QSRs aren’t the only restaurants that can use movie tie-ins to attract customers. Full-service chains T.G.I. Friday’s and Kona Grill are ready to cash in this Thursday when Sex and the City 2 opens nationwide. Presuming your bartender makes a decent cosmo, it’s not too late for your place to get in on this act, either.
Fast food feeders are the masters of leveraging movies to boost sales. Their marketing departments know how to pump out a collection of toys, games, action figures and other giveaways that kids want…and will drag their parents to restaurants to get. That’s why McDonald’s wrested the Shrek franchise away from Burger King when Shrek 3 came up for bids; it was guaranteed marketing gold.
Movies aimed at adults are a different story. There just aren’t that many of them, in the first place, and fewer still provide a theme that would be marketable by full-service restaurants.
We’ll see one of the exceptions this Thursday when Sex and the City 2 (SATC2) hits movie screens across the land. Throughout its days on HBO, this show’s four 30-ish leading ladies began each episode in a hip restaurant that offered interesting food and cocktails. Many women in the audience wished they could live a life like this quartet did, leading to a loyal fan base that has followed the show through reruns on the E! cable channel and 2008’s Sex and the City: The Movie.
Getting some of that fan base to your restaurant should be easy, providing you strike this week while SATC2 fever is in the air. Here’s what two full-service chains have planned to make the most of the opportunity.
Casual dining giant T.G.I. Friday’s has hooked up with SKYY vodka, “the official vodka sponsor of Sex and the City 2.” The result is a pair of SATC2-themed cocktails, the Park Avenue Princess and the Glamour Gal. The drinks are only available for a limited time, but are definitely right in the wheelhouse of the film’s fan base.
So is the somewhat less official “Sushi and the City” promotion being put on by 24-unit Kona Grill. The chain had good luck with a series of impromptu patio parties that took place in conjunction with the first Sex and the City movie in 2008. But it’s a little more organized this time around.
For one thing, there’s a charity component. The promotion runs from May 27th to June 6th (i.e., the movie’s Thursday opening plus the next two weeks), during which patrons can purchase $1 raffle tickets for a Sex and the City-themed giveaway. All proceeds go to Dress for Success, which provides professional attire for disadvantaged women.
Then there’s the prize package. The winner received something every SATC2 fan would kill for: a trip for two to New York City that includes everything from a stay at the Plaza Hotel to a shopping trip designed to score a pair of iconic Manolo Blahnik high heels.
All through this 11-day period, themed sushi items and signature designer cocktails will be featured at all Kona Grills.
“We plan this to be the perfect accessory to this big night out for women across the country,” says Kona Grill’s Rachel Philips-Luther. “The anticipation and excitement surrounding the release of this second Sex and the City film is enormous, and Kona Grill promises to be the ideal pre- and post-movie place to get ‘Carried Away.’”
Both of these movie-related promotions are on the money, offering food and drink that are in tune with the tastes of the SATC2 fan base. If you want to attract what will likely be record numbers of girls’ night out revelers, why not whip up something similar?