6 Ways to Bring More Customers Into Your Restaurant

By Raubi Perilli

      Mar 21, 2018     Solutions    

The restaurant business is one of the most cutthroat industries there is. Customers typically only give eating establishments one or two tries to create a positive, memorable experience before they move on and never return. There’s competition on every street corner, and always something new threatening to cut into your business.  

As a result, owners and managers are always looking for new ways bring more customers into their restaurant.

They need to build loyalty and encourage customers to return while luring new diners to give their brand a try. If you’re trying to market to local audiences to grow your business, follow these six tactics to expand your brand.

Create Limited Offers and Deals

Limited time offers, whether they’re seasonal, monthly, or even daily, can quickly increase the number of customers in your restaurant.  

Since Starbucks launched the Pumpkin Spice Latte in 2003, experts estimate they have sold more than 200 million orders of the drink. Today, that product alone is worth an average of $100 million in revenue annually. These limited-time products boost sales as customers come into the store specifically to try the drink once it surfaces, and often try to drink more toward the end of fall because they won’t have them again for another year. The demand for that drink has spurred a pumpkin spice obsession in America and is an essential tool to grow revenue for the coffee chain.    

You don’t have to create the next PSL craze to drive customers to your restaurant, but you should consider offering seasonal items, limited-time offers, and special deals for customers.  

This will move customers to come into your restaurant even if they weren’t originally planning to and increase your average ticket when they choose the seasonal up-sell.

Develop a Customer Loyalty Program

Tapping into customer loyalty means more sales and a higher ROI for your marketing efforts. Consider the statistics that repeat customers spend an average of 30% more than first-time customers, and they are nine times more likely to convert.  

If you can increase the number of first-time customers that return or increase the number of times loyal customers return annually -- then you can see a significant increase in your sales revenue.  

This data explains why so many companies have customer loyalty plans. From email offers to special discounts, loyalty programs encourage people to come back to the restaurant and keep spending.  

Once again, Starbucks is a great example of this. Customers are kicked off of the Gold Card plan if they don’t reach a certain amount of stars (or spend a specific amount) each year. People use the card for perks, but the company also uses it to make sure customers buy from them more times than they might have to maintain gold status.

Tap Into Text Marketing

More managers are using text marketing to build customers loyalty and bring more customers into a restaurant. Text messages have rapid turnaround as brands can promote last-minute specials, exclusive one-night deals, and performance line-ups to attract customers.  

Many restaurants use text marketing boost sales on slow weeks and bring an extra few people through the doors.  

Not only does restaurant text marketing build loyalty, it’s also easy to monitor. You can create special codes for only your text customers and track how often they’re redeemed. This gives you an idea for the percent of people who act on your text messages, making it easy to predict what kind of sales bump you can expect per campaign.  

Remarket to Existing Customers

Remarketing is the process of marketing to people who are already familiar with your brand. Your goal is to bring them back to your restaurant and increase their overall loyalty to your business.  

There are multiple ways to remarket to existing customers and bring them back to your restaurant. You can:

  • Create promoted social media posts that only target people who have checked-in to your location.
  • Launch a display advertising campaign or Adwords campaign targeting people who have already visited your website.
  • Develop email marketing messages for people who are already familiar with your restaurant, bringing them in for events and seasonal dishes.

Many brands create different marketing campaigns for new and existing customers. The sales pitches are different because the sell is harder for new customers. By approaching your customers as two audiences, you can have a detailed marketing strategy that gets better results.

Ask and Respond to Online Reviews

There are two ways to bring more customers into a restaurant: reach out to existing fans and get them to come back or encourage new people to give you a try.

One of the easiest (and most reputable) ways to draw in new customers is with positive online reviews. A whopping 97% of people say they read online reviews for local businesses in 2017, and 12% of people check online reviews almost every day.  

If you have a loyal fan base, invite them to leave reviews for your business. A positive rating and multi-star review can boost sales and convince new customers to give your brand a try.  

Unfortunately, not all reviews for your brand will be positive, but your company can salvage its reputation and actually win customers over by responding to them.

A third of customers say business response is crucial when determining whether they will go to a restaurant. People want to be heard if they have a bad time. Simply apologizing for bad experiences and having polite, honest responses to negative reviews can convince people to give your restaurant a try.    

Bring More Customers Into Your Restaurant With Local Directory Listings

Along with online reviews, customers turn to local directories to learn about their options and try new restaurants. They might want to find a specific restaurant type near them or learn about the restaurants in their area.  

Your customers all use the Internet differently, so you can’t limit your brand to one local directory. By making sure you have a presence on multiple business directory websites, you can reach several different audiences and expand your business. Suddenly you will have more people visiting your restaurant because they saw your name in multiple locations. This grows new business while reinforcing your brand to existing customers.  

If you’re trying to bring more customers into a restaurant and grow your business, contact MyArea Network today. Ask about a free consultation to review your business and come up with a marketing strategy to grow your brand. We want to increase your customers and grow your sales so your business thrives.