The restaurant business is notoriously competitive and everyone is trying to get more paying customers.
Methods of connecting with customers have changed because technology and social media are now so ubiquitous. But consequently, there are many more ways that you can get more customers to come to your restaurant that will not be costly or time-consuming like traditional marketing tools.
When determining how to get more restaurant customers, restaurants should not be afraid to try multiple methods. There is no specific way that works for all restaurants, therefore you should identify what will work for your business.
Be Active on Social Media
Social media is the best way to connect with new and existing customers. Your restaurant’s online profile must not only be up to date but also active. You can use social media to post promotions, menu items and upcoming events along with all sorts of other information.
On your social media pages, have professional photos of menu items posted to entice customers. You can also have short videos of the chef making some of the top menu items in the kitchen. Make the pages fun and exciting to visit, and this will encourage customers to visit your restaurant in search of that type of experience.
When customers use your social media pages to contact you, make sure that they receive prompt responses. This makes customers feel appreciated by you and will not only keep them coming but motivate them to introduce other people to your restaurant.
Have Customer Promotions
When looking for new customers, consumer promotions can be the key to making this happen.
For example, have a promotion for new customers like a percentage off their meal or a gift card for their next meal at the restaurant. Post these via social media or email marketing to reach as many customers as possible.
Have a colorful and eye-popping sign at the restaurant entrance so that potential customers walking by can see it. You can put up a ‘Happy Hour’ sign saying that customers can get a free drink or dessert with their order or enjoy a great discount.
You can partner with local business to reward new and existing customers. You can partner with a movie theatre or a theme park and offer discount coupons or free tickets when people visit your restaurant.
When having promotions to attract new customers, don’t forget the loyal customers. Have a loyalty program that will reward regulars and keep them coming as well as telling others about your restaurant. Learn their names and basic information and treat them to a birthday or anniversary treat the next time they visit your restaurant.
Offer Delivery Services for Convenience
In the busy world we live in, people are looking for convenience in every aspect of their lives, eating included.
Customers will gravitate towards restaurants or eateries with delivery services. As a restaurant, have delivery services that will have people still enjoying your meals even if they can’t dine in-house.
Delivery service apps are popping up across New Zealand – including Uber Eats and Menulog. Have your restaurant listed on as many apps as possible so more customers can order from you. When you get listed on the app, you can have a small offer or promotion for the first order customers make at your restaurant.
Set Up Free Wi-Fi
People these days expect a constant connection to the internet, and may not always have data available. They will then look for places with free WiFi to visit and even buy from. Restaurants should offer free WiFi so customers can stay longer and buy more.
You may be concerned that people are visiting your restaurant only for free WiFi. So you can offer the WiFi password to customers once they buy a drink or a snack. Make sure that the minimum purchase is not too costly or this will put off customers.
Have an Appealing Setup
Customers like to visit restaurants with great ambience and an appealing set up. For example, many people look for comfort at a restaurant, so consider having a lounge setup where customers can comfortably sit while enjoying their meals and company.
There are other things that can speak to the heart of a customer. For example, during the cold season have a fireplace or ample air conditioning during the summer. These features need to be able to cater to the entire restaurant.
Host Special Events
People love attending special events, and this is something your restaurant business can look into hosting. For example, host cooking classes once in a while. Customers can learn tricks from the resident chef, and you can also invite renowned chefs in your area as special guests.
Live shows such as karaoke sessions, live band sessions, open mic segments and so on can get more customers visiting your restaurant. Make it a regular event that people can look forward to. You can have live shows as entertainment or give free drinks or snacks with every ticket sale.
Market Your Restaurant
There are many ways that you can market your restaurant and get more customers coming through the door.
To begin with, have a simple but eye-catching website that people can visit. The website needs to be updated regularly and also have a customer service option available. Make sure that you post your menu and upcoming events, which should also be posted on the restaurant social media pages.
Email marketing is another great way to market your restaurant but it should be done carefully. You can have a subscription option on your website so that people can subscribe to the service. To get people subscribing, have a discount or offer attached as a reward for opting in. When sending out marketing emails, do not spam your customers or they will lose interest.
Another way to market your restaurant is through the media. Digital and broadcast media are great avenues to get people talking about your restaurant. Invite food bloggers and media stations to cover your restaurant. This will have people interested in your restaurant and they will make a point to visit.
You should train your staff to upsell the restaurant. This means that whenever they’re out and about, they’re able to talk up the restaurant and this will get more people eating there. In addition, they can talk about special menu items as well as upcoming special events to the customers.
What Keeps Customers Away from Restaurants?
There are things that can keep customers away from your restaurant, and it’s important to tackle them before focusing on bringing in new customers.
- Bad Customer Service: Customer service is what can make or break a restaurant, or any other business. Customers who are treated badly or addressed rudely at a business will not only keep away but tell others about it. This can deal a blow to any restaurant business.
- Poor Hygiene: A restaurant whose hygiene standards are low can keep customers away. Make sure that the restaurant is spotless right from the front door. Make sure that staff uniforms are clean as well as the restaurant linen and don’t forget the washrooms. Having a dirty restaurant will not only keep customers away but potentially see your restaurant shut down for non-compliance.
- Bad or Inconsistent Menu: The main thing that brings customers to a restaurant is the menu. The food must be delicious, unique and filling to get more customers visiting. Customers do not appreciate being told that a menu item is not available. So, ensure that the food is consistent so that customers will frequent your restaurant.
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