Ah! The summer. That beautiful time when kids play on the street, adults try to exercise outside, and people, in general, leave their houses to have an excellent meal at their favorite restaurant’s patio. But unfortunately, as soon as summer starts, time starts flying like there is no tomorrow.
To maximize your business’s potential throughout this season, check these four tips to boost your restaurant performance and help you prepare for a successful summer.
#1 Differentiate the extra FREE items giveaway
One thing that people love is free perks. No matter what the giveaway is, there’s always someone interested in it. And when the free item is related to basic needs such as food or beverages, people are even willing to line up. Does this ring a bell?
So why not leverage this human urge for free things? Offering free drinks or free appetizers on a slow day is already a common practice, but what if you were to offer something additional to that? To expand your customer base and get people to invite friends and family members, you could provide sharable items or offer additional free items. With patio season, you may ask them to take a picture or tag your restaurant in one of their social media posts to win another free drink, for example. The key is to use the free item to increase not only customer traffic but also to build relationships through interactions.
#2 Partner with a local event
A lot of businesses don’t realize that the local community is part of their day-to-day activities, and as a consequence, they end up missing tons of opportunities. From customers to suppliers to brand ambassadors, your restaurant may be a few steps closer to becoming the next trendy place to dine in. Take large corporations for example. No matter what event you attend, local or global, there’s always a stand from a big player there. And, as you have seen, there’s always a line.
If you don’t want to start dumping large dollar amounts in complicated and expensive sponsorships, you can use your budget to target smaller, local events. Easier to manage, they can provide better results.You won’t have the same exposure as a larger venue, but you will be able to entice a selective audience, as local events tend to attract people from the same area of interest.
Ok, that looks promising. But what if I don’t have the resources available to sponsor even the smallest event? Well, you can offer to host them. There is a multitude of university clubs, fantasy leagues or reunions happening every week. And with summer almost here you can even revamp your patio and host some outdoor events.
#3 Improve your online listings
If you don’t have a dedicated team to spend weeks searching for every mention of your business on the Internet, chances are you’ve missed valuable listings opportunities. Even if you never created an account, your company may already have a profile in many of the sites specialized in restaurants reviews. And any positive or negative reviews are already out there for customers to see.
Out of the 85% of people searching for restaurants online, 50% of them perform local searches on listings and apps, so you must control everything that’s related to your restaurant. Listings are great because they group all necessary information from your establishment and display them at the time a customer is searching for options. Let’s say a customer wants to find an Italian restaurant close by and she thinks Yelp! is a reliable source of reviews and suggestions. If you’ve done your homework and kept that channel up to date, with menu, specials, and latest images, you could be her first choice and receive a reservation request in no time.
#4 Social media all the time
37% of users use social media to research products and services. And that’s why you should invest a considerable portion of your resources to increase engagement on your different social media channels. As discussed in a previous blog post (http://blog.givex.com/blog/3-surefire-ways-to-attract-millennial-diners), the majority of millennials cannot put their phones down and are always checking to see what’s going on in their Instagram. Surprisingly, baby boomers have also increased the time they spend on social media. So, if the two largest consumer groups are online, interacting with their social groups, you got to be there too!
Some industry experts claim that Instagram was tailor made for restaurants. There’s even the “instagramable picture” term to describe the amazing photos taken of delicious food. And the best part of Instagram is that you can create your account with no added cost and start posting right away. Its engagement rate is five times higher than Facebook, and you have the option to sponsor your content. If you lack digital presence, Instagram is the place to start.
So, act fast. The sun will only shine for those ready to make their business sparkle.