How do I get more customers in my restaurant?
Time needed: 1 day.
How to get more customers in your restaurant. Some of these items may be remedial for you but not others. This is a general list of to-do items that we have done in the past to make restaurants very successful. While these are the broad items, there very specific ways of implementing these. The ways my vary depending on your market, specific cuisine, time in business, current online reputation, and other factors.
These are things you “can” implement yourself, however, if done incorrectly can actually have a detrimental effect on your business. We highly recommend seeking out a professional to help with these.
- Leverage Social Media
Probably the number 1 influence in gaining new customers and getting customers to return. Social media is where it is at. And this is much more than repeatedly putting out posts on Facebook, Instagram, etc. saying “come in tonight”, “are you hungry”, and “look at our food specials”. This is a big mistake of the novice business owner. This get very old and annoying to the people seeing it. Again there is a certain way to approach this and we highly recommend hiring a professional.
- Customer Testimonials
Restaurant patrons almost exclusively rely on friends saying, “you gotta try this place”. This is critical. You, as the restaurant owner, can tell people all day long to come in, and it will fall on deaf ears. However, if someone picks up their phone and sees that their friend “Bob” is having a good time at your place. And Bob is saying how good the food is, that person is going to come in. This can be done a number of ways. Do NOT pressure your customers to put a review out there. It will not get you new customers and it will in fact probably turn off your existing customer from coming back.
- Offer Happy Hour Specials
This is an oldie but a goodie. Everyone love a deal and you can easily remind people about your happy hour without sounding pushy. Do not remind people everyday though. There is a fine line between advertising and annoying. Again, consult a professional on how often is appropriate for your restaurant.
- Rewards Program
While this option does really well with keeping existing customers coming back, if done properly, you can get a large number of new customers. Offer a big reward incentive for bringing in a new customer and that customer signing up with the program themselves. For example, existing customer “A” brings in new customer “B”. New customer “B” signs up for the rewards program so you can make sure they come back. Existing customer “A” gets enough points to get a free appetizer.
- Digital Marketing
While Step 1 and Step 2 could be categorized under this step, we cannot overstate the importance of a well developed and continuously refined online marketing program. This includes your website design, seo, social media management, and possibly even mobile app. Restaurants can be saved with the right expertise and destroyed by trying to do it yourself if you are not an expert. Higher an expert! It will be worth it in the end.