Owning or managing a restaurant involves many responsibilities that can have an impact on whether customers become regular visitors or give the establishment a miss. Managing employees, ensuring the food is up to standard, handling supplies and looking after the administration of the business, are activities that need to be streamlined so that they do not impact a customer’s experience. This leaves very little time for developing an effective marketing strategy, but there are simple techniques that can be initiated that will save time and are cost-effective.
Look after loyal customers. The cost implications of attracting a new customer to a restaurant are 5-7 times higher than selling to an existing one. In most cases, loyal customers will spend 10 times more over their lifetime. Offering customers an incentive to earn rewards when visiting your business helps to retain the most profitable visitors. It allows resources that may have been wasted on acquiring customers, to be diverted and allocated to more worthy activities.
Own an up-to-date website. In our digital world it has become essential to have a responsive website that is compatible with mobile devices. Nearly 50 percent of restaurant website traffic occurs on these gadgets, therefore businesses that offer this up-to-date and user-friendly facility, can realize as much as a 64 percent conversion rate. With the help of top quality DIY websites like Squarespace and Wix, restaurant owners can create their own mobile-friendly sites. Keep website content short and concise, describing yourself, your restaurant, and menu types under clearly defined headings. A simple, well-designed, functional website that is user-friendly can help to boost the customer base of a new restaurant business.
Boost your number of customer reviews. The reputation of a restaurant can mean either success or failure. It’s not so much the number of reviews that actually matter but whether they are positive or not. The complimentary opinions of customers are particularly significant for a business in a competitive environment. Likes and dislikes about food, ambience, or customer service can be expressed via sites such as Yelp, Urbanspoon and Zagat. In a survey carried out by Dimensional Research, it was found that people who had a poor experience were more likely to share it on social media like Yelp, than those who had a more positive outcome. To keep in touch with the reputation of your business, it is recommended that all reviews receive a public response.
The use of social media. Customers have several choices with regard to social media outlets, but it is better to concentrate on the ones that are more important. As soon as a Twitter handle and Facebook page has been created for your restaurant, focus on the job of collecting more “Likes” and “Tweets”, by urging customers to talk online about their visits. To assist with the management of your social media presence, several social media management tools are available, that include Sprout Social, Buffer, and Hootsuite Media.
Learn more about your customers. Despite living in the 21st century, there are still some restaurant customers who casually hand over their business cards or give email addresses with their contact information written on paper. There are even some restaurants that do not collect any information about their customers. In a highly competitive digital world of online activity, there is no alternative when it comes to gathering facts and statistics about your customers. To move away from the conventional way of collecting data, offering a digital loyalty program can help to attract more online customers. The results of the accumulated data on customers then enable you to make decisions that will be of benefit to the business.
Use mobile devices for restaurant promotions. In a world of mobile devices most of us would be lost without our smartphone or tablet. This is an ideal opportunity for a restaurant to use the facility as a medium for engaging with customers and increasing conversion rates. By partnering with loyalty apps or offering their own app, restaurants are seeing an increase in activity and greater loyalty. Take for example Tropical Smoothie, by offering a special promotion, they were able to halve the gap between their customer visits. This was achieved by using their loyalty program and emailing customers to pay a visit for the chance of winning a free smoothie. An additional perk for customers is being able to book reservations online. A restaurant that does not have this should consider signing up for online reservations like Open Table. A restaurant with its own user-friendly website can have online booking tools included in the site, giving both new and existing customers a quick and easy method to make or change reservations.
Endorse the local fresh produce market. A restaurant that does not offer locally produced food could be losing out to other food establishments that do provide farm-to-table produce. As far as the food is concerned, providing locally sourced products indicates to customers that you are offering fresh, high quality ingredients which would normally command higher prices. From a sales point of view, offering fresh local produce creates the perception that your food is of a much higher quality. Also, by supporting small local farmers, you can help to cultivate goodwill within the local community at the same time.
Provide food options with allergy-free ingredients. To further increase your customer base, alongside your normal menu, offer a special selection of food items to cater for diners who are sensitive to certain ingredients, Sourcing allergen-friendly options would enable a family who have one member with an allergy, to visit your restaurant and enjoy a meal together. These alternatives can be made in-house or obtained from accredited allergen or gluten-free suppliers.