Our previous post talked about ways to bring in more customers, mostly using online marketing tools. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram figure prominently in contemporary marketing. So does Google and Apple Maps. We live in a digital world so it makes sense digital tools are part of your marketing strategy. Even if you aren’t normally online very much yourself, you will want an online presence, especially in an age when everyone uses a smart phone for guidance from one place to the next. However, there are plenty of other ways—digital and not—to bring in more business that weren’t discussed last time.
Here are 10 more ideas to drive more customers to your restaurant.
1. Good Customer Experience
Whenever someone has an extraordinary experience in your restaurant, a happy customer—and great word-of-mouth—is born! A dining experience includes service, taste, price, atmosphere, etc. Even the way your staff dresses will make an impression: team jerseys for a fun atmosphere, or dark slacks and white shirt for more elegant atmosphere, for example. Think about how you can provide a positive, unique experience.
2. Personal Visits
If you are surrounded by other businesses, you potential breakfast, lunch, or even dinner customers. There are many ways to generate awareness—flyers, business cards—but the most effective way is to visit these businesses personally. This shows how much you want their business, and changes their perception of your restaurant. Instead of just the café on the corner, it’s now the café owned by that nice person you just met.
3. Percentage Off
Your personal visits could be even more effective if you offered those you met a certain percentage off their meal (or even select items). It’s very personal but also gives potential customers a reason to act, especially if you make the offer good for a limited time. Percentages off, as long as they don’t eat into profits, are basically no cost because they require you to spend no money. Twenty percent would be enough of a discount to attract a targeted group but still make a profit. Especially with local businesses, you might also try 10% off delivery good for one month.
4. Customer Database
When you have regulars, you might notice the smile they give when you remember their name or their favorite menu item. Take this several steps further by keeping a database of customers: their birthdays, favorites, etc. Even if you just have a name and email address (which most are willing to give in exchange for online coupons and other goodies), you can send offers every week telling about specials or new promotions. Although you could spend money on sophisticated software for this, a spreadsheet program (Excel, Open Office, etc.), an email account, and time are all you really need. We also recommend using Mailchimp that offers a 'free forever plan' for up to 2000 subscribers.
5. Sporting Events Promotions
Regardless of the kind of restaurant, promotions based around sporting events can be a goldmine! A pizza parlor might offer 20% and free delivery during the Super Bowl, for instance. If you have a bar and big screen, you might have two-for-one wings during a big game. A coffee shop might get into the act by offering a discount on coffee the day after the local team wins.
6. Attend Foodie Events
Most city neighborhoods and many other places host events for “foodies.” Showing up at these events not only gets the attention of prospective customers; local press usually attends such events and your restaurant might end up as the subject of the next feature or review.
7. Free Food Tasting
Highlight the quality of your food by giving free samples. You can set up a booth at local events such as street fairs, carnivals, or any place else that will bring in a crowd. If you are located in a high-traffic area, you can also give out samples in front of your place. You can even offer samples to customers in your dining room to upsell—sampling a dessert special to the dinner crowd, for example.
8. Reward Loyalty
There is a lot of competition for your customers, and a loyal customer is more valuable than several new customers. Hold onto these loyal customers with incentives. Use the database discussed in #4 to keep in contact. Offer discounts known only to regular customers signed up for your emailing list. With the DIY data base, it only takes a few minutes to add details for repeat customers and reward them after a certain amount of visits.
9. Make It Fun
You might have noticed national and international chains using games in their promotions (including a certain fast food company incorporating a certain board game involving buying and selling property). That is because using games in promotions is more fun for the customer and raises effectiveness of the promotion significantly. You don’t need to spend money on scratch-offs. You could have a trivia contest with questions at the hostess stand certain days, or a contest to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar. The more fun you make it, the more engaging it is, the more successful it will be.
Find local like-minded businesses to partner with and cross-promote. If you are near a comic book store, for instance, you might offer discounts on items at the store while they promote discounts at your restaurant. If your restaurant follows a theme, you might partner with a business following that theme. A Hollywood-themed restaurant and local cinema, for instance, would go together perfectly.
The restaurant business if incredibly competitive, so marketing and promotions are always important. After ensuring that your establishment is clean, serves great food, and gives superior service, you should focus on ways to bring more people through your door.
Marketing doesn’t always have to break the bank. New and established businesses alike have found inexpensive or free ways to promote their businesses. More than ever before, people are learning about potential places to eat online. There is a whole world of possibilities. The best part is that many are free. Here are ten ideas for marketing tricks you can use to bring in more customers.
1. Create a Google Business account
Although some of Google’s social networking apps—like Hangouts—are not exactly popular, many others are. Many people use Google Maps, for example, and their search engine remains the most popular on the internet. Don’t forget they are also the people behind AdWords, Youtube, Google Analytics, and Webmaster Tools.
The best thing about Google is you can kill all these birds with one stone by registering a Google account. Google will let you verify the address and location of your restaurant on Google Maps and Places. Don’t forget the power of Youtube: make your own channel with video testimonials from loyal customers, previews of this week’s specials, etc.
