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Kiwi Restaurateurs Tackle RWC Diners

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

As the hospitality sector prepares for the long-awaited Rugby World Cup, a new American Express Selects Dining survey* shows that while three out of four local diners will continue to hit their favourite eateries, one in four say they will eat out less often during the tournament.

Restaurants are expecting a bonanza during the 45 days of the Rugby World Cup, says Mike Egan, co-owner Monsoon Poon and Osteria del Toro and Restaurant Association of New Zealand spokesperson.

"With more than 60,000 international visitors the world cup will provide a welcome boost to the economy and our sector. We are expecting to be busier than normal, but we're aware that some locals intend to dine out less, particularly in centres where there are lots of games.

"Armed with this information, restaurateurs can choose to fine tune their approach to attracting local clientele, particularly in Auckland and Wellington, home to the nation's most frequent diners and where nearly half of the tournament's games will be played," says Egan.

Based on the survey, strategies which proved most enticing to local diners included special offers and discounts which appealed to one in two respondents, particularly Aucklanders, students, homemakers and those living in rented accommodation.

One in five diners would be influenced if the games were screened in restaurants to keep an eye on the score. One in six said having World Cup themed menus and early and late restaurant sittings that coincided with match times would entice them to dine out during the tournament.

Brian Waldock, American Express Director of Global Merchant Services says that restaurants should use discounts and other dining incentives strategically.

"Increasingly diners are looking for value, and restaurant operators can provide that in a number of ways. Don't discount for discount's sake. Whether it is a year-round programme like American Express Selects or a limited time offer, incentives have their place.

"Place your offers where customers look for information, but remember that personal recommendations from family and friends still outrank all other information sources for diners. If incentives are right for your restaurant use them to bring additional business during quiet times, and consider added value offers before cutting prices," says Waldock.

Egan adds, "Just like the tight five is the foundation of the forward pack, local clientele and repeat business is the bedrock of our industry. We know that giving guests a fabulous dining experience is the best way to win repeat business. It's up to restaurateurs to decide what's right for them and make plans now for the world cup period."

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