The restaurant industry has always been a fiercely competitive one, and the recent disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic certainly has not helped. That is why if you want to ensure the long-term success of your eatery, you will have to be smart when it comes to marketing your business and ensuring customer loyalty. Luckily, there are a few tips you can try no matter what sort of restaurant you run, who your target customers are, or how much budget you have. Here are some of our favorites to get you started.
Have awesome customer service
A big part of what will keep people coming back to your restaurant is the level of service they receive while they are having a meal with you or even just picking up a takeout order. That means you need to make sure you hire friendly, polite and competent staff for all levels of your business, plus have enough employees that no one feels rushed or has to wait a long time for service. Do not pressure your staff into acting like robots either – the human element is what is truly important, so let your servers be themselves and bring some personality to the restaurant floor.
Focus on branding
Branding is huge these days, so you ought to figure out exactly what you want your restaurant’s brand identity to be and then lean into it. This will be affected by who your target customers are – for instance are you a family restaurant or a cafe for freelancers? A healthy eatery or a junk food haven? If you have the budget for it, working with a professional branding agency can be a huge help here. You can get together a line of merchandise including t-shirts, travel mugs and hats to help further raise brand awareness and cement your style.
Build a strong online presence
It is no secret that the internet is where it’s at nowadays, so for your restaurant to truly dominate, you need to have a strong online presence. Having your own website where people can browse your menu, get a peek at what your premises looks like, and find out basic information such as opening hours, is a must. Social media is also key, with Instagram in particular providing the perfect place to lure customers in with mouthwatering photographs of your food. You should also ensure that you are proactive with external websites, such as Yelp and Google+, which are becoming more and more popular. One final idea is to set up an email newsletter, where you can advertise special discounts and new menu items direct to customers.
Serve amazing food
Let’s go back to basics. If you do not offer your customers awesome dishes on your menu, they will not be coming back no matter how much you advertise. Make sure you are serving the kind of delicious food people cannot help but talk about, and that it is presented flawlessly (which also encourages people to post pictures of it on their own social media sites!). Have a mix of innovative new dishes and classic meals that you are known for to ensure customers keep coming back for more.