It’s difficult to stand out as a business in most sectors, but the restaurant industry in particular is one of the most competitive. With close to 70% of new restaurants going out of business in their first three to five years, finding and keeping a loyal customer base is an important step that restaurant managers must take to achieve success.
Serving excellent food and having great customer service is one thing, but that only goes part of the way to gaining new costumers – after all if no one knows how great your restaurant is, no one will come!
Here’s five affordable ways that you as a restaurant manager, can attract more customers to your restaurant.
1. Stay Up-To-Date with the Latest Trends
Staying up-to-date with the latest trends in the restaurant industry is a great way to see what people are looking for. For example, think back to a couple of years before the boom in vegan and vegetarian options at restaurants. Forward thinking restaurant managers and owners saw the demand for these dishes and added them to their menus. Keeping track of these demands can help you to attract customers who would otherwise not consider your restaurant.
A great way to stay up-to-date with trends is by following influencers and though leaders in the sector. These are some of our favourites:
Donald Burns – He’s known as The Restaurant Coach, enough said.
Barbara Castiglia – Always has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends.
James Hacon – Global hospitality leader, championing growing restaurants.
2. Set up a Social Media Strategy
In this day and age if you don’t exist online, you’re missing out on a huge number of potential customers. Ensuring that you’re utilising the correct social media sites correctly and regularly is a great way to get seen and stay in the minds of your customers.
Here are some marketing leaders that you need to be following to stay on top of the latest marketing trends:
Social Hospitality – Always sharing marketing tips, trends and helpful content.
Loren Gray – Founder of Hospitality Digital Marketing, always sharing his knowledge and tips.
Michael Hartzell – Guerrilla marketing guru extraordinaire in the restaurant industry.
3. Make the Most of Your Time
If you’re not tracking your sales already, then you should be! Understanding the patterns of when your customers are spending will help you to maximise your profits. Ever wondered why certain restaurants offer a happy hour, or reduced lunch service during the weekday? These times are most likely when there’s a dip in customers and sales So, by offering a reduced priced menu during these low service times will help you get people through the door.
4. Offer Free Wi-Fi
There’s a common misconception that offering free Wi-Fi will encourage customers to stay for long periods of time without spending money. Although its estimated that 62% of customers will stay longer in a restaurant with free Wi-Fi, over half of them will actually spend more versus if they were offered no Wi-Fi. Also, to ease any worries you might have, those that do spend longer are usually doing so in times of the day when restaurants are quieter.
5. Reach out to Local Influencers
Another great way of finding new customers is through gaining exposure via food bloggers and influencers. Nowadays, everyone is sharing their experiences and when they come across a new spot which has great food and service, they’ll want to shout about it! Reaching out to local influencers could help you get seen by more people and also help create a buzz around certain dishes or unique items you might have.
Some of our favourite London based foodies are:
@londonfooddon – He’s known as The Restaurant Coach, enough said.
@ollie_eats – Always has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends.
@the.xandwich – Dedicated to all the best sandwiches in London.
So, those are our top tips to help restaurants managers attract more customers. Is there something that you’re doing which you think we left out? Tweet us and let us know what we could add to the list!
Why not check out one of our latest in a string of blogs on seasonal staff training – where we explored how you can collect feedback and improve your seasonal staff training.
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