Buckhead Beats the Summer Slowdown
(A case study from the October 2006 issue of Inside Direct Mail)
For most of the year, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group’s nine Atlanta eateries are some of the area’s most popular dining destinations. But even they are prone to a fate that befalls many restaurants: the summer slowdown. Three years ago, the group decided to do something about that, launching a multi-wave direct mail campaign designed to drive business all summer long. That program still is going strong today, with a mailing from the first of the summer’s drops landing in the Who’s Mailing What! Archive in May (Archive code #521-707214-0605).
For a prospect, the Dine Around Program is pretty simple: She receives this 5-1/4” x 7-1/4” envelope effort in the mail. Inside is a fully negotiable $30 gift card for one of Buckhead’s nine restaurants, affixed to a cardstock, four-panel brochure. The brochure explains the terms of the offer:
“Experience extraordinary dining using the enclosed $30 Dine Around Card at the specified restaurant this month. When you do, you will receive another card to use at a different restaurant the next month. This giving continues throughout the summer, if you use each month’s Dine Around Card.”
But for Buckhead and Fulfillware, the Atlanta-based mailing services company that worked with it on this campaign, the program is a little more complex.
First, there’s the multi-wave component of the program. “The original design was to do a really large mailing at the start of the season and let people carry it through,” recounts Stacie Hanna, Buckhead’s director of marketing. “But when I crunched the numbers, we realized we would have great response up front and less toward the end. To maintain response over a four month period, we knew we would have to keep the mailings going out.” The end result is four mail cycles: 25,000 households in May; 20,000 each in June and July; and 10,000 in August. Each drop occurs on the 25th or 26th of the month, and the card is valid for the following month, explains Fulfillware President Henry Lewin.