Free Dinner

I remember hearing a story about a millionaire who started Empire Auto Glass. His name was Rick Chance Rick Chance - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Rick Chance was a Tempe, Arizona-based businessman, known throughout the Western United States for founding and advertising Empire Auto Glass, an auto windshield replacement company that dominated the industry by offering free meals at local restaurants. The commercials were a hit with the public, and the free meals fueled a surge in business that took Empire Glass from a one-man operation in Tucson in 1982 to a six-state operation with gross revenue of $13 million a year when he died. Chance took home $2.1 million in profits in 2001.
If you go on to read the story about Mr Chance you will find that his personal life was a real mess and ended tragically. However, as a business owner he was highly successful and grew his business by advertising FREE DINNERS.
Since hearing that story I became intrigued with the idea to give away free dinners for qualifying window cleaning customers. I went so far as to canvas local mom and pop restaurants asking if they would be interested in providing us with buy one get one free coupons that we could hand out to our customers. In return I would advertise them on our website, flyers, post card etc…free of charge. They all pretty much told me to take a hike.
I put the idea on the back burner for a while. Recently I found this website Incentive & Loyalty Solutions | $25 Gift Certificates for less than $10. Redeemable at thousands of restaurants nationwide. From casual to elegant dining and featuring many popular cuisine types, Gift Certificates offer your gift recipients an enjoyable dining experience at an affordable cost to you.
Thinking about purchasing a 100 to start and advertising them this Spring.
Just some food for thought.

Follow up questions:

  1. Do any of you offer this type of advertising?
  2. Would you not offer this? Why?
  3. If you would offer, what would qualify your client for the free meal?

Hey George. I have been using since last fall and have given out a number of certificates to customers. I’m up in the air about how they are TRULY received by my customers. One, since they generally have to spend at least $10 of their own to get $25 free and two- when I print them it it obvious they are just a printed webpage. How do you plan to present these?

I believe you can Choose Format - Electronic Certificates, Gift Cards or Paper Gift Certificates
I would attach a gift card with invoice.

is their a miniuim purchase amount required? on the site that gives you the certificate?

George, are you going to go with the actual plastic gift card which can be redeemed at any participating place? They don’t give a price on that option as I can see. The paper and electronic versions are very economical but not as special.

As soon as we order I will come back with the details regarding pricing, gift cards versus electronic etc…

My question too, is what qualifies a customer for the gift certificate? I like the idea tho.

Sharen, Great question. I am thinking about this. Maybe a client has to spend a minimum of a $120.00 or $250.00 to qualify. Or, offer only good for exterior and interior window cleaning combined. Am looking for feedback on this.

A sales rep got back to me today regarding the gift cards. You have to purchase a minimum of 50. The price per $25.00 gift card if you order between 50-2000 is $3.50 apeice. You do get the plastic gift card for that price. The reipient of that card does have to spend at least $10.00 out of pocket to be able to use.

That’s pretty decent pricing. I can usually get the paper or electronic versions for $2 for $25 where the recipient has to spend at least $10. Once in a blue moon for $1, probably when the month is almost over. So the plastic card which looks WAY more professional costs about $1.50 per. That sounds pretty good. I might switch to that and just use the paper certificates I have left for myself and friends. They definitely are valid as I’ve used them personally before.

I navigated the restaurant finder pertaining to the areas or zip codes where we might like to advertise the gift certificates. 56 participating restaurants within a 15 mile radius. When I changed it to 5 miles only 8. Would like to see more places to choose from. I agree that the price is very good. You can also use their logo for advertising pending their approval.

So with the plastic cards, do they give the recipient a choice of any participating restaurants or is it for just one specific like I’ve been doing?

Dan, From what I learned when speaking to the the rep, your customer will follow three steps to redeem. On the back of the card they will be directed to the website. 1.Punch in zip code. 2.Choose from list of restaurants available. 3. Pick and print that specific restaurants coded coupon and use. The card is just a vehicle that gets them to the restaurant of their liking.

As the season kicks in it should be interesting to see how this works!