Smith Commons was one of the first restaurants to pioneer the revitalization of the H Street Corridor, in Washington, D.C. General Manager Ron McNeill,
says the goal of the restaurant is to provide a wide variety of options—"everything from burgers and fries, to duck and lamb, to shrimp and grits for brunch"—to all
of the people moving into the expanding Atlas Arts District. A mainstay of the area since it's opening almost a decade ago,
Smith Commons has worked hard to serve anyone in the community from long-time locals to newcomers.
McNeill uses Nift to help support Smith Commons, and support al l of the H Street Corridor.
“Anyone who comes in with a Nift, and the people who come in with them, that all benefits the business. Nift gets customers in sooner, and lets them see what we're all about.”
“It's simple, it's not at all complicated for operations, the staff, or for the user,” McNeill says. Nift is a hands-off way for him to build relationships with his patrons, gain awareness for Smith Commons, and bring in new patrons.“The best part about it is it brings people into the business who may not have come without the Nift,” McNeill says. “And a lot of them leave comments and say something, and that's feedback we can use for the restaurant.” To see customer feedback, McNeill can check his merchant dashboard. “For me, the number one part is seeing where people are coming from and who's coming in to the business.”
“We've seen really good return rates from Nift customers,” McNeill says. What makes Nift unique is how it can bring in new customers who are a perfect fit for your business, and who are likely to spend more than the average customer. “And,” says McNeill, “I'd say the majority come in with one or two or three other people, which enhances our business.”
“We had a great experience at Smith Commons! The staff were friendly and attentive,
the food came out quickly, and everything we tried was delicious. We will definitely be back, and thanks
to Nift for the incentive to try something we would not have discovered on our own.”
- Lehdeen B.
“A lot of the people who come in with Nift are young professionals and new families,” McNeill says. “That's the nature of the neighborhood.” To him, being a part of the H Street Corridor means more than just growing his own business. It means helping the neighborhood flourish. When he gives Nift cards to Smith Commons customers, he's giving them the chance to discover another local business in the neighborhood—which keeps the community strong. “We give out Nift cards when someone eating in the restaurant is celebrating, or as a gift for someone who has just moved here,” he says. “There's no neighborhood welcome like a Nift.”
With Nift, McNeill can depend on finding new customers who will help his business grow. As a part of Nift, he offers a $25 certificate as his Nift gift. Whenever customers come in with a Nift, he notices that they're likely to spend much more than the $25 gif t, and he's also seen that those customers will likely return. Using his dashboard, he can see t hat from just first-time Nift visits, Smith Commons has earned an additional $5,700. “That makes it w orth the high gift value,” he says.
As a mainstay in the community, Smith Commons can leverage the power of Nift to help the whole neighborhood. When they get Nift customers, it firstly helps the restaurant: “these are customers who wouldn't come if they didn't have the Nift.” But it also helps keep the neighborhood a neighborly community. “This is a neighborhood, so the ma jority of guests are local.” By using Nift, he brings the community together, and gives his cus tomers the opportunity to strengthen other businesses in the area.
“Great food; solid service. We'd definitely go back,” said one Nift customer who visited Smith Commons. For McNeill, the value of Nift lies in the fact that once Nift customers come the first time, there's high potential for them to visit a second, third, fourth, and fifth time.
With Nift, small businesses have more than one way of getting t he word out. When customers come in with a Nift card, they learn about the business. Then, those customers will bring their friends, and recommend it to others, turning Nift into a giant ripple effect. “The food was very tasty and using the gift card was a breeze. I'd recommend Smith Commons,” said one customer.
“Having people in your area who will come in two to three times a month is the restaurant's ultimate goal,” McNeill says. That's part of the reason he loves Nift. Since Nift customers are more likely to be regulars than other customers, it's perfect. “The biggest goal of the restaurant,” he adds, “is to enhance midweek business, and a lot of Nift customers come in during the week.” Along with brin ging in new customers on a day-to-day basis, Nift helps Smith Commons get the word out about their business.
RESTAURANT & BAR
1245 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002