With most of the businesses shifting their focus on online sales and marketing strategies, we wanted to offer updates on how to attract more customers to your restaurant.
Yes, it’s a dry subject – and if you have already run a few businesses, you know the basics of scalability. We are not here to advocate for such strategies. The focus of this write-up is clear, sharp, and to the point to help you get more customers for your online restaurant business.
It is an updated guide with a fresh intake on those strategies that haven’t been in discussion during the pre-pandemic phase.
On a related note, we are well aware of the fact that lamenting on COVID’s impact and that transitional phase that helped restaurants towards online scalability. To be honest, it has become repetitive. However, as much as we don’t like to play the same card, the outbreak caused a massive change in how different businesses adapt to new heights of success.
Blink is your #1 Online Ordering Platform for Restaurants
How to Attract More Customers to Your Restaurant in a Post Pandemic World?
According to ‘Statista’, the food and beverage industry wasn’t the only one to take a hit during the pandemic outbreak situation. For instance, the retail industry oversaw phenomenal growth in online sales trends, as is pretty much obvious from the image above.
Between the year 2018 to 2020, you will notice a sudden upward shift in the graph. This happened because healthcare organizations worked with government institutes to send the majority of the people packing. Since no one could go outside anymore, people had to rely on trusty online shopping websites to buy just about everything.
Likewise, if we talk about how to attract more customers to your restaurant in the aftermath of a post-pandemic F&B landscape, you will notice that it’s the perfect time to seize the opportunity from a very long-term success perspective.
Last year’s survey on the transitional effect of COVID vs different industry businesses shifting to online operations affected nearly every other niche. We see that the ‘Food Takeout & Delivery’ category expanded by an additional 28%, which is a remarkable growth spectrum in just about one year.
In other words, if you are a business owner, indulging in dated strategies regarding how to attract more customers to your restaurant, this write-up is for you.
We’ll start from a dash of line customer acquisition strategies, and talk about conventional methods that apply to attracting diners to brick-and-mortar establishments.
Let’s get to it.
Online Restaurant SEO:
Whenever customers run a query on Google Maps for “Near Me” searches, the algo pings local search repositories for showing results on the map.
In other words, invest in promoting your food businesses through search engine optimization. Now, we know that the traditional method is to create a blog and bank on organic keywords.
However, since you are a restaurant business owner, you don’t have to maintain a separate content curation system. In fact, the majority of restaurants from around the world don’t have a traditional blog.
These businesses approach SEO techniques by focusing on making their presence known in Google local searches, map searches, and other online visibility tactics.
In plain sight, it’s a long process that will take a while to show you traction from the customers’ side. However, it’s well worth it.
Use Social Media to Attract Food Lovers:
Speaking of social media strategies on how to attract more customers to your restaurant, we have already written a few guides before. In case, you missed reading our posts, make sure to check out: ‘Social Media Restaurant Marketing for Dummies’. It’s an in-depth guide for online and real-life food and beverage startups who are having a hard time figuring out customer attraction tactics.
The gist of that aforementioned post is to create awareness about the power of social media. We know for a fact that you already have a Facebook or Instagram page for your restaurant. But, did you really invest time in creating scheduled Instagram posts, #hashtagged images, food photography, and other elements?
On a separate note, social media isn’t only limited to Facebook and Instagram. For up-and-coming restaurants, there’s Snapchat, Pinterest, and other online communities where it is relatively easy to directly engage with customers.
Plan your social media post sharing days over different popular platforms and stay up to date with the latest news concerning your competitors. This way, you’ll have more than enough time to remodel your strategy on how to attract more customers to your restaurant.
Online Reviews and Endorsements:
When a popular figure posts something positive about your restaurant, it will automatically turn heads in the online stratosphere. Even if it’s a single line, its impact is well worth the effort spent on getting someone popular to write something about your business.
Likewise, online reviews posted at Yelp and other review-centric websites are great for creating awareness about your restaurant services. For startups, the best-recommended method to do so is by asking your customers to share their experience through dedicated reviews.
Since you’re going to be asking for online reviews, you could ask your food services merchant to provide powerful review integration for online food menu orders. Blink offers such solutions to food business operators through a white-labeled brand kit that works like a charm for all kinds of food businesses.
Now, coming back to the point, getting online reviews is relatively easier as compared to getting someone popular to send a Shout Out. There’s a paid approach, where you could get in touch with the said celebrity’s manager and ask them to schedule an online activity in favor of your business.
However, paid celebrity endorsements are very expensive. Therefore, it’s not recommended for new businesses to bank on such opportunities right away.
As a food startup, you can attract popular people within your community and local vicinity by creating dedicated social media posts that make the person feel important. For instance, if you have a barista who has a knack for drawing celebrity mugshots in coffee cups, you could use his talents to dedicate each one of his creations to someone popular.
All you need to do is share a close-up shot of the coffee cup and share a post with the celebrity’s name and social media handler in it. They’ll automatically get a ping and someone will eventually respond to you with something similar in return. The entire process is cute, harmless, and proven to reap results for up and coming businesses.
Where’s Your Online Customers Email List?
For food business operators, maintaining a hefty list of customer email addresses is very easy. This could be done through an integrated system offered by your food services merchant who helps to make it possible for fulfilling online orders.
