It isn’t every day that you get the chance to change things up to increase restaurant sales. Of course, if your restaurant is struggling because of changes in the industry or even the economy, lucky may be the last thing you feel. But, if you want to survive in the food business, that’s how you have to look at each challenge you face: an opportunity to get creative with your craft.
You know this. You’ve been here before. And, with how rapidly things change in the world—for better and worse—you’ll be here again. That’s just how things roll when you’re in the business of serving food.
You already offer items that are well prepared and in demand, so drumming up more business now comes down to drawing more people in. Even when the marketplace changes or gets suddenly disrupted, there are always new ways to attract customers to your restaurant. Here are seven ideas for how you can start doing that today.
7 Ideas for Drumming Up More Interest in Your Food
Whether you’ve just opened your doors in a competitive or niche market, or need to pivot quickly because the restaurant trends for 2020 have shifted, try one or more of these seven ideas to help you attract more customers:
1. Partner with local businesses, nonprofits, and schools
By providing meals to local businesses, nonprofits, and schools, you become a partner with these organizations in ensuring people are well fed. Pre-packaged lunches, meal delivery for special events, and healthy afterschool snacks are just a few examples of what you can offer. Add special pricing to the mix and you could end up with several long-term partners.
2. Run promotions that coincide with current events
Promotions are a great way to stir up curiosity about a product or service and, for restaurants, the idea is nothing new. To set your business apart from others, run promotions that coincide with current events. If you’re operating during a recession, for example, offer “Depression Era” prices on select nights. During election season, name your appetizers after candidates—and let your customers vote on their favorite.
3. Offer cooking or pairing classes—and share them online
Though you may not want to publicly share some of your more popular in-house recipes, you can offer simple cooking techniques, tips, and ideas to your customers during online classes. Food and wine or beer pairing suggestions are usually a big hit, too. Be sure to keep the videos short and sweet to help keep the interest of your audience.
4. Expand your service to include takeout and delivery
If you’re not already providing takeout or delivery, expand your service to include these options. Offer curbside pickup, too. There are a lot of people who are too busy to dine in or who can’t because a family member is ill. They will still occasionally want—or need—to “eat out” from the comfort of their own home. And, you can make it that much easier for them to do so by creating online ordering for your restaurant, as well.
5. Host events that give back to the community
Events that benefit the community in some way are very effective at boosting morale—and awareness of your business. Whether it’s for a local family in need or the employees of another restaurant that’s closed, host an event regularly and donate the proceeds to a good cause. Themed trivia nights, name-that-tune karaoke, and live podcasts are great ideas. Consider inviting well-known guest chefs and mixologists to work for a night at your restaurant, too.
6. Give discounts and specials to diverse groups of people
Offering senior, military, and student discounts is a common practice for attracting customers to restaurants. And, if you don’t do anything special for these groups, you should certainly consider it. But, you can also have a little fun by giving discounts and specials to diverse groups of people, like recent divorcees, cat and dog lovers, or the employees of a local hospital.
7. Leverage social media to boost creative interaction
Leverage social media to open lines of communication and increase customer engagement. But, don’t just announce new menu items or the date of an event you’re hosting. Get creative. Encourage photo sharing and recipe exchanges—and hold occasional contests. Use it as a suggestion box, too, for ideas on cooking classes, promotions, and discounts. Your customers will feel like partners in your success, and they’ll want to do their part to spread the word.
Attract Customers to Your Restaurant and Keep Them Coming Back for More
As a part of any strategic growth plan for a restaurant, generating interest in your food when the time is right and your team is ready is standard operating procedure. When you first open your doors or a competitor moves in, you need to know how to get (and, hopefully, keep) business booming. You also have to plan for those seasons that may be typically slow for your region to attract customers to your restaurant all year long.
Of course, sometimes things also happen that are unexpected, even jarring, like a natural disaster or a health scare. If you can quickly pivot during times of crisis and continue giving the community access to good food, situations like these can give your restaurant an edge—and create new customers who will want to keep coming back.
Provided you’re using one of the top point of sale systems for restaurants to help you run your business smoothly, enacting big or swift changes shouldn’t cause the team any hiccups. And, since everything from scheduling employees to automating discounts and updating the menu can be handled remotely, you can start attracting customers to your restaurant from anywhere—even your home office.
We at talech want to assist customers that have been financially impacted by COVID-19, in light of restricted movements in cities and towns across the country. We have launched a number of initiatives to help customers during this time. Click here to find out more or reach out to our Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
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