Restaurateurs get creative with winter promotions

Published on
January 22, 2012

Mikee’s Seafood in Gulf Shores, Ala., is selling nearly every item on its menu for USD 0.25 each on 23 January in celebration of the restaurant’s 25th anniversary.

“I just wanted something different that stands out,” said Mikee’s Seafood owner Edwin Spence, who also owns the Shrimp Basket chain and The Steamer Baked Oyster Bar.

The event — which also allows patrons to donate to the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and visit a petting zoo in the parking lot — has already gained attention.

“The local media attention is huge. Friends and regulars are calling, wondering how they will be able to get in the restaurant that night,” said Spence.

While the “25 cent” event is costing Mikee’s between USD 25,000 and USD 30,000, Spence believes he will get a return on his investment “ten-fold in the days, weeks and months to come.” Spence knows that the promotion will introduce new customers to the restaurant and raise awareness among existing customers.

Along the “25 cent” vein, Wellington, New Zealand-based Hooked on Seafood is offering its online shoppers USD 1 fish portions. The first 1,000 customers who submit their orders online on 25 January will receive USD 1 portions of fish. They can choose from three different species that can be prepared in one of three ways: natural, crumbed or marinated. 

And on 11 January, Boston-based Legal Sea Foods, which has about 30 East Coast restaurants, offered customers who purchased an entrée a cup of clam chowder for USD 1 (normally priced at USD 4.95 each). An amusing e-mail promotion displayed an edited dollar bill with George Washington drinking a cup of clam chowder.

Like Legal, other seafood restaurateurs recognize that winter is the perfect time to market seafood soups and chowders. The Winter Park Fish Co. in Winter Park, Fla., recently posted this message on its Facebook wall: “I’m thinking, with the cool weather, come out and enjoy our Cioppino Seafood Stew or Bouillabaisse Mediterranean Seafood Stew!”

Contributing Editor

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