling™, where the entire team from the cashiers to the cooks is trained to sell to the customer in a professional and courteous manner.
42) Buy radio ads.
43) Purchase TV ads
44) Use gift certificates to give away to organizations at raffles.
45) Rent booths and festivals to increase brand recognition.
46) Purchase banners at baseball stadiums, basketball stadiums, and football fields in every high school in your vicinity. Not only are you encouraging students to be involved in sports by helping their sports’ program, you are probably purchasing the best “bang for your buck” advertising. The students and parents will be viewing your banner all year, getting hungry, and buying from you whether they like it or not. Put a picture of food on the banner to make people hungry, not just the logo or name. Names don’t make people hungry, amazing food photography makes people hungry. Trust me.
47) Purchase advertising on Yelp. Not only will your competition be barred from advertising on your page, but you will get more hits on your restaurant’s Yelp location page.
48) Put Yelp deals on your page. People already use Yelp every day. Why not put in an offer for a free side, a free drink, or “buy one get one free” (BYGY) wrap? People go crazy for these Yelp offers and love to use their mobile phones to get them.
49) Place nice awnings outside beside the patio. A bright-colored awning is it’s own beautiful sign. Notice how almost all the coffee shops use them, particularly the green ones Starbuck’s uses. Use a color familiar from your brand or logo, one people will easily recognize. A beautifully made awning is like a stop sign for moving eyeballs and is sure to garner attention.
50) Rent a blimp. This is a bit extreme and expensive, but if you have many locations and there is a huge sporting event, there is no better way to get people’s attention. They have no choice but to see your “message in the sky”. Just like what Good Year did to tires, we can do to our restaurant brands.
51) Use coupons and deals like ValPack and Pennysaver. When you do this make sure the deal you offer is not so irresistible that it creates a demand for coupons all the time. You want them to try it once, and pay full price thereafter.
52) Rent a small plane to fly your banner. They often do this beside the beach. In places like Santa Monica and Miami, it’s a daily occurrence. We see famous brands like Bacardi advertised all over Miami, or for buying tables at clubs like Mansion and Liv. Liv is a small but famous club at a resort called Fontainebleau a few miles north of Miami Beach. They use small planes to get their message out to club and beach goers every weekend, particularly around spring break.
One time, I will never forget, we were in Miami when my friend Kevin yelled, “Come outside and look at this you guys are not going to believe it!
He yelled in such a dramatic way that caught me off guard.
What is it? I said.
After we went outside the balcony I saw something I had never seen before: A helicopter suspended above the amazingly beautiful, blue Atlantic Ocean. It was in the middle of an amazing light show it was conducting for a party beneath, on the patio of the world famous Fountain blue Hotel. Bacardi had rented out the entire Hotel pool area as well as the bar. Dangling from the Helicopter was a DJ spinning above the ocean inside a glass cage. It was surreal. We could not believe our eyes. Why would anyone rent a helicopter, have it take a DJ up above the ocean, only to spin and conduct a light show for a few people and the fish? The cost, we later found out, was over $1.5 million. Chump change for Bacardi. It was a sight we will never forget, as long as we live. It was so unique and wonderful, a true spectacle of sight and sound few have ever seen or will ever see.
So dare to dream and advertise in different, unconventional ways.