Every restaurant owner wants to fill their restaurant with customers. That is a given. However, attracting customers to your restaurant can be a challenge. With fierce competition in the industry, even good food and reasonable prices do not necessarily mean good business.
In this article, we take a look at how you can attract more customers to your restaurant using sustainable and relevant methods. When choosing a strategy, it is always important to keep in mind your brand positioning and available resources, before making a decision.
Identify Who Your Customers Are
Well, this may be a little rudimentary, but we cannot stress how important it is to conduct market research and identify exactly who your customers are. Ideally, this should have been done before you started your business to know who your target customers are.
Once you have been in operation for a significant period of time, you can start identifying the demographics of your customers by observing who your regular customers are. Are your regular customers part of your initial target customers? If your answer is yes, then that’s great. However, if the answer is no, then figure out why this is the case. Perhaps your marketing was not properly tuned to your intended audience. Or perhaps your products/services are just more suited for a different demographic.
Based on this, you can choose to alter your intended target market or reposition your brand to see if you can achieve the intended results. If your target audience was students, perhaps lowering your prices slightly to entice them, or even repositioning your brand to attract more customers who are not students.
Some of the questions you can ask yourself are:
Who is my target audience?
How much is each customer spending?
What is the most popular dish?
Why do customers like my establishment?
When is the best time to release my promotions and advertisements?
Only when you have understood your customer will you be able to market to them more effectively and attract them into your restaurant.
Getting Media Coverage
Getting media coverage for your restaurant is a great way to build up brand awareness and hype. Positive media coverage is a powerful marketing tool. People who see your restaurant on their favourite newspapers are more likely to try your food, and it helps increase your brand visibility to attract new customers. It is important to note that different people consume information and media differently. An older customer may prefer getting their information from the newspaper, whereas a younger audience may rather use social media as their main medium. It is important to know who your target demographic is and tailor your marketing campaign to suit them.
Although businesses usually hope to garner as much media coverage as possible during the grand opening, it is also important to consider having sustained media coverage over a period of time. This would ensure a steady stream of new customers coming into your restaurant. Using radio channels, television commercials and sponsorships of community events are a few very common ways to raise brand awareness. Besides the traditional mainstream newspapers like The Straits Times, popular online news outlets such as Mothership have a good rate of viewership too. This brings us to our next point about using social media. But, remember, whatever you may decide on, it boils down to your target demographic.
Use Social Media
Source: Reuters Institute Digital News Report
According to Reuters Institute Digital News Report, online usage including social media is on a steady rise over the past few years in Singapore. Singapore has a 5.9 million population, with a whooping 88% of internet penetration. If you’re not yet on social media, it is best to make it one of the top priorities on your to-do list! So, now the question is not whether you’re on social media, but really how well are you leveraging on social media to market your restaurant?
Some of the benefits you can enjoy from having a social media account would be improved brand awareness. Through proper digital marketing, your social media profiles will help increase your business visibility as you can potentially reach out to the over one billion user bases that Instagram and Facebook currently have.
Furthermore, social media advertisements are a relatively cost-effective way to reach out to potential new customers. The creation of a social media account is completely free for anyone and the small amount of money used to advertisements generally leads to high conversion rates as well as returns. This can be much more effective as compared to the creation of commercials, newspaper advertisements and even radio shout outs as the results are longer lasting and more sustainable.
Check out this website for a long list of digital media companies! https://www.stateofdigitalpublishing.com/digtial-media-publishing-companies/singapore/
However, creating a social media account and posting a picture or two is not enough. Are you posting content regularly and is the content engaging your targeted audience? A great visual along with catchy copywriting goes a long way in capturing your customer’s attention and making them want to learn more about your brand and its offerings. We also recommend the purchase of advertisements to reach more people from time to time. These advertisements can be fine-tuned towards specific target demographics to help you boost your outreach for potential customers even further! Here are some links to check out how social media ads can help you.
By optimizing and regularly updating your social media marketing strategy, it also helps to build increased traffic, better SEO, improve brand loyalty and increase the social proof for your restaurant. This is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to bring in new customers. The earlier you start, the faster you will see the results.
Improve on Your Overall Service Standards
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
In order to build a sustainable restaurant business, it is key that you always look to improve on your overall service standards. There are many ways to do this, all of which involves knowing your customer’s consumer journey; from their first interaction with your brand, all the way to when they make their payment. Only through a complete understanding of your consumer journey would you then be able to improve your overall service standards; such as optimizing your payment transactions through e-payments or decreasing the wait time for meals. It is always important to ensure that you provide excellent service to your existing customers whether in terms of the quality of your food, your menu, your customer service, or the ambience of your restaurant, amongst other factors.
An example of a customer service improvement one could make would be to improve customer interactions. It is important to educate and hire staff with the necessary skills and attitude to interact with customers. By ensuring that your servers have good communication skills, your customers are more likely to feel comfortable and at ease communicating their food choice and preferences, and thus have a more pleasant dining experience.
So how does this help in attracting new customers? Through referrals and social proof. By providing customers with a fantastic experience, they will be eager to share their experience with others whether through word of mouth or a positive review on your social media platforms. Needless to say, your satisfied customers are likely to turn into loyal and regular customers at your restaurant. This is essential to running a successful restaurant business.
All these may seem very daunting and confusing as these aspects of your business can be challenging. Thus, it may be necessary to hire a professional marketer to handle your market research, social media accounts and public relations. Here at Protegie, we believe that marketing is a key component to any sustainable F&B business. Through our tried and proven marketing strategies and frameworks, we believe that we can help you bring your business to the next level.