Regional Restaurant Serves Digital Printing

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Eat n' Park, a western Pennsylvania restaurant chain, helps maintain its local image with a new digital printing technology that lets small and midsize companies enjoy the benefits of commingling.


The chain's direct mail programs have achieved response rates from the high single digits into the double digits, said Adam Golomb, director of marketing for Eat n' Park, Pittsburgh. It looks for its mail campaigns to generate sales double or triple the cost of the campaign.


The 55-year-old chain, with 75 restaurants, offers service somewhere between casual dining and fast food, Golomb said. High volume at low prices is the heart of Eat n' Park's business, so the restaurant must encourage repeat visits.


Eat n' Park uses mail in its affinity programs, encouraging customers to return to the restaurants, and in new-resident campaigns, he said. With digital print technology, the mailers are made to look as if they came directly from an Eat n' Park restaurant near the consumer.


For example, consumers who sign up for Eat n' Park's birthday program receive a mailer offering a free entrée on their birthday from the manager of their local Eat n' Park. The mailer contains a photo of the manager, and some consumers who respond thank the manager personally for sending the offer, Golomb said.


"We really are about the local neighborhood," he said. "We want the mailer to feel like it came from the restaurant in that area."


The chain also has a frequent-diner program offering discounts for return customers. In each case, Eat n' Park measures response in the mail campaigns by the number of direct mail coupons returned by customers.


Eat n' Park's new-resident program automatically ships an introductory mailer to residents when they move into the area. Eat n' Park's image as a local chain is critical to its brand, so it's important to begin a relationship with new residents when they arrive, Golomb said.


SmartLeadsUSA, Palm Harbor, FL, provides printing and fulfillment for Eat n' Park. Mail volumes for the campaigns are typically small, sometimes involving runs of fewer than 5,000 pieces.


Previously, small runs could be a problem because printers increased per-piece costs, Golomb said. SmartLeadsUSA charges the same per-piece cost regardless of volume, and digital print technology allows a high degree of personalization in four colors.


According to SmartLeadsUSA, the print and fulfillment house uses a proprietary system that arranges print jobs in ZIP sortation order before printing. As a result, commingling savings can be applied to small jobs.


"We're looking for an efficient way to do direct mail," Golomb said. "We want to stand out from the competition."


Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing, and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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