Friday, January 30, 2009

Keeping in Touch with Customers

I have signed up with a number of buffet restaurants to receive offers and coupons. Many of the chain buffets have a place on their websites to do this. What I receive are infrequent coupons by email. The two soup and salad chains - Sweet Tomatoes and SouperFresh send coupons quite frequently. They are always offering two for one deals. Sadly, I am more than five hundred miles away from the nearest location to use the coupons, but I am always happy to see that they are keeping in touch with their customers and making them offers to come and dine.

I also get a very different communication from a buffet restaurant. It is mailed to me just about monthly and it comes from The Family Cupboard Restaurant in Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania. This is a restaurant that I have written about many times. Look back through the articles and you will find very nice things said about it. What is particularly nice is this little four page newsletter that they mail out to their customers.

There are no coupons printed in it. There are no big sales pitches. What there is are nice things to say about their employees, recipes, cooking tips, household tips, and a thoughtful letter from the restaurant's owner, John Dienner relevant to the month or the season. Rarely do you get to know the owner of a buffet. John writes this letter from the heart. For example, in December his letter was about the meaning of Christmas and how it is a season to reach out and help neighbors and friends. When I first saw the recipes I thought that these were recipes of things served in the restaurant, but no - they are a variety of home-cooked things that are just good to eat. (I would love to see their recipe for Chicken Corn Soup as it is served at the restaurant, but they are not giving that away too easily.)

I always enjoy getting the "Cupboard Courier". It is like getting a letter from a friend. One of the regular articles is about a featured employee - not a special employee of the month who has done something outstanding, but just about one of the employees and how they came to work at the Family Cupboard, what they do there, and how that person is appreciated. These articles are also written by John, the owner, and you get a real feeling that he values the people who are working for him. When you are in the restaurant you get the feeling from the employees that they enjoy working there too.

It is such a simple, homey little newsletter but it is big on warmth and bits of information that have nothing really to do with the restaurant, but things that you might want to share with friends if you were writing to them. It is really an extra step that this restaurant has gone to make their customer feel like part of the family.

The newsletter is professionally printed and mailed - I am sure at an expense that they certainly do not need to spend, but they do. Where you might expect a mailing such as this to hit your over the head to come back and dine there, this one is just a subtle reminder that the restaurant is there when you want to come and visit. I like that. There may be an offer or two in addition, but this is not included every month.

If you would like to see the most recent edition of "The Cupboard Courier" follow this link. If you would like to have it emailed to you regularly, send an email to Kyle at To have it mailed to me I filled out a card at the restaurant, but I am pretty sure if you request it at the Contact Us page on thier website they will send it to you too. The Family Cupboard website may be found at the side of this page.

There used to be a State advertising slogan for Pennsylvania - "You have a friend in Pennsylvania." Getting this newsletter from John at the Family Cupboard I feel that I really do.

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