Whether you just opened a new restaurant or want to boost your existing business, you are always on the hunt for restaurant strategies to attract customers. However, many of the common ways people think of to grow their business are too involved or expensive to be practical.
Taking out an ad in the local paper, investing in a billboard or paying for a radio spot may seem great on the surface, but they are expensive, broad and nearly impossible to measure the ROI.
So what else can you do?
Well, we have put together a list of three low-cost, effective strategies any restaurant, big or small, can employ immediately.
#1. Join the local Chamber of Commerce and/or Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Don’t underestimate the potential benefits of joining your local Chamber of Commerce or BBB. These organizations are basically a network of businesses that work together to promote one another. Many times, each organization has a physical location or hosts regular networking meetings, as well as maintaining a mailing list and website.
Joining this kind of group can help you entice other business owners to visit, patronize, or work with your restaurant. More importantly, meetings often rotate between member locations. Every few months, you could have a special event where local business people come and spend money at your restaurant.
It can also help you get your name out there if people look at the local Chamber of Commerce or BBB website and see your business listed. In addition, this increases your online visibility and searchability in Google due to the increased number of links leading to your website.
#2. Start a review campaign.
Building a foundation of positive reviews online is a great way to draw new customers into your restaurant. This is especially true if you have had issues in the past with poor reviews. One five-star review raving about one of your dishes can do more for your company than paid advertising. People will look at that review as an outside and objective analysis of what your restaurant has to offer. The more reviews you have, the better your business looks.
Start a campaign that offers incentives to patrons that leave a positive review on sites like Yelp, Facebook, TripAdvisor and more. This strategy will help generate more organic online reviews and create positive buzz about your business. That can help your business show up higher in Google search rankings and entice more people to try your restaurant.
Offering an incentive also gives a reviewer a reason to come back and patronize your business again. After all, they will need to visit again to take advantage of the coupon! You will probably make more money than you give away on this kind of promotion.
#3. Reach out to local media outlets
Local food culture has never been as trendy as it is right now. People love to find out and know the hottest and hippest restaurants in their area. Regardless of what your niche is, there is something exciting about your business: how your business was founded, your passion for the industry, your work in the community or how your employees make a difference. We all have a story. Look internally and find yours. Identify that and then reach out to local news outlets. You could try the local television news, morning radio shows or ask their staff to come and review your restaurant; anything to get them in the door and your name out to the public.
We hope you have found these tips to be helpful. There are plenty more we will share over the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!