Here are some instructions on how to create a Google Business account.
2. Build a Facebook business page
A Facebook page is free and is a great start for Facebook marketing. Facebook is the largest social network on the planet, but can also help you to get very local in your marketing. Your page can be a local business page and be easier for customers to find.
If you don’t already have a Facebook account, create one. Then go to Facebook.com/pages/create. Choose a page category, then a more specific category from the drop-down menu. Fill out the required information, click Get Started, and follow the directions.
Once your page is created, you can upload your logo and an appetizing cover photo. Make sure to complete the About page, description, location, and contact address. On your page, you can post photos, videos (including links to your Youtube videos), links, or comments to engage potential customers. Try out promotions, like a percentage off meals if the customer mentions your Facebook post. Be sure to include a strong call to action.
3. Use Twitter for promotion
Twitter is the other social networking giant after Facebook. If you are unaware, it is a microblogging tool where all posts are 140 characters or fewer. You can also share photos, videos, and other engaging media. Twitter is very mobile-friendly, so it reaches customers on the go.
4. Promote your restaurant on Instagram and Pinterest
Instagram allows you to take selfies and other photos and instantly upload them with your phone or computer. Imagine posting pictures of enticing entrees or desserts, selfies of you or employees with famous diners, shots from a great party, etc.
Pinterest is set up like a scrapbook, with various places to post pictures. Here again, you can post photos of just about anything to engage with your customers.
5. List your restaurant on Apple Maps
In addition to Google users, you can also reach those who only use Apple products: iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc. It’s easy to sign up with Apple’s Maps Connect portal. The portal lets you add or update your business information, so customers will find it when using Apple Maps. First, go to https://mapsconnect.apple.com/ and click the “Create one” link to get your free Apple ID. Once you are signed up, click on the “Create a new business” page and indicate your relationship to the business. Enter the basic details, verify your business phone number, and confirm your business location. You will also want to indicate hours of operation, and website and social media links. You will be asked to review everything you’ve added, and that’s it.
6. Get listed on local business directories
Pre-internet, the way to get your business noticed was to get listed and buy ads in the Yellow Pages. Now, there are online directories, such as Google Places, Bing Places, Yahoo Local Listing, Yelp, Angie’s List, Local.com, and Citysearch. Some of these sites are just business listings, while others, like Yelp or Angie’s List, are review sites, encouraging users to leave honest reviews.
7. Join Online communities
Facebook, LinkedIn, and others have groups, forums, and communities that you can join or start. For instance, you could start a group for lovers of a specific food (that happens to be your restaurant’s specialty). Regardless, be sure to follow the group rules, and focus on building relationships with the others in the group or community.
8. Conduct an SEO audit
Do you know how well your website does in search engine rankings? If not, or if you know they could be better, you might want to look at what you are doing now and research how you can improve your rankings. Although you could hire a pro, there is a lot you can do yourself with a little research.
9. Blog about it
If you don’t have a blog, you probably should. To avoid paying any extra fees, it could be part of your website or you could sign up for a free blog service (Blogger, Wordpress), at least until you are able to justify the expense of additional hosting. Blog about new recipes and menu changes, coming events, what’s happening in your neighborhood. Be sure to include calls to action.
10. Invite food and restaurant bloggers
What would happen if the premier food and restaurant bloggers in your city were invited to sample your wares? They will probably write about it. If you are confident in the quality of your food, you have very little to lose (the cost of a meal) by inviting them.
Sell more online with Takeaway Solutions
For those restaurateurs looking to push the boundaries with their online marketing and promote innovative campaigns. Takeaway Solutions has the right solution for you. There are almost limitless combinations of the type of combo deals we can create for you.
We have created a video demonstrating how a Combo Deal can work for selling 2 Burgers, 2 Small and 2 Drinks for a fixed price.
Some of the other online special functionality and popular specials we can provide are as follows;
We are excited to announce that Marketing promotions are now available!
This can be accessed from the new 'Marketing' tab on your management console. Simply login using the same credentials as your Takeaway Solutions tablet.
Basic Promotions Included
Yet another Kerikeri restaurant has joined the Takeaway Solutions and Foodbooking app family. Aegean Lane Restaurant & Bar is an Italian based restaurant in the heart of Kerikeri Town centre offering both pick-up and delivery service. You can order online direct from their website, facebook page or the Foodbooking App.
From shopping list to shopping cart
As we are in the business of making business life easier for owners and staff of busy companies. After much testing, evaluation and studying we are expanding our service offering by offering training and consulting services round the use of Evernote.
Being one of the first Evernote Certified Consultants in New Zealand, we are excited to show our new and current customers how Evernote can make their life easier.
You can register for a FREE, Plus, Premium or Business account here.
More new customers
We are pleased to welcome another 'world famous in Kerikeri' restaurant to the Takeaway Solutions family. Why not try them out by ordering below.
See MENU & Order