It’s no secret that the modern restaurant industry is incredibly competitive. London alone has a whopping 18,000 restaurants, many of which are family-owned or non-franchise establishments. This may lead you to believe that running a restaurant is easy. However, the truth is that most restaurants run very slim profit margins. This means restaurant owners and managers need to adopt various strategies to attract new customers if they wish to stay in business. There are several different ways to attract customers to your restaurant. Restaurant owners will need to use a variety of strategies if they wish to outmanoeuvre the competition and get ahead in this highly competitive industry.
Useful Tips To Attract More Customers To Your Restaurant
Let’s look at some effective strategies to attract customers to your restaurant.
1. Promote Yourself on Social Media
Many restaurants have begun promoting themselves on social media. This is a great approach as social media sites are incredibly popular with people of all ages. If you want to reach out to a particular audience or customer base, social media restaurant promotion is certainly the way to do it.
You can create advertisements and pay to have them featured on various social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Alternatively, you can set up a business page on these sites and upload promotional posts to attract customers.
Social media marketing is a huge field in itself. You can gain the attention of customers by posting content regularly. This could be posts about restaurant renovations, new additions to your menu, or just a video of your restaurant kitchen in action.
Some restaurants also hold contests on social media sites where they encourage viewers to tag their friends. The social media manager then selects a lucky winner and presents them with a meal voucher to their restaurant.
2. Offer Free WiFi
Offering free WiFi is a great way to draw in new customers to your restaurant. Many cafes have already embraced this approach, as they want to create a friendly space that will attract people who want a place to sit down and work on their portable computers. These cafes assume customers will order food or coffee from them as they are working, which can be a great way to boost revenue.
Restaurants can benefit by using a similar approach. The good news is that it doesn’t cost much to set up a dedicated WiFi connection for customers. In fact, the boost in sales from offering free WiFi should more than cover your internet bill each month.
3. Provide Live Music
Plenty of restaurants and bars in London attract customers by providing live music. This could be an in-house band of musicians, or a rotating set of musical groups.
If you are lucky, you may be able to book some big-name musicians to perform at your restaurant. Such events will draw a huge crowd and introduce many new customers to your establishment. However, this approach might not work for every restaurant, as you may need sufficient space for the musical group to perform.
If you believe your restaurant can accommodate live music events regularly, you should definitely give it a try.
4. Use Email Marketing
While social media marketing is the primary focus in most digital marketing plans, email marketing can still be a great way to attract customers to your restaurant. However, this does require some effort to implement effectively.
You will need to start by building an email list of past customers or new customers you wish to target. One great way to do this is to ask customers for their email addresses when they are making reservations on your website.
You can then send them exclusive promotions such as discounts or restaurant updates to their email. Email marketing is also useful for targeting the small percentage of users that do not use social media sites but still browse the internet frequently.
5. Sign up With Online Ordering and Food Delivery Apps
More and more customers are ordering take-out and getting food delivered to them than ever before. Restaurants can benefit from this trend by offering online ordering for take-out or by signing up with food delivery apps.
This approach creates a new line of sales and can help you maximize your ROI. In fact, this strategy also makes your restaurant accessible to a much larger number of customers. Many people refrain from visiting restaurants that are too far for them to travel to. However, delivery drivers may find it easier to deliver food to far away customers.
It is worth noting that most food delivery apps charge a commission for every order. If you want to avoid paying this commission, it may be better to offer delivery services yourself.
6. Give Away Gift Cards
Giving away gift cards is another great way to attract customers to your restaurant. Many restaurants donate gift cards in contests or charity giveaways for this purpose. If the gift card ends up in the hands of someone that has never visited your establishment before, they will be tempted to try it out.
If the customer visits your restaurant and enjoys your food and services, they will be likely to return in the future.
7. Use Social Media Influencers
One of the best ways to attract new customers to your restaurant is to hire a social media influencer. These are social media users or accounts with a large following of dedicated followers. You should look up the various social media food reviewers in your area on Instagram and Facebook and ask them to review your restaurant. This approach encourages their follower base to also visit your restaurant and try it out for themselves.
As you can see, there are numerous ways to attract customers to your restaurant. The strategies mentioned above would work well for both new restaurants and establishments that have been around for a while. So give these strategies a try and see which ones fit best with your current business model.