This basic guide will help you understand how some restaurant owners increased their sales without advertising. We will cover the following subjects:
- Restaurant tweaks and ideas
- Internet marketing strategy
- Marketing strategy for new restaurants
Restaurant tweaks and ideas
1. Hours are everything
First things first, it’s important to capitalize on your hours, making sure that you’re getting the most business you can, by opening and closing at the right times. For example, if your restaurant serves mainly breakfast food, or you want to increase earnings from your breakfast items, maybe it’s time to open a little earlier for those early birds to come in for their morning meal.
This will not only bring you more relevant and easy business but will also allow you to learn more about your customers’ habits. See yourself getting more customers during times when you might close the restaurant down?
Try opening during those hours and see if it’s worth the extra operating hours. Experimenting with this and using trial and error are the best ways to ensure success.
2. Free WiFi anyone?
Having free wi-fi will not only give your business a great boost to overall popularity, but it will also help bring in a demographic that tends to be more loyal and are more likely to come back for more purchases if you have wifi.
Plus, having free Wifi makes it easier for people to spend more time here, making it more likely to make purchases in this scenario as well. Either way, it’s a win-win!
3. Hosting time!
Hosting big events is another great way to attract customers. You can use a variety of events, such as weddings or class reunions, to help drive business and attract customers, as it’ll not only give people another reason to choose your restaurant but also will potentially bring in new customers with the events!
A wedding reception, for example, is a great way to not only attract more customers but also set yourself apart from the rest of the restaurants in your area as a higher eatery, having the wedding be associated with high dining. This is especially helpful for getting groups too, as people will see your restaurant is capable of handling groups.
4. Start a “take out” service
Either by phone or online. A lot of times people are just too lazy to go to a restaurant (they have to get dressed, put on makeup, and getting kids ready to go sometimes can equal to disaster!) so if they like your restaurant, they may actually enjoy you delivering meals to their home. You can create a separate menu for that purpose and give it to each customer upon exiting your restaurant.
5. Excellent customer service
As a given, it’s still very important to make sure that both you and your employees are bringing service with a smile! To ensure this, it’s important to be at your restaurant in the flesh, to make sure that everything is running in order, and there are no rude employees! If you have problems with employees, for example, a disgruntled employee, it’s important to communicate with them and get to the root of the problem. If all else fails, termination is always an option, for the better of your restaurant.
6. Food quality
The most important tip in attracting new clients and keeping your current ones is – the food quality! You can have the best employees and the best social media accounts, but if your food isn’t up to par, your restaurant isn’t going to last long.
Ensuring that your food is the best it can be, separates businesses that go under from the businesses that flourish. Making sure that everything is sanitary in your restaurant is a must in every business, and it’s even more vital in the food industry.
Food handling and overall sanitary habits must be carefully watched and enforced.
Internet marketing strategy
7. Go digital!
In today’s wildly digital age, it’s more important than ever to connect! Even something as simple as an online ordering app will help bring in new customers that are accustomed to this type of order.
However, implementing this can have costs that many businesses feel aren’t worth it. Thankfully, there are many options, even for small businesses!
For example, the popular reviewing website “Yelp”, allows you to post a copy of your menu on their website, making it easier for people to find out what you sell!
8. Use that e-mail!
E-mail marketing is far from dead! Using simple email marketing to send out word that your business is the best will help increase the number of customers that you have throughout the day, especially if you’re a new business.
An example of this is using a simple email introduction to your business, and maybe even adding a coupon in it for those looking for a good deal. Most importantly, you have to do this honestly.
Do not use cheap and even illegal tactics that could hurt your reputation instead of helping it.
9. Social Media (in general)
Using social media effectively nowadays is vital to your business’s longevity. Especially if you’re a small or new business, it’s important to make sure that your business has every major social media outlet, such as Twitter and Instagram, and is active on it.
Want to increase your social media following? One of the biggest tips for this is to post regularly, so make sure that you’re keeping that account regulated with quality photos, showcasing the excellence of your restaurant that blows everyone else out of the water!
10. Social Media (forums)
Participate (or pay somebody to participate) in local forums or Facebook groups. Make sure your web address is always in the profile.
Allow people to ask questions about your restaurant and answer them.
11. Social Media (photo profiles)
Pinterest and Instagram are both visual resources that should not be overlooked. These two platforms are both are great for restaurants since they allow you to easily showcase what you have.
Create a visual portfolio of anything interesting in your restaurant, from how beautiful food looks on the plate to astonishing wall decorations.
12. Influencer outreach
Reach out to bloggers who NEED an interview or food review for their audience. Offer a free meal and spend a few minutes talking about your restaurant as “colorful” as possible.
You will not believe how much influence bloggers or Instagram publishers have! It’s a win-win deal. You need new clients and they need new content.
13. Web presence!
Build a simple website, which you can do fairly inexpensively by hiring a freelancer on Fiverr and starting a blog about great things that are happening in your restaurant.
Another great tip – don’t stop posting and start collecting e-mails from people visiting your site. Along with it being your business card, it will always be a reference for your customers to go back to.
Post your promotion and giveaways. Lead all people from social media to your website, allow them to register, and put them on your e-mail list.
14. Implement an online ordering system
There are many restaurants that offer that service now and for a reason. A lot of people are ordering food online and phone orders are becoming more obsolete.
If your budget allows it, make a mobile ordering app as well.
Marketing strategy for new restaurants
15. Get noticed!
All new restaurants should get a “Movie Star” syndrome! Your restaurant should be always visible and on the front line of anything possible.
Participate in everything! From message boards to local charity events and don’t forget a good stash of business cards to give away with a special offer “just for them” on the back of it (could be a stamp with a discount %).
16. Offer freebies to the staff!
Don’t forget your staff (and their families)! Your staff is a very valuable asset for establishing your local presence and it should not be overlooked.
They live locally and have family and friends. Give them discounts for their own meals and a small bonus if they bring their family or friends.
17. Collaborate with your competitors!
Wondering why your neighbor’s restaurant is doing better than yours? Chances are they have great promotions with other businesses that are a win-win.
Implementing this can be difficult, but it’s essential if you want to spread your wings as a restaurant owner. Doing this can be something as simple as making a quick social media promotion with a fellow restaurant owner, or another business owner altogether.
A great example of this is, for example, if you want to bring in more health nuts for your all-new health-improved menu, maybe promoting together with a gym or other “healthy” establishment. With this, you can increase your business’s popularity with a demographic you may have completely missed before!
18. Sponsor or contribute to a local event!
This is the best form of advertisement for local groups with an opportunity for you to give something out (food samples, discount coupons).
19. Gift Cards are always in fashion!
Gift cards not only allow an easy way for people to spread your business’s name, but customers will appreciate the convenience of a gift card! With gift cards, you have that chance of bringing in a new customer that has never been to your restaurant before, therefore increasing customer flow as well as new business.
A way to set apart your gift cards from others is to make sure that they look different! Using a unique logo and some great graphic design skills, you’ll be able to set your restaurant apart from the rest!
Overall, it’s important to remember how to promote your business. With these guidelines and ideas, you will be able to increase the number of customers you have.
Whether you decide to implement online orders or a joint promotion, you’ll see that, with that with sometimes a tiny change, you will be rewarded with more and more customers!
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