How Restaurants can Increase Sales and Attract New Customers
How do I increase sales and bring in new customers? It is the question that all restaurant owners keep asking? The answer? It comes down to creating awareness, delivering a good product/service, and keeping your customers happy! We have put together a list of ways that restaurants can use to increase sales and attract new customers.
Use Social Media
Using social media is a great way to increase awareness for your restaurant. It is also free! Just like your website, it is a space that sells your business! Make sure that your cover photo is one that invokes emotions.
Instagram is all about photos. Ever seen #foodporn anywhere? Yes, you put the space in the right spot …. Food Porn! Basically, it is an image of a meal that elicits emotion. People take pictures of delectable meals that they have ordered and post it online to share, brag, or have others drool over. Jump on the bandwagon and offer your customers an incentive to take pics of your meal and share.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard about Facebook. The key to a successful Facebook page is to ensure that it is interesting, engaging, and offers customers the opportunity to interact with you. Some of the things to include are:
- Promotions and Specials
- Pictures of your food
- Pictures of your staff
- Your accomplishments
Don’t stop there though! Make sure that you inject your personality into the posts! Don’t worry about being proper. As in life, people like to see your fun side, so throw in a funny photo to get you customers LOL’ing (Laughing Out Loud).
Have lunch special? Tweet it to your customers with Twitter! Time it right ……send it to them just before lunch (or another meal) when their stomach is starting to rumble and their thoughts turn to food. Post a #foodporn photo and get ready for the lunch hour!
Offer Discounts and Coupons
People love getting a bargain, so offering them a discount can encourage sales. Don’t go overboard though! Make sure you know how the discount will affect your profit margins and sales targets. Essentially if you discount your prices, you will need more customers.
Another way is to throw something in for free, e.g. delivery, drink, entrée, rice, etc.
Take the time to collect information about your customers. Knowing your customer gives you the opportunity to send them a birthday card or invite them back.
You can collect their information through Loyalty or membership programs. Fishbowl business card giveaways are great too. You will get information like name, phone number, and email addresses.
You don’t need anything fancy to store the information. Just a plain old excel spreadsheet will do. You can then use the information to send them an email/SMS. Make sure you don’t spam them because that will have the reverse effect. Limit your contact with them to just once a week/month.
Remember your Regulars
Make your regulars feel welcome and special. Make sure you learn their name and their regular food and/or drink orders. Take the time to learn about them on a personal level. It can do wonders for your business!
Food Blogger Outreach
Food bloggers have a huge following. Why not ask them to review your restaurant, offer them a free meal for their time! They might not say yes, but it is worth a shot!
Please Note: You can’t ask them for a great review. Just make sure that you have great food and service!
Digital advertising is a great cost-effective way to target your customers! Make sure that you know the type of customers you want to reach (i.e. location, age, gender, people who like the cuisine you serve, etc).
Start a food truck or market stall
Opening a stall may seem like taking a step backwards and food trucks are not cheap, but you will have the opportunity to serve customers you wouldn’t normally serve.
Create an Event
Coordinate with suppliers to organise a wine tasting? Or organise a themed event, e.g. Halloween or Murder Mystery dinner night. It will offer your customers an experience along with a great meal.
It doesn’t always have to be a big event. Try organising some live music or entertainment (like a belly dancer).
Throw in some extras
Ever had food sent to your table from the chef? It is a welcome surprise and people leave happy! This comes down to giving people more than they expect. When you go to a restaurant, you expect great service and food. When you are given something more (i.e. a prawn cone “compliments of the chef”.), it makes you happy!
Another way is to offer free wifi! Some people choose a café or restaurant based on this! It won’t cost you very much and if it gets people through the door, it’s a no-brainer.
Make sure that you have a solid digital presence – website, business listings, and social media. Your website needs to have the information that people are looking for i.e. menu, contact info, location, hours, and reviews.
Offer online ordering via your website, mobile app, and Facebook page. Solutions like the Paper2Apps Restaurant Ordering System are great because they charge a flat monthly cost and the system is branded to look like your site. It is significantly cheaper than building a brand-new site with online ordering.
Respond to Reviews
Make sure you thank the people who have taken the time to praise your business. Apologise to the ones that are not happy and make sure that you address their concerns.
If you made a mistake, admit it. We are all human and stuff-ups happen. Accepting you made a mistake takes courage and people respect honesty and transparency. Offering to make it right is also important.
Jump on the bandwagon of a new trend
The most recent trend was Pokémon go. It was and is huge, if you jumped on the bandwagon when it was released you could apply to make your store a gym. This is where people leave their pets to battle.