With the year 2022 coming to an end, restaurant owners continue to deal with labor shortages and rising costs, as per an article by Forbes. Growing a restaurant business is challenging. When your restaurant first opens, you’ll have many customers, and they might even be lining up outside the door.
But after a few weeks or months, you’ll notice there’s not as much traffic coming through as there used to be. You have to keep that momentum going if you want your business to stay profitable. Here are some tips on how you can build your customer base.
Create a Mouthwatering Menu
According to the National Restaurant Association, 51% of adults stated they don’t eat at restaurants as often as they would like. You can attract customers to your restaurant by creating a mouthwatering menu. Your menu should be filled with fresh, healthy food that is affordable and presented in an appetizing way. You’ll also want to ensure all the food you serve is available when your customers want it.
You should cater to every type of customer, whether they’re health-conscious or prefer more indulgent fare. A great example of this would be offering gluten-free options for those with allergies or sensitivities but also making sure you have plenty of decadent desserts on hand for those who want something sweet at the end of their meal.
Give Your Customers a Reason to Stay
To ensure that you have tasty food and drinks, it’s essential to be sure you have a good selection. Your menu should include appetizers, entrees, and beverages for your customers. The best would be to have a commercial slush maker and offer slush to your customers while they wait for their table.
A commercial slush maker is basically a machine that makes frozen drinks for your restaurant guests. It does this by freezing ice and mixing it with flavoring until it’s ready for consumption. A commercial slush maker can save you money and time because you don’t have to worry about making the drinks yourself. Your staff can focus on other tasks while this machine does all the work.
Another advantage is that these machines are made to be durable and last for years without breaking down. That’s good news if you’re looking to invest in something that will last and won’t need to be replaced too often. Finally, these machines tend to be pretty affordable compared to other options on the market today.
If there’s something on your menu that doesn’t sell well, consider removing it from the menu or offering it on special occasions only. A varied selection of foods will give customers more options when they visit your restaurant. It will also help them feel welcome because whenever they come in for dinner at your restaurant, there’s always something different available for them to try out.
Have Fun With Food-Themed Events
In addition to showcasing some of your menu items at events like farmers’ markets and food festivals, consider hosting food-themed events in your restaurant. These are great ways to get people into the door, build buzz around the restaurant and your brand, and promote new menu items.
If you have an open kitchen or dining room where guests can see what’s going on behind the scenes, consider offering cooking demonstrations with local chefs. Be sure that they’re willing not just to show off their skills but also to answer questions while they cook.
Another option is wine-tasting nights. These are perfect for restaurants that specialize in dishes pairing well with wine or cocktails. You can offer several different wines or spirits tastings, then pair them with some light snacks like cheese plates or salami boards.
If you don’t serve alcohol at all, consider partnering with another business for this type of promotion, you could offer happy hour deals together as part of a more significant event.
Don’t Overlook the Little Things
Many small details can be missed when you’re running a restaurant, but they can make all the difference to customers.
● Make sure your restaurant is clean and well-lit. Cleaning also helps with customer experience, so it’s essential to have everything sparkling before opening. And if you can afford it, keeping some extra lighting on in the evening will help keep people feeling welcome even when the sun goes down.
● Have friendly and helpful staff members who know how to treat customers well and remember that their job is not just taking orders or serving food. They should always be friendly and welcoming too. It doesn’t mean being fake, just ensuring everyone understands how important it is for them as servers to put their customers first at all times.
● Make sure you have good music playing in your restaurant. This should include both background music as well as live performances by musicians who play there regularly. It’s all about creating an atmosphere that makes people want to stay longer than they intended.
Promote Your Restaurant Online
One of the best ways to increase your restaurant’s visibility and grow your business is by promoting it online. Social media channels like Facebook, with 2.9 billion monthly active users, and Instagram, with 2 billion monthly active users, are great platforms for promoting specials and attracting new customers. These platforms are free or can be used for a minimal fee.
If you don’t have a website yet, now is the time to consider getting one up and running. Your website should be easy to use and navigate so that visitors can find exactly what they’re looking for without having to search too hard or contact customer service with questions about how things work on the site.
It should also be mobile-friendly so that users can access your site from their phones quickly, and this goes double if you do most of your marketing on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram, where people spend more time using their phones than desktops.
You also want people who come across your restaurant online, whether through Google searches or browsing Facebook groups with similar interests, to feel compelled enough by what they see there that they decide it’s worth driving in person just based on what they saw in those pictures alone.
A Successful Restaurant Is All About Creating an Experience
Customers must leave with a positive experience to ensure your restaurant is successful. To create this type of environment, your team needs to focus on creating an experience for people. It can be anything from making sure they feel special and appreciated to making the food fun and memorable.
Creating an atmosphere where customers feel like they are part of a community will also help ensure they return in the future. Servers must communicate with each other, so there aren’t any misunderstandings or issues when it comes time for them to check out their meal tab at the end of the night.
To sum it up, you need to create an experience people can’t get anywhere else. You want them to feel like they are a part of something special when they come into your restaurant, something that makes them want to return again and again.
You may have the best food in town, but if no one knows about it, then what good does that do? So make sure you spend some time thinking about how you can stand out from the crowd by creating an atmosphere your customers love.