Restaurant Marketing Strategies For Total Domination
The restaurant business is a cut-throat business and it seems that every single day, more and more new eateries are mushrooming all over the place. With an ever increasing choices of places to choose from, how then are you able to ensure that you will be able to fill your restaurants and be able to make a lot of money as a result?
In the following sections, we will present to you information on how to market a restaurant, strategies that you can deploy immediately to totally fill up your restaurant to full house capacity everyday and also be able to have a few rounds of table turnover if your restaurant model permits it.
First step: Create An Irresistible Offer With Limited Time Frame
Whether you own an establish business or you are a new restaurant, until you have a loyal base of customers that can fill up your restaurant every day, you will need to have new customers come through to your eateries. (We will be talking about how to maximize the current customer base that you already have in later sections)
So the first step to differentiate yourself as compared to your competitors is to create an irresistible offer that they just cannot refuse. It can be anything that you feel comfortable in offering as a special deal to your customers. Some examples are:
- buy 2 meals and get one free
- kids below 12 eat for free
- beverages at 50% off for every meals purchased
and so on.
And once you have an offer crafted, you will need to set a time frame with which the offer will last. This is a critical step as you want the customers to take part in the offer right now. Not next week or next month, but right now. So typical, a best time frame of such an offer will be one week. So let’s say, you have an offer for “Buy 2 meals get one free”. Create an offer that says something like this:
“Just for this week, ABC Restaurant is offering everyone a FREE meal with every 2 meals purchased.”
Second step: Send Out Your Offer Message
The next obvious step after you’ve crafted your offer will be to push it out there so that as many people knows about it as possible. There are a lot of ways you can do this and here some examples:
- Creating a poster and hanging it on your restaurant’s windows. If you happen to be in an area where there’s foot traffic, it is human’s natural tendency to stick their noses around, and if you have a poster on the window, they will take a look at it and may be attracted to your offer (it pays to get a good design done for the poster as this will give your prospective customers a positive feeling towards your establishment even before they step into your restaurant)
- Advertising in your local newspaper is the next choice you can consider. Create a good piece of advert that is both professional looking and make sure your offer is the center piece of the advert, and have a proper call to action to ask the customers to call in to place a booking now to avoid disappointment in missing out on this offer. Make sure you have your contact details like your name of your restaurant, phone number, location address, website in the advert. Don’t assume everyone knows who you are. Make it easy for them to find you.
- If your budget permits it, you might also go onto your local radio station and place a spot on air to advertise your specials.
There are many more ways you can get your messages out there like tapping into your existing database and sending out the offers, or seeking out the local blogger celebrity in your area and getting to endorse your offer and so on.
Step 3: Capture Their Contact Details
Everything that we talked about in step 1 and 2 above is leading into this step which is the most important of all.
Once the customers come in to take up on your offer, now’s the time for you to get their contact details like their name, cell phone number, email address and so on. Many of you will ask why would you want to do that. The age-old saying of “it costs more to get a new customer than it is to sell to an existing one” is one that you must always remember. You’ve spent all that time to craft the irresistible offer, which you are giving up margins on. And you’ve spent all the money to get the offer’s message out there through mediums like posters, newspapers, radios and so on. The last thing that you want is for the customer to come into your restaurant once, have a great meal, and leaving it afterwards and never coming back again simply because they don’t remember you.
Let’s face it, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of restaurants or eateries in your town or city, depending on where you are. Choices are abundant, so what makes you so memorable that they will remember to come back to you over and over again? (unless your restaurant serves such fantastic food and has such tremendous service that everyone is mooning over about you and they must eat at your restaurant 5 times a week, in which case, you can make do without capturing their contact details then)
And once you have their contact details, this is where true domination begins. You can send out text or emails to them frequently to inform them of new deals, promotions, new wine that just arrived, fresh seafood that you’ve just bought, new menu, new 3 star Michelin chef and so on. The sky’s the limit here as to what you want to tell them. The most important thing is, you are now always in front of them, creating what we call “top of mind awareness”, so the next time they want to eat out, your restaurant’s name or image will always stand out in their mind due to you being constantly communicating with them.
And now you also have the cheapest way of marketing your restaurants to your customers.
Now this is the million dollar question:
“What makes the customer want to leave their name, phone number, email address in the first place?”
Well, there’s many things that you can do to get them to do so. And here’s some ideas for you to consider:
- Run a monthly lucky draw contest where you give out vouchers for eating in your restaurants, example, a $100 voucher they can use to offset their meals. Or a free bottle of vintage wine, or something. If the prize/prizes are good enough, people will participate in the draw and they will leave their contact details for you to inform them should they win.
- Give them a voucher, say maybe worth $20 voucher, or whatever it makes sense for your type of restaurant. All they need to do is to become a ABC Restaurant VIP club member. Members are privy to special deals that you will offer from time to time, or they will get vouchers and so on. Be creative with what you want to do here.
Step 4: Ask For Referrals
Now that you have people coming into your establishment with powerful restaurant marketing strategies as above, now’s the time to really ramp it up further by asking for word-of-mouth referrals. These are the best form of marketing for any business as they are really cheap (or even free in a lot of cases), and they convert the best as they come from people whom those referred prospects trusts, either their friends, acquaintances, families and so on.
The best time to ask your customers for referrals is when they’ve had a great experience in your restaurant. For example, they’ve just had a fantastic meal and they are beaming all over. How would you know if they are happy or not? You ask them. And if they are very happy after the meal, ask them if they will be willing to recommend 2 other friends to come to eat in your restaurant. All you need to do is ask them to write down their name, cell phone number and email of the friends, and you will send out a voucher to their friends in the customer’s name to get them to eat in your restaurant.
But as the saying goes:
“what gets rewarded, gets done”
So you will explain to the customer that you really want to serve as many customers great food and have a great experience as possible, and in return for them referring their friends to your restaurant, you will give them some incentive in return. Maybe a voucher, maybe a bottle of wine, maybe a box of quality chocolate, whatever it may be.
If you execute the above 4 steps as your overall restaurant marketing strategies, one thing will be guaranteed; you will fill your restaurant every day, and be able to turn over each table multiple times in a day, thus leading you to truly dominating the restaurant business.