When running a restaurant, you have to compete not only with every other restaurant in your area but also with your customer’s kitchens and wallets. No matter how good your food is and how comfortable your seating area is: it can be an uphill battle to gain customers if you don’t put in the work.
These are the top ways that restaurants can bring in more customers and why they work.
Start a First-Time Customer Program
Anyone who hasn’t eaten at your restaurant yet is a possible customer. You can make this work for yourself by offering a first-time customer program. This program will entice people into trying the food you have available while allowing them to save a little bit of money.
The most successful first-time customer programs allow customers to have a free item with their first order or a discount off of their entire order. For some restaurants, this may mean a free slice of pie, while for others, it could be a free fountain drink with someone’s first order. Consider which your restaurant could work with, and advertise this offer!
Make Sure You’re Advertising Intelligently
How and where you advertise is important! Even just a sidewalk sign in front of your company can be enough to remind passing customers that your restaurant is there and invite them in.
When you advertise online or on billboards, think about where your customers would be heading or what sites they would be on. For physical billboards, make sure that they aim customers towards your location. This could mean a simple “2 miles further!” or another directional offering to let them know how close your food is.
For online advertisements, pay attention to which videos or websites your food is advertised on. For example, if you promote on YouTube and sell vegan food, you don’t want to advertise right before a video for a butcher’s channel. Think about where your customers may be, and meet them there.
Make Your Company Easy to Order From
Fifty percent of consumers order food online at least once a month, which is a far higher number than we were looking at just a couple of years ago. This means you need to put a lot of attention and work into ensuring that your restaurant is easy to order from online, that your customers know where to find you and that your listings for delivery are appetizing.
This means including pictures, descriptions of the dishes, and the options for changes if they want any alterations. The more you allow your customers to feel like they’re getting the same opportunities as they would sitting down in your restaurant: the more likely they’ll be to order online.
You can hire delivery drivers if you feel like you get enough online orders to warrant it, but until then, consider partnering with GrubHub, Postmates, or one of the other dozens of food delivery services so that you don’t have to put a lot of money down to start getting delivery orders.