The restaurant industry isn't an easy one. Online delivery companies are helping customers dine at home, and fewer people going out for lunch these days--to the tune of a lost $3.8 million in business last year. For restauranteurs, one thing is certain: even if your food is excellent, if you can't attract customers, your business will fail.
The good news, though, is that thanks to some recent technological advancements, there are many new ways to attract customers that weren't available in the past.
Below are 10 things you should be doing right now to help your restaurant:
The biggest draw to your restaurant should obviously be the food. With food being one the most common pictures being posted on Instagram, your restaurant should be sure to consistently post flattering photos of your best dishes. Think of creative ways to encourage your guests to post photos of their meals, such as offering a free lunch for the best photo of the week or month.
2) A Functioning Website
Today, every business needs a web presence. One problem many restaurants have is not having a website at all, or a very outdated one. Customers almost always do their research online; if you can't be found or look unprofessional, you are putting your business in a bad position. And of course, it must be mobile-friendly with easy access to your menus.
3) Business Listing on Google
Registering your business on Google is free and easy. Doing so will help it appear on Google Maps, and will bump it's profile up higher on the search results page. This is key so customers can find you faster (and before they find your competitor). Also, be sure to ask your loyal customers to provide great reviews on Google, as online reviews can make or break a restaurant.
4) E-mail Marketing
E-mail marketing still works and it's not that difficult to manage, thanks in part to new e-mail marketing apps. If you have someone on staff with a background in writing or a creative field, they will probably be able to help compose monthly messages. Just be sure to always review what is being sent beforehand. Grammar still matters!
5) Birthday Discounts
Birthday discounts give people a reason to visit your restaurant when they can't figure out where to go. Many people will be going out to eat on their birthday but not many know in advance where. Offering birthday discounts can sway them to come to your restaurant instead of others. And, making customers feel specially on their big day will help improve your customer loyalty. Knowing your customers' birthdays is as simple as asking for that information when they log-in to your guest Wi-Fi.
Events such as cooking classes, guest talks, or game nights are fun ways to attract groups of friends. If you don't already offer Happy Hour, now is a good time to start. Or, be the host restaurant for a local running club, offering a discount to the runners on beers when they complete the run. Getting involved with your surrounding community is another great way to establish customer loyalty.
7) Viewing Parties
Viewing parties don't always have to be sports related. They can also be live shows such as the Oscars or season finales of television's hottest shows. Offer discounted bottles of Rosé wine for The Bachelor Season Finale viewing and you should be able to attract a few groups of girlfriends.
8) Local Media
Whether you are in a small town or a large city, there are local media outlets covering local stories. Reach out to the local or regional newspaper editors and local bloggers and invite them over for a discounted meal. If they enjoy it, they will probably write about it. Also, be sure to let them know of your upcoming events, and you might get some free press!
9) Gift Cards
Gift cards always make great gifts. They also bring in new business from the people who receive them. Even if you don't have physical cards, you should give your customers the ability to purchase credit for friends.
Lastly, by offering to cater events, your restaurant has the opportunity to expose itself to hundreds of new customers. Spend some time dropping off your catering menu to the local businesses to increase your lunch business. Office lunch catering is a great way to take advantage of having your staff around in the late morning hours.
While it's not easy to be a restauranteur these days, there are plenty of ways you can drive more business to your restaurant. Be creative! And use the tools around you as a leg-up, such as a Wi-Fi marketing platform. Not only does a Wi-Fi marketing platform help you capitalize on the free Wi-Fi you currently offer, but it can provide you with the email addresses, birthday information, and analytics you want. Plus, it's a great tool to help drive more online reviews and help you manage customer feedback.
So, as you go to implement some of these new strategies for driving business through your door, consider investing in a Wi-Fi marketing and analytics platform. It is a perfect compliment to make sure you get the most out of your marketing.
Take your efforts to the next level. Schedule A Demo Of Bloom Intelligence’s Wi-Fi Marketing And Analytics Platform