late great DJ Eddie Gallaher could make you hungry in just 30
seconds. Eddie had a knack for delivering an amazing read for a
restaurant. I’m not sure if he dined at every place he endorsed,
but he sure made it sound that way. And it wasn’t just the food;
the atmosphere was always outstanding.
but effective: Radio makes food sound as good as it tastes.
the art of the restaurant read on radio may be behind us, but there
are still many ways for you to obtain revenue and have fun with food.
Let’s explore how relationships with the kings of cuisine in your
town can benefit your billing and boost your esteem with your
ON THESE IDEAS
decades, Jerry’s Subs & Pizza, based in Gaithersburg, Md., a
Washington suburb, ran a “write your own coupon” promotion on the
radio that was a huge favorite with hungry Beltway residents. Dana
Siller, the gastric genius behind the concept, placed a media buy and
offered a substantial discount to drive traffic to the stores.
station’s listeners loved it because it was simple. All they had to
do was write down the station call letters on a piece of paper with
the according discount and take it any Jerry’s. The stations
themselves liked it because of the ad buy and because it had
listeners remembering to write down the call letters. While the
written diary is history, it’s still a good idea to have listeners
remember whom they’ve been listening to and who rewards them for
keys to this promotion: The product has to be something people really
want; the offer has to be at least 15 percent off the usual price;
the time frame in which the offer is accepted has be limited so it
creates demand; and every store must willingly and without question
accept the deal when a listener presents the coupon.
radio station has an audience listening during major mealtimes —
breakfast, lunch and dinner. Many a morning show team has chowed down
on delivered food and sung the chef’s praises while they describe
what they are eating. Often, however, the missing element is the
radio station sales department, which should be selling these
restaurants either promotional time or actual spots.
food itself is not enough of a payoff for the station to be giving up
airtime. If the restaurant can’t afford spots on the air, maybe a
sponsorship on a website section would work better for them.
noon, there are many ways to work in a lunch sponsor, but they all
fail if they don’t drive action to the place of business. Usually
the mistake comes from airing generic reads for the restaurant.
Instead, the copy should be updated with daily specials and offers
for that day only. Example: “Today’s ’90s Nooners’ features
the best hits of the ’90s and is brought to you by the Third Street
Diner. Today the diner is featuring delicious gazpacho soup to cool
ya down, and if you mention Q93, you’ll get dessert free — that’s
from noon to 2 p.m. today only.”
works well for office discounts, too, especially for places that
deliver. If the offer is good enough and delivery is free, it’s a
fast way to move larger quantities of food. Example: “Charlie’s
Chinese has an office special today with free delivery of their lunch
buffet with enough food for your entire office, up to 20 people. If
you’re the boss, treat the staff, or get your buddies together for
an inexpensive great meal delivered to you.”
is the right time for happy hour specials and romantic nights out.
This is the where the previously described classic live read — or
recorded endorsement — really rocks. Timing is everything with
dinner, so start the spots about 4 p.m. to plant the seed and
continue to air them until 7 p.m.
is true that restaurants typically don’t have deep pockets and they
do rely on results, so it’s vital to keep checking to be sure that
what you’re executing on-air is actually moving the product. The
good news is that many restaurateurs are entrepreneurs and are open
to investing in sound conceptual marketing.
Lapidus is president of Lapidus Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.