Starting a restaurant can be an exciting experience, but the experience can be more challenging than exciting. Restaurants are fast businesses where things are happening all the time. The hospitality nature of the restaurant industry compels you to be at your best at any given moment. From the decoration of the restaurant to the seating layout and quality of your food, everything has to be on-point.
Make one mistake in this modern digital world and the customers will not only reprimand you on the spot, but also post negative reviews about your business on the internet, leaving you with a permanent bitter taste in your mouth.
Running a restaurant is a tough challenge, but never impossible. But what is it exactly that you can do to increase your restaurant’s business and go from one restaurant to maybe a chain? Here are the five sure-fire ways to help you achieve that goal.
Social Media Marketing
In today’s digital age, it should not be a surprise to see social media marketing topping everything else that can be done to improve a restaurant business. If you are active on social media or care to visit major social networks, you will find most food businesses focusing social media as their core restaurant marketing plan. The key factors that will make you successful on social media include creating a unique persona, allowing user-generated content in your feeds, responding consistently to users, and offering rewards to loyal customers (followers.) Don’t forget to include Facebook advertising in your arsenal as this cab bring about great ROI for a small investment.
While restaurants have a lot of content to share with their online followers, users find them more appealing when they have a persona. This tactic has been used by many in the recent times. Gordon Ramsay, the world renowned chef, has a persona where users would send him pictures of their foods, and he would always criticize them by using funny analogies and examples. Wendy’s, a fast food chain, has used a similar approach quite successfully too.
Have a Proper Pricing Strategy
It is imperative for you to know how to develop a restaurant menuif you are serious about your business. There are too many restaurants that don’t pay attention to pricing when compiling their menu. Keep in mind that a menu is not just a list of items you have and so it should not look like your monthly grocery list. The way you design your menu and the paper stock you choose for it speak loud and clear about your brand. Here are the most important things to consider when putting together your restaurant’s menu.
- Pay attention to the designing aspects, make every entry count with proper shadowing, highlighting and maybe even a picture with it.
- Categorize the foods logically, i.e., drinks under drinks, appetizers under appetizers, main courses under main courses etc. Do not make just one list with everything on it.
- When necessary, take help from menu engineers on menu matrix.
- Always put descriptions under the item names. Not every customer knows everything about foods, more specifically about foods that you are selling.
- Avoid putting item names on one side and their prices on the other, which puts customers in the “comparison” mode. Put the price of the items right next to their names.
- Do not put the currency sign with the prices. First, it is not a stock market ticker. Second, you don’t to keep on reminding the customers that they are spending “money.”
- Choose fonts and colors appropriate for the theme of your restaurant as well as your target audience.
It’s important not to take your restaurant’s menu for granted.
Use Material Marketing to Your Advantage
Restaurants are the best businesses to make use of material marketing. A restaurant is a retail business, and you need a lot of foot traffic to make it successful. If the setting of your restaurant allows, try the window vinyl to get passers-by’s attention. If you have outdoor seating, consider installing awnings with your brand’s logo and color on them.
Have your restaurant’s name appear right on the face in a channel or reverse channel letters to create a lasting impression. Heave leaflets and handbills designed for temporary and seasonal deals to get your customers’ attention to them. If your budget allows, let people find you from a distance with a pylon sign.
Have a Restaurant App Developed
A smartphone application is as important for your promoting restaurant as social media marketing, or maybe even more. If there is a particular type of business that can make a difference with a mobile app, it has to be a restaurant. The first reason to have your restaurant application is location based deals.
With an application installed on people’s phones, you can send them to push notifications as soon as they come in a proximity of your restaurant. Furthermore, an application serves as a great platform for rewarding your customers and running loyalty programs. People can place orders using your application, and this will reduce the burden on your phone lines. Last but not least, Millennials love using applications for just about anything.
Use Modern Software Technology
You can’t call yourself a modern business unless you are making use of modern technology. Restaurant POS systems have gone through some real evolution in the past few years. Today, you can have multiple branches of your restaurants connected through one POS, so you never run out of inventory and all your sales data is stored in one place effortlessly. Modern POS systems allow you to launch special campaigns, create coupons, get daily sales reports, and improve seat management to serve more customers in less time.
When you implement all these things, you are sure to increase your restaurant sales and the return on your investment. However, the most important thing that keeps businesses running all over the world and regardless of the business type is customer relations.
You can afford to lose a sales opportunity on a new customer, but you can never afford to lose an existing customer. If a new customer refuses to do business with you, it is because they are loyal to some other brand or maybe they will try you later. However, when you lose an existing customer, it is almost always your fault.
Paul Ormerod is the Managing Director of Nisbets Australia, and is passionate about helping hospitality businesses succeed by providing a one stop shop that makes catering equipment simple.