At Jersey Mike's, one of the first orders of business for a franchisee opening a new store is to pick a local charity to team up with. Each franchisee selects a cause they feel passionately about, such as a local school or children's hospital. Our mission statement, "Giving... Making a Difference in Someone's Life," is part of the Jersey Mike's culture that begins with each location's opening.
We want every store to open big, so our strategy calls for handing out between 10,000 and 20,000 "Free Sub with Donation" grassroots cards to people who live or work within a mile or so from the new location, as well as to supporters of the selected charity. We generally provide a three-day window to redeem the free sub, which generates traffic and excitement at the store level.
The days before our openings are critical for crew training, community relations, and grassroots efforts. The night before, we hold a private VIP Event serving a variety of hot and cold subs to local officials and dignitaries, school administrators, friends, and family. The two days before are spent handing out Free Sub cards and menus. These two days are so critical to a successful opening that corporate crews are brought in to help. During the first three days of the grand opening, when Free Sub cards are being redeemed, bag stuffers and bounce-back coupons are distributed to bring back new customers at least one more time in the coming days. Offers vary from free chip and drink to $1 or $2 off the next purchase.
After opening, direct mail campaigns begin targeting local households and businesses. These mailings, which feature our menu, extend between four and six weeks after opening and include a variety of dated offers. In-store efforts over the first two months of business focus on building important marketing databases, such as our email club, customer loyalty program, and text messaging club.
Our data over the past two years suggests that strong grand openings are critical to the continued success of a store. In fact, stores that open with strong sales generally maintain strong sales after a full year of being open - and beyond.
Rich Hope is chief marketing officer at Jersey Mike's Subs. Contact him at 732-223-4044 or go to www.jerseymikes.com.
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