Your existing customers can and should be your biggest advocates. Treat them well and they will return with friends, bring your restaurant up in conversation, and share your food online. Make an effort to recognize your customers, what they like to order, and pass this knowledge down to your staff. This will make them feel valued. Don't underestimate word of mouth and how far personal treatment can take you.
For the restaurant Poulet Rouge
, one out of every four customers refers another (data from the Concordia App CASA Deals
). This 25% boost has a cumulative effect that can be the difference between filling up at lunchtime and being empty.
While deciding on the menu pricing, balance food cost with being budget-friendly to your target customers. Of course, you need to define that customer segment first. Are you targetting students, millennials, or business clientele? This will inevitably impact your pricing.
But also, be aware of your neighbours. If your restaurant is sandwiched by 2 others, whose average meals cost $10 and $70 respectively, do you find yourself in the uncomfortable middle, around $40? Remember how to get on stage in The Price Is Right. You could be losing a significant amount of customers looking to spend $30 in your area. Conversely, you may profit from raising your prices while still being cheaper than your more expensive neighbour. Overall, survey your neighbourhood and restaurants targetting similar customer segments to nail your pricing.
I have no doubt that you're on Instagram (if you're not, stop what you're doing and make an account). Did you know the average restaurant posts 12 Instagram stories a month? If you follow restaurants like Barley
, and Mandy's
, you'll see them posting several stories every single day. You'd be surprised just how effective this is.
Story ideas include: a smiling customer, prep of a nice dish, a walk to the market to get fresh ingredients, and employees enjoying working at your restaurant. Enthusiastically highlighting the fun aspects of your restaurant and operations gives your restaurant a human vibe. This is really important for establishing relationships with your customers. Further, these stories are seen by hundreds of your followers. I don't need to remind you how frequently your customers are consuming content - they're doing it right in your restaurant! Don't let them watch another restaurant's story while eating your food. Proactively engage with them on social media.
By tapping into local celebrities with large blogs and/or social media followings ("influencers"), restaurants can promote their business via this modern word of mouth marketing. Make contact with the top food bloggers in your city via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (this works better the more you engage on these platforms) and invite them in for a special menu item (on the house). Don't be shy to let them know you're interested in being featured on their blog. Explain the meal thoroughly, then send them on their way. Hopefully, your food is up-to-par and you get a positive review to their thousands of local fans.
What's your average ticket amount? (You should know this number at all times!) Concentrate on raising it 5% through upselling. An extra appetizer here, a dessert there, it makes all the difference. Remind your staff that they are in the sales business. When a customer calls to place an order, you have a prime opportunity to upsell. What would McDonald's do? Supersize it. Then reward your staff. Identify your top-performing salespeople and have them mentor other staff members. Check your average ticket amount weekly and watch it rise.
A Harvard study of the restaurant industry revealed that increasing your repeat customers by 5% can increase your profits by 25% to 125%. How can you make a good impression on your customers? 1) Train your staff to seek out first-timers. Be personable with them, and pull out the stops when it comes to service. 2) Be sure their order is perfect. First impressions are everything. 3) Give first-timers a discount on their next order. Getting them to come back a second and then a third time is essential.
You can use the classic card-stamp method, a personal guarantee, or an app
It makes a difference. Research from the National Restaurant Association makes it clear: 36% of customers say they are more likely to use technology in restaurants than two years ago. Tech is playing a larger role in how restaurants attract and bring back customers. 8 in 10 consumers agree that restaurant technology enhances convenience. 7 in 10 say it speeds up service and increases order accuracy. Another 33% say that technology options compel them to choose one restaurant over another. And interestingly enough, 45% say that technology makes interacting with restaurants more fun.
The hard truth is: we are in a digital world and your customers are attached to their devices. You can ignore these channels, or use them to keep your restaurant top-of-mind, so that you emerge as the best option for their dining experience time and time again.