Some people consider going to a restaurant their favorite activity each day. It’s that special moment when they relax, enjoy a great meal and socialize with loved ones in a cozy atmosphere. But what can you do if you see a change in your customers: they only want to order online.
Don’t panic, half of the population is ordering in because of the new technology. We know that as a restaurant owner you opened you business because you love people, food and face-to-face communication, but you have to try to get to know your customer – everything is changing because of the digital era – and then learn how to be persuasive.
Having a great online marketing campaign which involves a user friendly webpage or a multi-brand platform like Munch Ado, a mobile application for young and savvy users and being active on social media platforms can make your clients trust you, but it might make them stop coming to your restaurant and order home or at work instead.
Convince Customers to Visit
If this is the case, you should take advantage of your online marketing campaign to convince customers to visit. Consistency and predictability are two of the most important things for a restaurant owner, as well as for a customer. Therefore, marketing should be like a generous host.
Your revenues are coming in, but your customers are only ordering in and you need a place that is at all times “booked” to maintain your brand’s successful reputation. The main key to success is to attract customers with special events at your restaurant.
Before planning your goal, think of why customers are ordering in, besides the fact that they love your food and service:
- it is comfortable,
- it’s faster – you don’t have to get there, or drive, so you can drink
- they have forgotten to make a reservation,
- they can have a party,
- listen to their favorite music,
- watch a movie, a TV show or a sport show.
People are ordering in because they want to feel “at home” or because they want to continue working. So start giving them what they want.
Promotion ideas to bring people IN
Depending on your profile, take advantage of promotions – like “happy hour” or “salad day”, “bring two friends and you get a special meal”, “girl’s night” or “sports night” and so on – and advertise them on your Munch Ado page and social media accounts. Special offers shouldn’t be a secret and anything that doesn’t work should disappear.
At first you have to test as many promotions as possible, to see what works. But make this a regular thing, each day of the week you promote something. Besides this, make Fridays and Saturdays special nights with guests, maybe a live band.
If you can, try to make your restaurant work-friendly (wireless internet, plugs for laptop’s chargers, quiet environment), a place where they can continue what they are doing and still enjoy a meal. If you start advertising all these tricks with the idea: if you come to our restaurant you have something to gain, then you are already half way there.
One other important thing, give something free each time if you want to transform a new client into a regular one. Sometimes, bread and butter isn’t enough, try to give a special appetizer: a fruit or a cupcake.
Make your restaurant stand out
In time, creating special events will become a routine. Some other ideas might include making your place unique. How can you do that? By creating one new meal that will only be served that day and only at the restaurant, plus the first 10 people who come in can eat it for free, because you are testing its success.
Take advantage of everything that you have: special menu’s for vegetarians, family nights with activities for kids – if these are the clients you want to attract -, romantic couple’s night/lunch/brunch and don’t forget to invite the press to spread your story. If you want to take it one step further promote your team, especially your chef, and maybe once a month create an event where people can come and learn how to cook their special meal.
In conclusion: you have to be special. Try not only to sell, but to be interesting and unique, even if your competitors are pretty much doing the same thing. Moreover, try to make your restaurant the “IT” place to be, somewhere where it is important to be seen.
Encourage people to check-in on Facebook or, better yet, on Foursquare when they come to your place and, in return, this little fact will make your restaurant visible online. Online visibility is very important because potential customers will ask “why is everybody going there?” and in the end, they will want to see for themselves.