Attracting new guests to your restaurant is highly necessary to survive, and during the current Corona pandemic it can be harder than ever. But there are strategies and methods that work for most restaurants. It's just a matter of thinking smart – and right!
An important first aspect to keep in mind is to inform your customers, both digitally and in the restaurant, about how you work to protect guests and staff against COVID-19.
A clear concept
If you have a clear concept, it is easier to succeed in attracting guests. If your concept is French bistro, it is important that the venue, staff and food match the concept. The restaurant industry is one of the few industries left that can offer unique and memorable real-life experiences and that's exactly what today's consumers are looking for when choosing a restaurant.
Who is your target group, and can you find new target groups to serve?
Identify your target group and work from there. Try to find out what is unique about your target group and think about how you can attract them to your restaurant. Are families your primary target group? Arrange family evenings or activities for the children. Are career people your target group? Arrange after work events or offer quick lunches to streamline their visit. How about young people? Make sure you are on the right digital platforms and it’s only positive to let them use technology when they order and pay.
Are there nearby target groups you could have as guests? Is your venue empty during the daytime? Many people have flexible workplaces and are happy to work from a restaurant if it is possible to charge their computer. Here you can serve simpler meal- and snack concepts or have lunch to-go for everyone who works at home and are tired of eating leftovers from yesterday's dinner. Think outside the box and make sure you communicate to the right visitors about your restaurant.
Take advantage of current trends
Companies that are aware of current commercial trends are often at the forefront and can benefit from movements that are taking place in society at large. Here are five trends you should keep an eye on.
- Consumers want healthier and more environmentally friendly alternatives
- Convenience continues to drive purchasing decisions – make your food easily available
- Digital services continue to expand
- The restaurant industry needs to adapt to Millennials and Gen Z
- Personal experience and innovative food
Be present and visible where your guests are = online
If you are not online in today’s society, you do not exist. Make sure to be visible digitally with your own website and preferably also through social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. These platforms already have millions of daily users and provide a great opportunity for you to be seen by new potential customers. Read more about our best Instagram tips here!
Working with communication and marketing for your restaurant is something you should never leave to chance – it requires a clear strategy and plan. Having inactive accounts on Facebook and Instagram is as bad as having nothing at all. Having a clear plan and strategy with your social media accounts is worth the time and will lead to better results.
- Plan and analysis: make sure to create a plan for your digital presence and analysis. Set goals that can be measured, such as number of followers, likes, etc.
- Implementation: how should the plan be implemented? Who does what, and when?
- Follow-up: follow up on your goals on a regular basis. What works and what does not work. Are you on your way to reach your goals?
- Improvement: learn from both what works and what doesn’t work. Dare to try new things but be sure to follow up. You have the possibility to measure everything, so you don’t have to follow your gut feeling. You can see how many people have visited your site daily, how many have booked a table, how many followers you have on Instagram and how many people like and share your posts etc.
The best marketing - recommendations!
The very best marketing, and what probably gets most of your visitors to visit you, are recommendations. Creating good customer contacts and taking care of your visitors in the best way possible is usually highly effective. It doesn’t matter how cool your restaurant is or how well you market yourself if you do not take care of your guests and make sure to provide them with good food and service. Recommendations from friends and family are often a strong influence that is perceived as credible, but other consumers are also perceived as more credible than if you as the owner or staff of the restaurant would describe how good you are. Third-party apps like The Fork and TripAdvisor attract millions of visitors and provide a great opportunity for your restaurant to attract customers. Thanks to reviews and ratings, visitors can quickly form an idea of whether your restaurant is worth a visit or not. Remember to respond to both good and bad reviews to show that you care about your guests. Remember to see criticism and reviews as an aid for what can be improved.
Do you want to read more about how to work smart in today's restaurant industry? Download our guide on how to work smarter and more digital.