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Blog at Chefify

Effectively Sponsoring in Your Local Community

May 14 2019 - 9:41am
When you chose the ideal location for your restaurant, you must have had a target market in mind. Right? Your location determines the kind of food you serve, the ambience you look to create within the restaurant and the type of patron you’re hoping to attract. But getting customers to come through your doors and support your business is more complicated than simply choosing the right address.

You have to become part of the fabric of the community you wish to serve; after all, food and how we consume it has always been a social affair. Success in the hospitality industry is built on trust and the positive experiences you are able to offer to everyone who interacts with your restaurant.

To thrive in the age of the more conscientious and purpose-driven consumer, businesses have to adopt stronger corporate social responsibility (CSR) models. This doesn’t have to be a costly endeavour and can, in fact, be incredibly beneficial for your public profile.

The key to finding the right way to give back, however, is to make sure that you have a clear vision of who you are as a business and ensure that the organisations you associate yourself with align with your core values.

Sponsoring locally impacts your direct environment – the people that matter the most to your business; it’s a cost-effective way to create awareness and encourage real, long-term patronage.

What is sponsorship?

Sponsorship is the act of contributing something of value to a person or an organisation, partly as a goodwill gesture, and partly for the benefit of receiving positive press and free advertising.

By sponsoring a cause or event, you do not necessarily have to offer cash. Your time, expertise, and unused resources could go a long way to improving the lives of people in your community.

Why should restaurants sponsor?

On an elementary level, giving back to your community helps to boost prosperity and create sustainability, which in turn means longevity for your business.

From an economic perspective, sponsoring enables your restaurant to capitalise on free advertising and exposure while turning your customers and employees into evangelists.

Does sponsorship bring tangible results?

Sponsorship is only as effective as your planning and understanding of your market. In order to get any financial results, you will have to carefully select the events and organisations you collaborate with. Do they reflect your corporate values? Does the cause matter to your core customer base?

Ultimately, not everything you sponsor will yield a measurable result, but as long as your intentions are sincere and your affiliation with the beneficiary isn’t going to damage your brand in any way, the results can be very positive.

How to measure effectiveness:

  • Ask your customers what brought them into your restaurant.

  • Hand out coupons or discount vouchers to attendees of the event you’ve sponsored.

  • Track your social media mentions and assess the value you’ve received through media exposure as a result of your sponsorship.

The major return on investment will come from the perception your customers and employees form of your business. Promoting sustainability; reducing waste; improving working conditions; educating and nurturing underprivileged and vulnerable individuals in your community are all ways to build an ethical brand. As Forbes recently stated, “People want empathy”.

But of course, businesses don’t run on goodwill alone. When deciding to become a sponsor, you should insist on exclusivity and prominent visibility of your logo. The relationship should be mutually beneficial, and you want to proudly share your association, so ask to be involved in the decisions surrounding the aesthetics and positioning of your content.

What kind of sponsorship is right for you?

When deciding what and who to sponsor, your first priority, as mentioned before, is to choose something that aligns with your mission statement – but you should also check that this cause resonates with your customers and employees.

Examples of ways sponsor :

  • Local youth sports teams or events – You could sponsor uniforms, training facilities or prizes. This is a great way to get your logo seen by families and other possible target audiences. You could also offer vouchers to team members and their families, encouraging people to come to your restaurant after a game.

  • Educational events –  Your restaurant could host events centered around learning. For example, why not invite unemployed people from your local community to come and train in your kitchen and learn useful skills to help them find a job. You could also sponsor events at your local culinary college. This is a great way to identify potential future employees.

  • Prizes and cash donations – It may be fitting for your restaurant to donate meal vouchers or prizes for local events and charity drives. If you’d like to generate cash for a charity, you could place a collection jar near your till and invite patrons to also contribute.

  • Donate unused ingredients/resources – If you’re upgrading your interiors or equipment, find a local business or charity that could benefit from up-cycling your unwanted furnishings or appliances. You could also donate leftover, unused ingredients to food banks.

 

If you’re a new restaurant, your advertising budget is likely to be fairly minimal. This is when sponsorship can really help you to establish yourself as a good corporate citizen while also generating awareness and engagement with your customer base in a very positive and practical way.

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