How You Can Attract More Customers To Your Restaurant
It’s been a hard time for restaurants and other establishments like cafes, bars, and clubs. Even before there was inflation skyrocketing causing everyone to pinch their pennies, there was a pandemic that caused every physical door to close for a year and a half, and even before that a worrying trend of staying at home for dinner was taking over young culture.
But it’s not all bad. People discovered plenty of places they wanted to go on social media, and how much they missed people they haven’t seen for years, and just the experience of going out.
There hasn’t been a better time to throw a few things at the wall and see what sticks. It’s time to experiment and improve so that you can attract more customers to your establishment. Read our guide for some ideas that you can implement to get more people at your door.
The biggest change that occurred due to the pandemic was the fact that almost every venue that serves food or drink were forced to start delivering. There were a lot of creative options arising from that struggle, but the takeout option is definitely the one that stuck around.
The trend of people preferring to stay in has only been boosted by the fact that they can now get a quality meal to go with it. Restaurants of all calibers are now delivering everything from a salad to a steak to your door for a great dining experience without having to leave the house – and restaurants are making more money because of it. Take a look at guides on how to manage a restaurant in the post-Covid era to make a go of it.
Get tech savvy
Restaurants, cafes, and bars are all becoming more tech involved. You would think the tech upgrades would be kept to the kitchen, but there is a lot of change happening in the front of the house too.
For one thing, contactless payment methods have been given the shove they needed to become the norm. No more handling literally dirty money, or fishing around for your debit card (or pretending you’ve forgotten it), you can pay now pay with your phone. Sure, you can use your card too if it’s designed for it, for a faster transaction, but you can almost omit the idea of a wallet entirely with your phone in your pocket. Splitting the bill is made a lot easier with these contactless machines as you can set a different amount each time.
But there are a lot of other technological advancements. The most common one you’ve probably seen in your local fast food joint: front of house automation. The big machines at the entrance that you can order from. Don’t let that reputation put you off. They offer a much faster ordering experience, and when dine in experiences are already allowing customers to order from their phonesv, the front of house automation system allows for a smoother choosing process for those who maybe don’t love the idea of choosing from their phones.
However, phone menus offer a sleek alternative if you don’t like the idea of bulky screens taking up your front of house space. All of these are good ideas to make the customer experience easier.
Upgrade your social media accounts
But you also have to think about your online presence. If you have a business website, it’s no longer simply a marketing matter. You can get a lot of features that turn your restaurant website into a customer service experience. You can spend less time on the phone when your customers are checking your calendar, seeing what they want to eat, and creating a booking all from your site.
Save the marketing aspect for your social media accounts. They are far more important when it comes to marketing. Your website simply has to look good, but users are going to find and judge you based on your social media account – or not.
You have to use algorithms to your advantage, while showing users exactly what they’re looking for. Short-form video content like Reels and TikToks are great for showing off the best place to hang out. Create high quality content around everything your establishment is about to get on the algorithm. Show off your interiors, exteriors, your team, your chef, everything.
Users today don’t like big influencers and the “fake” image that has come with Instagram, which means they’re looking to get to know brands. Partly for the sake of authenticity but also partly to assure that they are not supporting a cause they don’t believe in with their wallets. So, show what you stand for. Do you have any sustainable operations? Any vegan or allergy-free menu options? Mocktails for the teetotal visitor? A diverse and inclusive team? Your users truly want to know.
Offer something more than food
Something that will really help your social media presence is the idea that you have something more to offer than just a good meal. Don’t get us wrong, you’re likely to get some attention for that if your food really does look good online, but people of all kinds are looking to share their days/nights out on social media. It’s not just influencers that will be taking photos in your establishment, so you better give them something to take a picture of.
Sometimes that is some gorgeous interiors, sometimes it’s a show, like a band, sometimes it’s a gimmick. Maybe you’re leaning into your theme. Maybe you offer arcade games in a bar, maybe you offer food themed after movies or nationalities, maybe you offer events, like single nights or quiz nights, maybe you offer a quiet space for people to read. There are a million options, but there is a reason you’re seeing a lot of restaurants suddenly redecorate come the opening of lockdown with lots of flowers or ivy: because it looks good in a photo. And in the year of our lord 2022, that is what your average diner is really looking for.