As a restaurant owner, you have to be on the ball. The restaurant industry is extremely competitive, only an individual who is creative, proactive and innovative can keep a restaurant running. It goes beyond just having a great menu or keeping your prices down. You have to think out of the box, try unusual things, things that will make you stand out from your competitors.
While you may attract more customers by placing ads on papers or on the radio, the expenses involved have the potential to cripple your restaurant, and may not be as effective as you would like. It would be wise for you to exploit creative and cost-effective marketing strategies. Here are some fun and low-cost ideas you can try:
Extend the experience with social media
If you’re not already active on social media, get active immediately. The whole world is online and you have a better chance of engaging your customers and attracting new ones at minimal cost to your fledgling business. Make it possible for your customers to easily interact with you before and after their visits. Use Instagram to share optimized photos of your restaurant, mouth-watering dishes, recipes, customers and staff. Encourage your customers to share their experience on social media and feature their activities on your social channels.
You can also increase engagement and draw more followers by offering enticing promos and discounts to your followers when they share your post or tag their friends.
Offer free Wi-Fi
You will attract more customers when you offer a free internet service. You could become a preferred destination for customers if they know they can access the internet for free when they patronize your restaurant. Many people select the restaurant they patronize based on whether it has free Wi-Fi or not. Also, people tend to spend a longer time in a restaurant that has free Wi-Fi, and the more time they spend there, the more money they are likely to spend.
Connect with local foodies in your community
The internet has made reaching out to people much easier. It’s now possible for foodies and local gourmands to discuss their preferences with a large audience. The reviews they make on Facebook, Yelp and their personal blogs gain them hundreds of followers. You can use their influence on social media to your benefit when you reach out to these local foodies. Ask them to do an honest review for you in exchange for a free meal or a coupon code discount. Their good reviews will give your restaurant can boost your business a great deal.
Prioritize customers’ convenience
Make ordering, payment and your customer service as convenient as possible for your customers. These days, people prefer texting and emailing to making calls. Create an avenue that allows your customers to make choices at their own convenience. With apps like Yelp, you can upload your menu online for customers to place their orders. There should also be an option for online ordering and delivery on your website so your customers can easily order food when they don’t have time to go out.
Take advantage of special occasions
Take advantage of opportunities that come in the form of special occasions and events like New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, sporting events, the Super Bowl and St. Patrick’s Day. People are always on the lookout for a good place to hang out with their friends and family on days like this. If you plan ahead for these days, you will be able to create a memorable ambience that has the potential to turn existing customers into loyal ones and bring new customers to your doorstep.
If you make it look like the next big thing, people will take it as one and will want to be part of the whole event.
Consider offering happy hour discounts and daily specials to your customers. When the happy hour you offer is good, your customers will tell their colleagues and friends about your restaurant, and this will bring new customers to your restaurant. You can capitalize on the hours you have slow sales by fixing your discount offers at those downtimes. This alone could turn your slowest days, perhaps like Mondays and Tuesdays, to your busiest hours.
Use email marketing
Email marketing is one strategy you shouldn’t forget if you seriously want to increase the number of customers you have. You can encourage your customers to give you their email address by offering a little discount in exchange. Once you have this email database, you can send newsletters to your customers about upcoming specials and events or even the new items on your menu. This will help create a personalized climate for you and your customers.
You can also improve your business and make it look more professional by using smart restaurant management apps like Safe Food Pro and others. To ensure your new customers remain loyal to your restaurant, ensure that you deliver efficient and top notch services always.