Success Stories

Maggio’s Ristorante

Despite the tough economy, restaurateurs Michael and Gina Maggio are still growing their overall business. Their secret is forcing each of their “sideline” restaurant ventures (catering, banquet room, cocktail lounge) to profitably compete for its own core of loyal repeat customers!

For nearly 20 years, the Maggios have attracted Southampton, PA, locals with great tasting Italian specialties, made with superior quality ingredients. Gina and Michael Maggio have further reinforced the loyalty of their restaurant regulars with a monthly newsletter, birthday club, and calendar of special events. As a result, dining room sales have remained solid despite the challenging economy.

Meanwhile, the other branches of their business, including offsite catering, banquet rentals, and their cocktail lounge, have remained relatively underdeveloped. To make these branches more profitable as well, Gina and Michael concluded that each would become strongest if it were forced to compete for outside business as if it were a standalone enterprise.

Take, for example, their cocktail lounge. Many restaurants think of their bar operation as existing to serve their dining room. But since Maggio’s lounge also has a separate outside entrance, Gina and Michael saw the opportunity to increase food and beverage sales in the lounge itself by cultivating a separate core of loyal tavern patrons.

To distinguish the lounge as a separate destination from the restaurant, they nicknamed it “The Mag” (pronounced “Madge”) and gave its entrance some new, eye catching external signage.

To begin attracting its own regulars, The Mag founded its “Mug Club.” For a $30 annual fee, members are entitled to exclusive use of a numbered mug (kept at The Mag) and a limited edition club T-shirt. The main benefit to membership is that club mugs are oversized. So members receive a few free “bonus ounces” of beer with every pour, while still paying regular draft prices.

The Mag also mails a monthly newsletter to remind regulars of various parties and promotions aimed at keeping them engaged and entertained.

While Maggio’s Ristorante also mails out its own monthly newsletter, the two mailing lists are kept completely separate. In fact, the Maggios employ a full time data entry person to keep both mailing lists current and clean.

According to Gina, the secret to building a truly effective customer mailing list is including only those who specifically ask to be added (for example, by signing up for the “birthday club”) and then annually requiring them to reconfirm if they want to remain on your list. Otherwise, if uninterested recipients are not regularly weeded out, a mailing list can quickly grow unmanageably large, ineffective, and expensive.

Treating their restaurant sidelines as standalone businesses has allowed the Maggios to focus their creative energies on further enhancing each branch, one at a time. As a result, their overall business continues to grow!