Every business, including the restaurant industry, has lost sales and business from the current state of our country. Although restaurants are starting to see an increase in sales and traffic, they still need to be weary of what they are doing to gain interest and retain customers.
Here are some of our tips to get your business booming again:
1. Offer incentives – A lot of consumers are more value conscious now so offer an incentive to get them to come in. Maybe you offer a kids night, a loyalty program, a volume program (buy 3 of something, get one free), or a happy hour.
2. Invest time in social media – Social media can be a powerful tool for restaurants because they offer real-time information for their customers. Use Facebook and Twitter for updates, Yelp for reviews and information, Pinterest for pictures of dishes or customers, and YouTube for how-to segments. By presenting your culture online, you can entice customers.
3. Utilize e-mail marketing – Many restaurants already utilize e-mail marketing but every restaurant should. By e-mailing promotions it can give consumers a reason to come in to your space. You could also e-mail seasonal specials or upcoming events.
4. Use events to your advantage – Restaurants have a product advantage over other businesses because their product varies so frequently. Offer seasonal tastings, premiere new dishes to VIP loyalty members, host charity dinners, if you have a bar then host a special bartender or drink night, or let companies or groups host events at your location. The opportunities are endless with events so don’t pass them up.
5. Don’t overlook your take-out or catering clientele – Many people prefer to get take-out and eat at home and many people like to cater parties or company events. These can be big money makers for restaurants so market your options for customers. Create exclusive take-out menus or family take-out menus. Feature your catering menu on your website or offer customized catering options.
6. “Green” is in – Choosing local products for your business can attract a very large group of people. Not only does this speak for the culture of your company but it also gives back to your community. This can create an opportunity for your chef to use seasonal products to your advantage through cost and availability also. Many people like to eat at restaurants with fresh, local ingredients so display this proudly if your company is part of the movement.
7. Create loyalty programs – Customers love incentives. Our customer loyalty promotion blog focused on loyalty programs and marketing efforts to keep customers coming back. Remember; acquiring new customers is much more expensive than keeping your current customers coming back.
8. Embrace technology – Technology continues to evolve so make sure your restaurant is staying on top of the technology. Allow customers to order online, integrate your order, reservation, and POS system, or even have your servers carry a hand-held ordering device. All of this leads to customer and staff ease when wanting to order something quickly and efficiently.
9. Be health conscious – Many consumers are very conscious of their health and weight. Offer solutions like healthy alternatives, varying portion sizes, and gluten free menus to accommodate everyone’s health needs. This effort will show your clientele that you are aware of their needs and you care about them.
The overall goal with these tips is to be conscious of your customer base. Every person is different but give them reasons to come to your restaurant over others. Ask your customers for feedback or ideas on improving the restaurant and offer incentives for their feedback. Not only does this show that you value your customers opinion, but you are also willing to stay up to date with trends.