The continuous mission for every restaurant owner, even successful ones, is to increase restaurant sales. With so many dining establishments vying for a customers business, effective marketing measures are key ingredients for attracting customer attention, establishing your restaurants identity and enhancing customer loyalty.
Word of mouth is the most cost efficient way to increase restaurant sales. If you present a wonderful dining experience, patrons will naturally refer your restaurant to others. But word of mouth works both ways. Bad reviews often travel faster than positive ones. Thats why its essential to be consistent in providing excellent customer service, quality food and an inviting atmosphere.
While chain restaurants rely on a corporate formula to increase restaurant sales, independent restaurateurs can be more flexible, giving them a greater advantage. One important strategy is getting to know your customers. Theres a reason why clubs, theater groups, business people, or friends who get together weekly only dine at one particular restaurant. Its because the owner greeets them by name, knows their dining preferences and is aware of things going on in their lives. These restaurants have created a trusting, family environment that builds customer retention.
Without a doubt, rewarding repeat customers can lead to increased profits. If you know a customer has referred others to your restaurant or consistently brings in a group of business associates, consider giving a gift certificate for a complimentary dinner or providing a free appetizer or bottle of wine for the table. This is a great sales tactic to motivate your good customers to bring in business to your restaurant.
Your staff is an integral part of building sales. Beside providing impossible customer service, your staff can increase restaurant sales by up-selling to increase the table check. Rather than ask if anyone would like a drink, appetizer or dessert, they should note which ones are house specialties or offer their personal recommendations. They should also promote higher priced dishes with reasons showcasing their value.
A comprehensive advertising and marketing plan is essential in growing and maintaining a profitable restaurant business. Your advertising needs to set your restaurant apart from others and pique a persons interest to try it. Your marketing efforts should be both in-house with promotions and in the community. Have a presence at community events within your service area, network with business and trade groups, or get involved with a charity that is of interest to you. The more visibility you can give your restaurant, the greater your market reach.
Using the Internet to increase profitability is a must. Your restaurants website should be as interactive as possible, allowing people to make reservations, see current specials and easily get directions. Have a presence on social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Incentives take on many forms, but all have shown to increase restaurant sales. Some examples of common incentives are discounts, coupons, punch cards, customer loyalty programs, business card drawings, promotions and special events. You may want to try a combination of incentives to enhance business.