No matter what type of business you are in, you will not be operating for long without a steady stream of customers. The restaurant business is particularly tough and if you are looking to break into it, you are going to need multiple marketing strategies that you should be working on long before your restaurant opens.
Hosting events at your restaurant is a great way to drive customers and reach people you may not have otherwise. Make it known your restaurant is available for comedy shows, community and business gatherings, parties and other types of events.
Many people love supporting a good cause and having fundraiser nights at your establishment is a great way to support the local community and bring in some cash. The group looking to raise funds will take care of most of the advertising and you promise a percentage of sales towards their fundraising efforts. It is best to plan these nights on slower days so you are not losing sales you would have had anyway and you will have enough staff and room to accommodate the crowd.
Market to Larger Crowds
Make a list of where sizable groups of people congregate in your area, such as the local mall or high school football games and distribute flyers, coupons or brochures to people as they are leaving. You can use your employees or pay someone to help you, such as a group of children trying to raise funds for their church or other cause. This is a great way to get in front of large groups without having to pay money to sponsor events.
Offer Limited Time Coupons
Successful businesses not only focus on getting new customers, they also figure out ways to get existing customers to buy again, again and again. Offering coupons that are good for a limited time creates a sense of urgency and can encourage repeat business. If you are open throughout the day, you might consider offering the breakfast crowd coupons good for lunch or dinner and vice versa. This is a great way to turn customers who may frequent your establishment for a particular meal into someone who would come there any time of day.
Use Social Media
No matter what type of business you have, you need to get on social media to maximize your exposure and reach as many people as possible. Social media is essentially a digital form of ‘’word of mouth’’ marketing. It is a great way to directly interact with your customer base and get your business in front of new eyes with minimal effort. You can offer special discounts available only to people who follow you on Facebook or Twitter.
Be Eco-Friendly and Let Everyone Know
As the push to be more eco-conscious is gaining traction, businesses that commit to being a better friend to the environment can gain a competitive edge as more consumers factor this into their purchasing decisions. Do what you can to reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly, then make it well-known.
List Your Restaurant on Free Directories
Listing your restaurant on free directories, such as Superpages.com allows people to easily find you online, where people are turning for most of their information these days. Many sites, such as Yelp, allow people to leave reviews as well, which can be a powerful form of free marketing.
Establish Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs are always a great idea for encouraging repeat business. You can have something as simple as a stamp card or design point systems or other programs that you track through the register.
Have a Charity Night
Pick a cause you care about or a cause important to the people in your area and devote one night a month to donating a certain amount of proceeds. Hang up signs in your restaurant and around town; advertise on social media.
Everyone loves the idea of winning something. Hold contests or offer giveaways. If you have a good following on Facebook, for example, you might hold a contest where people submit their favorite recipes along with photos or their favorite healthy eating tip. The winner may receive a free meal for two.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys creating articles that help people find greater success in their businesses. If you are in the restaurant game, check out US Foods, the perfect restaurant supply store for all your culinary equipment needs.