Tobacco Education Center


How to Make Your Restaurant Smoke-Free (2005)
Tips on Making Your Restaurant Smoke-Free



Those who experience the greatest gains are often those restaurants

who are most visible about their conversion.



Make a splash with it. Advertise it. Brag about it.



™ Survey your customers. Let them know you care about their input and make the results available. Once you make your decision, your customers will feel like they have been a part of it and they will spread the news to their friends.



™ Provide advance notice about the conversion and pick a significant date. Pick a date for the policy to go into effect on a day that is in some way significant such as the Great American Smoke-Out, July 4, as New Year’s resolution, or the start of spring. A warm weather start date might make it easier for smokers to go outside to smoke. Provide two weeks to a month advance notice.



™ Send press releases to radio, TV, and newspapers. Inform the local media, especially restaurant reviewers. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Inform GASP so that you can be added to the statewide Web site.



™ Post attractive and positive signs at the door and on table tents announcing your new smoke-free policy.



™ Show unhappy smokers the health reasons leading to your decision, and ask for their understanding. Offer support and concern. Eighty-five percent of Colorado’s smokers want to quit smoking.



™ Relate your decision to the safety of your employees. This way smokers will not feel slighted. Smart planning will let you save all but a few of the heaviest smokers — the few that created most of the smoke anyway.



™ Be patient. Sales-tax data indicate that smoke-free policies do not hurt restaurant or bar business, and often boost it. Most smokers want to quit smoking, and can easily refrain from smoking for an hour or two without a problem. Owners report that even the most hard-core smokers return after a period of time. In addition, a smoke-free policy frees up table space faster, and keeps out young people who just come in for a smoke.



™ Eighty percent of the adult population in Colorado does not smoke. You may gain two nonsmokers for every smoker you might lose to a comp

etitor. Then, as your competitor gets more smokers, your competitor’s restaurant gets smokier and more annoying to nonsmokers. When nonsmokers hear of your policy, they will probably patronize your restaurant rather then dine in a cloud of smoke.



™ More than 60% of Colorado’s sit-down eateries are 100% smoke-free. There are currently more than 6,000 smoke-free dining places and more than 70 smoke-free bars in Colorado — and the number increases every month.



For more information, visit our Web site gaspforair.org or call 303/444-9799



The Group to Alleviate Smoking Pollution (GASP) of Colorado publishes the Colorado Guide to Smoke-Free Dining & Lodging on its Web site.


 



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