A restaurant with too few customers for too long is a restaurant that eventually closes. As a restaurant owner, you know this. Fortunately, there are ways to attract new people to your restaurant. If practiced consistently and strategically, these marketing methods can help you to build a steady base of customers. Here’s a look at five of the most effective ways to pull in more clients each day.
The wisest marketing strategies allow for a natural momentum to happen between all of the components of a marketing plan. FSR Magazine explains that, for example, the bulk of a restaurant’s clients will be in the restaurant Friday and Saturday night; most restaurants seat at 80% capacity during this weekend dinner rush, which is usually from about 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. That same restaurant will be at only about 40% capacity, if that, at the same time on a Monday night rush.
It is tempting to buy an ad for the night when you have fewer guests. However, your best bet is to pay for advertising to get the Friday and Saturday nights up to 100%. On those nights, people are already heading out, and it’s not a matter of convincing them to go to a restaurant but to choose yours. Build on the momentum that’s already there to get more customers rather than trying to create momentum at times when there isn’t any.
Manage Your Reviews
Google has become a powerful ally for the local restaurant owner. People can find out where you’re located, your phone number and even take a look at your menu. They can also use Google to search for reviews of your restaurant. As Podium explains, potential customers tend to look at reviews before visiting a location, and both the content of and response to those reviews can heavily influence their decision.
Watching your reviews can help you address the negatives before they get out of hand. It can also allow you to thank people who’ve taken the time to leave a positive review and to have a dialog with both kinds of reviewers. The fact that you take the time to interact with your would-be and current customers says a lot about you and allows you to build trust with potential customers. Over time, this can mean more customers come through your door.
Offer Online Ordering
People are busy and don’t always have time to enjoy a sit-down meal at a restaurant. That’s why online ordering can be your friend. People can order what they want through an app or on your website. They can then come and pick up the order when it’s ready. According to Netwaiter, all other things being equal, if there’s a restaurant in town that offers similar fare but no online ordering, you may just nab some new clients by making such an offering.
Roll Out a Rewards Program
Webstaurant says that creating a customer loyalty program is an excellent way for restaurants to keep their satisfied customers returning for future business, ultimately increasing overall sales. To make the most of it, you need to determine how the program will best benefit your customers and your business. VIP clubs reward regular customers with bonuses, free stuff, and other incentives. Usually, the way this works is that a would-be customer has to give you an email address to be a part of the VIP club. Once they do, you can send them offers and rebates via email. These special goodies are only available to your email list. Invite all your in-house guests to sign up for the rewards program to build your VIP club list.
Your restaurant’s social media accounts offer you a way to chat directly with your customers, announce specials, tell people about the upcoming opening of a new restaurant in your chain, etc. They also offer you the chance to hold events, like Twitter chats, where you can use a hashtag to not only engage with your current customers but also to gain some new ones.
Whether it’s keeping an eye on your reviews on Google, taking part in a Twitter chat or starting a VIP club, there are plenty of ways to encourage new customers to come into your restaurant. For you to find real success in this endeavor, you need to work with these principles in tandem and for the long haul.