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Entrepreneurs Panel

Brian Hay
Julie Meyer
Jeremy Roberts
Debbie Pierce
Jennie Johnson
Michael Oliver
Laura Tenison
Charlie Mullins
Richard O'Sullivan
David Pollock
Steve Purdham
Tony Caldeira

Discount vouchers?

Jeremy Roberts

Joined forces with Tim Bacon in 1996 to set up Life Restaurants, which launched the Via Vita restaurant chain. They opened the Living Room on Deansgate in 1999 -the first of a 13-unit chain that their company, Living Ventures, sold in July 2007 for £28 million – and did a deal with The Restaurant Group in 2005 which saw the pair take control of the Est Est Est estate, since rebranded as Blackhouse Grill and Gusto.

Question: 

I run a couple of suburban bistros and have been struggling with footfall since Christmas. A friend has suggested distributing money-off vouchers to attract custom but I’m afraid this smacks of desperation, and may just erode already narrow margins without drumming up extra business. What do you reckon?

Answer: 

If you are seriously considering discounting your product you need to ask a couple of questions:

  1. How can i target the distribution so i get new customers out of this?
  2. Am i just going to discount the business i would have got anyway?

If you’ve decided on how the discount will work, designed your campaign and seriously considered these points, I would recommend giving it a go. Many highly successful businesses are currently running promotions. However, any campaign must be measurable so if you are unsure on any of these points it could be dangerous if your top line and margins are already threatened. Get it right though and it can be the catalyst a business needs to grow more organically.

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