By now we are no strangers to concepts like Facebook followers, organic likes, and social media metrics. With all of this tech talk floating around us, it can be easy to lose sight of every restaurant’s ultimate goal: attracting living, breathing, paying customers. All the online activity in the world is for not if it doesn’t increase traffic and grow a local customer base.
This week we’re shifting back to basics to look at four simple yet effective ways to increase foot traffic to and into your restaurant. Before we do, though, it’s important to address the biggest “Step One” there is to successfully attracting clientele: knowing your target market. From basic demographics to the ins and outs of your ideal customers’ likes and dislikes, clarifying who you want walking through your doors will help you to build an atmosphere so tailored to them it feels like they’ve been hand-delivered a personalized invitation.
Think for a moment on the kinds of associations you want customers to make with your brand. If your specialty is wings, why not market a weekly wing special? If your goal is to create a fun-loving, energetic atmosphere, why not invest in a trivia or karaoke night? These kinds of weekly specials will spread like wild fire – particularly if you’re encouraging customers to post about their experiences on social media – and will help build a loyal weekly following.
2. Make the Customer Connection.
As I alluded to in my introduction, personalization positively influences purchasing. Engaging with your customers not only through social media but also with incentives such as birthday clubs, customer loyalty programs, and other in-person discount offers will entice them to make your establishment their hangout spot of choice.
Oh, and once they’re in the doors? Make sure to dazzle your customers with the kind of quality customer service that will keep them coming back for more.
3. Looks Matter.
I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the fact is that if the outside of your establishment is dirty, dingy, and otherwise uninviting, potential future customers are sure to give your restaurant little more than a sceptical glance. From witty sandwich boards to captivating window treatments and thematic décor, these small – but important – steps will be sure to earn big steps into your lobby.
Keep in mind that continuity matters, so make sure to maintain your restaurant’s desired look both inside and out.
Maybe your restaurant is tucked away in a quiet corner of your city or you’ve only recently launched your brand. No matter the circumstance, getting involved in the community to showcase your quality product will set the stage for future visitors. In my ‘Grand Opening’ post, I talked about cross-promotion with fellow business owners. Not only will this establish and maintain positive rapport with your business contacts, but you also open up the opportunity to tap into new markets you may not have reached otherwise.
To borrow from the beautiful Nancy Sinatra: “These boots are made for walkin’…” right into your restaurant.
We want to know: what entices YOU to give a restaurant a try?