I am not going to lie. I am kind of a Diner geek.

When I am traveling, I love hitting what some people consider ‘Dive’ diners.

The more neon, stainless steel, red uniforms, and paper hats…the better.

It was in one of these antique watering holes that I saw one of coolest marketing uses that has stuck with me today.

On the outside, it was like any other diner.

The smell of grease was the first thing to hit you when you walked in.

Must have good burgers was my first thought.

Anyway, I grabbed a spot at the counter and the waitress was on me faster than…well…something really fast.

I glanced at the menu as she rattled off a couple ‘specials of the day.’

I settled on some sort of soup she mentioned, a cheeseburger, and a chocolate malt.

As I waited for my malt (and the rest of my meal) I looked around the diner. It reminded me of that famous painting with James Dean, Elvis Presley, and Marilyn Monroe. I think it is called ‘Hollywood Diner’ or something like that.

Anyway, while I looked around I saw a giant “Specials of the Day” board.

I looked at the board, and it all sounded pretty good…especially the meatloaf*.

*When I first typed this, it came out as “meatload.” Fortunately, for both of us, spell check intervened.

For a split second I wondered why I didn’t hear the waitress mention meatloaf when she rattled off the specials of the day….then it hit me.

At the top of the board was the sign, “Tomorrow’s Specials.”


I mean, why give up PRIME real estate for people that are ALREADY there? This owner was marketing for FUTURE business from the word ‘go!’

Twenty-five years later it remains one of the coolest things I have seen (marketing wise) in a diner.

What can you do to market for FUTURE business?

You know that whole, “It costs less to keep a customer than get a new one?” Well, it probably costs even less to sell the same person again, or sell a current customer something else!

So, think about this lesson the next time you order a cheeseburger in a dive diner. I know I do!