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A 56.8% Increase in Sales After 9/11


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2002 wasn't an honest year for several restaurants. The September 11th attack on the dual Towers really hurt sales. 

But instead of make excuses, Jeff Mohler of the Marblehead Grille and Chowder House in Easton, PA decided to require the offensive. He began that specialize in Neighborhood Marketing part way through the primary quarter of the year. 2nd quarter results showed a 24.4% increase over the previous year (after all discounts), and Third Quarter results showed continued growth with 36.2%. But Jeff was finding it very difficult to seek out time to manage his marketing as his volume increased. within the 3rd quarter, Jeff installed and commenced using an automatic marketing software program.


In Q4 Jeff showed a 59.3% increase over October of the previous year. the ultimate result: Business was up 32% for the year, because of Neighborhood marketing and software that allowed Jeff to manage his new marketing. 



Prior to the tragedy on 9/11 , things were coasting along nicely in 2001 on track for a 5%+ increase. due to the impact of 9/11,the year ended with only a 1.4% sales increase. 

JANUARY 2002: 

I decided to require the plunge into Direct Response. I found a bucket of three year old Entry Blanks from our 3rd Anniversary Contest in March 1999, called out about 150 January birthdays, designed and sent a card offering a "FREE One-pound Lobster Dinner" to those 150 people. We also began handing out guest Information Forms (GIFs) to collect data from our guests. By the top of the month we had redeemed 28 cards bringing in 90 guests, created $ 2,335.25 in sales, gathered info totaling 1800 new people for our database and posted a sales decrease of 4.5%, for January. 


Things began to enhance slowly and by the top of the first Quarter we had worked our way back to a 4.4% sales increase with the database surpassing 5,000 people's birthdays and anniversaries. 

APRIL - JUNE 2002: 

The 2nd Quarter really became the convincing time on behalf of me as we sent out 600, 900 and 1,000 Birthday cards, redeemed nearly 1,000 (close to 40%) and generated $48,000 in sales after discounts, a 24.4% increase. We also added Anniversary Cards to our mailing beginning in June with about 500 cards being mailed for the month, 182 redeemed and created over $7,500 in added sales. The guest-per- card number was less than birthdays. i assume people invite friends to assist celebrate birthdays but do the anniversary thing mainly as couples. 


Data management became more complicated as we passed 12,000 entries. Excel and Mail Merge were handling the work and spitting out labels. The cards, now numbering about 300 every week had to be labeled, stamped with the expiration date and a stamp - tons of labor , but worthwhile . I had examine various software programs and ordered a (software) package..... It arrived in mid-July as we were within the throes of baseball league Championship baseball, spending almost three weeks on the road. 

The neat things about the restaurant marketing software are: 1) printing the address, birth date and expiration date all on the cards directly (you can actually do the postage at an equivalent time also, but i have never gone that far), plus 2) the power to log redemptions and track customer usage. I felt this to be extremely helpful as we move forward and need to try to to more sophisticated tracking and developing of specific Guest Lists.

The 3rd Quarter boomed and mainly in my absence¡­which felt good. A 56.8% sales increase moved us to 27.3% after three quarters. i used to be ecstatic and slowly being convinced this Direct Response was great things - controllable, measurable and profitable. 


The 4th Quarter caused some marketing creativity within the sense that we didn't want too many of us redeeming cards in December, typically our biggest sales month of the year. We stopped mailing cards from Immaculate Conception - 26, but still ended the month up 24.4%, a pleasant number but an enormous drop from October and November. We ended the year up 31%.