Monday, February 2, 2009

La Margarita

Today I'd like to introduce you to La Margarita, a Mexican restaurant here in my town. Like most restaurants in towns across the US and beyond, business is slow because people are not spending like they used to. La Margarita has engaged in a brilliant Guerrilla Marketing tactic to bring in paying customers and keep them coming back for more.

At each table (under the glass table top, actually) is a list of classes offered on Wednesday nights that teach subjects such as making a particular mole sauce, paella, a variety of appetizers, and even a tequila tasting (with snacks, of course.) The cooking classes include a margarita, and cost $40 per person.

If you think about this from a marketing standpoint, they not only have 10 people attending each class, that's $400 on a slow night BUT the restaurant benefits in several ways:

1. Each attendee also gets to personally know the staff, the chef, the food... developing a deeper relationship which leads to customer loyalty.

2. People who attend the classes learn something new while the restaurant cultivates a rich word of mouth advertising campaign.

"Mary, this enchilada is wonderful. How did you learn to cook Mexican?"
"I took cooking class at La Margarita."
"The restaurant?"
"Yeah, the one downtown. It was great. The staff were really fun and they make a mean margarita."

3. Because their classes are held on a Wednesday night, this brings in extra cash on what is traditionally a slow night for restaurants. Brilliant.

4. By teaching a little about what they do (or hosting a demo such as tequila tasting) they are establishing themselves as experts in their field, making them the go-to place when people want knowledge and information. This puts their percieved expertise above their competition.

5. When people sign up for classes, the restaurant has the opportunity to invite them to opt in to a newsletter (have you heard that before on this blog?) or to get on the restaurant's mailing list for special events, coupons, exclusive offers, etc. Now I don't know of La Margarita is doing this last step, but they should take advantage of continually marketing to this receptive audience.

It's a win-win, win-win, win-win-win-win.

Plus, there's already a little local buzz by a widely read local restaurant blog called, so just by offering classes, they've gotten a little extra advertising thanks to the folks at Then of course, there's this blog post but since most of you are probably not from the Salem area, I doubt this post will make a difference to La Margarita.

Now take a look at your own business and see if there's some creative thing you can offer to bring in new customers and keep all customers coming back for more?

(And remember, all comments are do-follow, so your comment left here supports YOU.)

Did you like this post? How about subscribing in a reader
or by Email?

PS: In case you're not familiar with Guerrilla Marketing, according to Wikipedia, "Guerrilla marketing is an unconventional system of promotions that relies on time, energy and imagination rather than a big marketing budget." This is the marketing technique you've been learning here at, and for small businesses such as a blog, Etsy shop, or other indie business it's the most cost-effective way to get your name out there and get customers to come in.

PPS: If you're a small business (or a restaurant!) who would like to talk about some low cost but high impact ways you can improve your bottom line, zap an email over to me at pioppam [at]


  1. Oh, you mean gUErilla marketing. Now what am I going to do with all these bananas.

  2. LOL.
    I've got a pretty darned good banana bread recipe I'll share with ya...


Thank you - I appreciate all comments, questions, praise, criticism, suggestions, requests, reports ...