The simplest example of this behavior is Blink Co.’s powerful integration of different marketing tools with retrievable food business customers’ data. Each account is precedented with important customer information, such as the maximum number of purchases, email address, contact information, and vice versa.
This data can be used by Blink Co. food business partners in times of running targeted marketing campaigns. Needless to say, if you need an email list, that’s where you can get started immediately.
Case in point, an email list is a fantastic way of figuring out how to attract more customers to your restaurant. Send weekly updates about your latest food menu, special dishes, and other time-gated deals. You can also share your chef’s specials, and create a sense of urgency by suggesting that this special dish is only available to X number of customers who book a reservation before the coming weekend.
Such strategies have been proven to garner a cult-like following among diehard culinary fans who like nothing more than taking a dab of exclusive delights that are hard to come by!
Host Events Around Food Preparation:
Depending on that special time of the year, you could host food-centric events to attract more customers to your restaurant. How does it work?
For starters, if we were to talk about public holidays, there are plenty of ways to amass customers by sharing posts in advance that offer a discount at your local food business establishment. Restaurants in the U.S. host events for the 4th of July, Labor Day, and Black Friday to make a killing out of time-gated deals.
If you are located in the Middle East, you can replicate the same effect by scheduling posts in advance before Eid or some other holiday festivals. Customers with a knack for special events love to show up with their friends and family members to get a dig into the food menu that would have been relatively expensive to order on regular days.
Likewise, online restaurant business owners can post promo deals to help people place their food orders through the internet. The only “setback” to this scenario is having enough riders at your disposal to take care of the deliveries afterward.
It is not a big deal if everything’s handled via Blink Co.’s dedicated fleet management portal. With real-time GPS tracking available on rider locations, it’s easier to assign orders to those riders who have more time on their hands.
How to Attract More Customers to Your Restaurant through Traditional Practices?
Okay, so far we have said plenty about how to attract customers to your restaurant through online strategies. What about brick-and-mortar establishments that already have a nice percentage of regulars coming in every other day?
Here are some fantastic tips to sway more people off their feet:
Improved Service Standards:
Train your restaurant staff to attend to customers in a fast-paced manner.
For instance, deploy bus boys to service empty food tables so that they are squeaky clean by the time the next customer shows up to place his order. Likewise, have waiters memorize your in-house food menu order with an emphasis on the deal of the day. This way, customers can place orders on a whim without batting an eye.
Improved service standards also mean going out of the way to serve customer demands. Sometimes, orders get mixed up. Despite your customers’ obvious anger, you could make up for the inconvenience by offering substitutes and entre’ menu courses towards a delightful customer experience.
Make sure that everyone leaves with a smile on their face. It’s the happiest customers that tend to refer more people to such businesses. Rinse and repeat as much as possible, so that your food business can scale effectively without any obvious setbacks.
On a related note, do you have a self service point of sale system in your restaurant? It’s an innovative technology that empowers customers to create their own food menu order and checkout through flexible payment options. Such POS systems are already installed in a multitude of food joints and eateries that have to frequent a large number of people on daily basis.
Unique Menu Options:
Don’t rely on the same food order menu over and over again. Depending on the time of the year, throw in a variety of special dishes to offer something new to your customers. Your regulars will be surprised to see the variety of tantalizing dishes you have stored up your sleeve. In a way, these customers will always have something to look forward to due to the sweet and unpredictable nature of your menu.
Likewise, optimize your beverage program by hiring a bartender who can make all kinds of different cocktails. We are not just talking about alcoholic drinks here. A $5 smoothie can cover a divine combination of fruits, special ingredients, and various other delicacies to offer a wide variety of tasteful experiences to customers.
Similarly, salads are the kind of specialty area for many chefs who can create a bundle of recipes without taking too much time. Such food menu options always come in handy whenever you’re looking to attract diet-conscious folks who are more concerned about their eating habits.
Ambiance for Restaurants Matters | Here’s Why?
The ambiance is the unique combination of interior styling that your restaurant has to offer. It is a blend of seating arrangement, architecture, lighting, and many other things that set the mood for your customers.
Believe it or not, many people are diehard fans of visually attractive restaurants as compared to occasional establishments. As a business owner, dedicate a portion of your monetary resources to hire an interior decorator. Play around with the theme of your restaurant and see how that pans out in terms of how to attract more customers to your restaurant.
Oftentimes, it’s the culmination of lightning, seating arrangements, and interior design that accentuates the way people eat and enjoy their food. Dull-looking interiors with shady lights inflict a sense of gloom on customers. Get rid of such antics and indulge in something new to retain existing customers and attract new ones right away.
Other factors that contribute to the ambiance are cooking nights, speed dating rounds, open karaoke challenges, and flashy neon signs that can turn heads from a mile away. Needless to say, it’s your little playground as a restaurant business owner who likes to define his/ her own rules.
How Do You Attract More Customers to Your Restaurant?
In the end, let’s hear it from you.
Do you use special strategies specific to your restaurant to attract more customers? If so, our readers would love to hear all about it. Make sure to use the comments section below to drop insight on how you scaled your food business and expanded your customer base.
Blink is your #1 Online Ordering Platform for Restaurants