Flip.to helps hotels & restaurants boost their brand & earn more guests.
With Sage Restaurant Group going into its 7th year, Stephanie Ehrler joined the company as their Corporate Marketing Director. She is responsible for the marketing initiatives, overseeing the company’s annual planning and implements strategies for long-term brand development.
According to their mission statement, “Sage Restaurant Group creates experiences where food, drink and inspired design meet and mix.” These independent restaurants, which are adjacent to hotels, cater to a clientele “hungry for life and eager to savor new experiences in which food is an entrée to adventure.”
As one of SRG’s core values, Stephanie has sought out the latest innovative and leading edge services available in today’s marketplace. While restaurants are just beginning to see the benefit of adding social media to the marketing mix, Stephanie has been using a number of these tools and platforms for a while to differentiate her restaurants from the competition.
Since SRG just launched with Flip.to, we thought it was a good chance to sit down with her to learn more about her successes with online marketing and how restaurants can benefit from social media.
Since a few SRG restaurants have used social deal sites, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, what are your thoughts regarding these sites in terms of attracting traffic and ROI?
We typically avoid discounting and couponing offers on sites such as Groupon and Living Social in normal business conditions, but for new openings and slow times, it can be a great way to drive new diners to our restaurants. For restaurants, it’s key to ask the coupon users for their email addresses, solicit their comments, and send managers to their tables to introduce them to the restaurant. We feel that these types of initiatives are for awareness and not looked upon as a true revenue generator rather as a marketing expense.
How do you promote your restaurants’ loyalty membership programs online and how do you see Flip.to helping?
Customer loyalty programs are very effective in developing and maintaining brand loyal customers. The rewards we offer our guests bring them back and they continue to pick our brands consistently. We promote our programs through our websites, social media platforms, and within our four walls by equipping our staff with promotional information to share with potential new members. We are excited about furthering our customer loyalty platform with Flip.to. Their approach in using social media takes guest loyalty to the next level. Allowing a guest to publicly earn their prize, gives them instant satisfaction, they are then able to share this gratification with their friends and followers.
Aside from turning guests into advocates, Flip.to helps restaurants learn who their guests are. That means restaurants can start building a relationship with the guest, and have a better shot at drawing them back. Is there a difference in the value of a new guest versus a returning guest? Is that value different depending on the restaurant?
We value all of our new & returning guests. We look forward to implementing the Flip.to model in turning guests into advocates and how this will work for our restaurants in bringing new guests to our businesses and further rewarding our current guests. We have tasked Scout Ideas, our web development partner with implementing all the pages on our websites to ensure that the visitors have a consistent brand experience that is powered by Flip.to — as great as a tool Flip.to is, it’s important that we’re engaged to be sure they’re delivering a consistently branded experience through the registration and redemption process for our guests.
We noticed SRG has a significant presence on YouTube. How effectiveis YouTube for your restaurants?
Sage Restaurant Group is a team of passionate industry-leading restaurateurs who excel in the realm of F&B operations by creating and operating successful concepts that are distinctly branded, innovative and highly designed. We use our YouTube account to feature our distinct businesses and culture. 2012 has been deemed the Year of The Video by marketing gurus across all industries with an emphasis on hospitality, we look forward to building onto this platform in the New Year and building further awareness of our brands through the return on engagement that videos provide
Not to make you choose sides but… favorite dish of all the SRG restaurants?
A very difficult question to answer. My all-time favorite is the Arroz a la Cazuela, from Mercat a la Planxa, it is a very homey dish with an amazing balance of flavors. (description: Saffron Scented Broth with Maine Lobster, Chicken, Chorizo, Rabbit, Shaved Artichoke Salad & Piquillo Aioli)
And we have to ask… who within the SRG organization was the inventor of the “cupcake slider”?
Megan Ford from The Original Dinerant, in Portland, Oregon. She is crazy creative & passionate about pastry. She was recently named employee of the month for The Original Dinerant.