LOS ANGELES — The Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo kicked off Aug. 23 with up to 15,000 industry professionals seeing what's hot in the foodservice segment. Restaurant operators strolled the aisles sampling food — from chicken wings to soy sausage — and a large selection of flavored coffees and smoothies.
 
Operators also looked over displays from more than 650 exhibitors, discussing products from frozen, roasted vegetables to a device that can count a cash drawer in minutes.
 
Food Network Personality Guy Fieri drew a packed crowd to the Hot Spot with his discussion on handling TV interviews and live cooking segments. Attendees also crowded the theaters where industry professionals spoke on topics from brand licensing to going green.
 
Boris Bugarski, chief executive officer and president of mUrgent, also drew a full house of operators wanting to learn about e-mail marketing. Bugarski shared tips on how to create effective e-mail newsletters.
 
Creating an e-club is a good way to stay in touch with customers when they are not in the store, Bugarski said. Employees also need to buy in to the program and push it with every customer. Sign-up slips need to be located at all touchpoints throughout the store for customers to easily find and use.
 
The e-mail newsletter itself, Bugarski said, should adhere to the following suggestions in order to achieve a good open rate:
  • Subject lines need to be relevant, build curiosity and be under 28 characters long.
  • Clicks within the newsletter need to have clear, specific calls to action that are placed in a Z pattern, starting in the upper right-hand corner.
  • As important as design is, the message is more important. Draw customers in with popular calls to action, such as two-for-one or free-item specials.
  • The best days to send e-mail newsletters are Tuesday through Thursday, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or at 3:30 p.m.
  • Every e-mail newsletter or alert should also have a reminder of bigger ticket sales, such as catering or party rooms. Building a birthday club and anniversary database also is a component of creating an e-club, and reminders celebrating those events should be sent individually and well before the date — and include reminders of catering or party rooms.

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