In the very crowded industry like the restaurant business, it may be very hard to standout. Beside having the best food, you still need to be discovered and to be known. That is where branding comes in- how do you wanna be known, what is the meaning of your name to your customers , and how are you going to attract new customers and transform them into lifetime customers. Before you do anything here is snapshots of the restaurant business. Restaurant industry depends heavily on referral, word of mouth, social proof (people you are attracting), best products, great customer service, coupons & discounts, and your online presence. I am going to give three offers you can use to attract and keep customers and also standout from the competition.
11 % of USA citizen they will visit a restaurant for the first time because of coupon versus 31% will visit because their food is free. We are not saying that you should give out your food for free or sell it on half price because that only can damage your reputation, also people may think you are desperate, and worse you can attract the wrong people. Here is the real life example, in January we partner with local business in Syracuse , they were looking to increase college student customers, so we designed the strategy to attract the student to come to the store, since we know well that most students will be more likely to come if we provide some type of free offer. We created flyers and distributed them in the Syracuse University, LeMoyne college, and Onondaga community college. Our offer was free meal if is your first visit on Tuesday. That day the restaurant was full not only that we are going to earn new customers also we are going to earn free advertisement. After that day we handed out a 50% coupon for each student for your next visit which only last for one week. The purpose of the coupon is to follow up with them because our goal is not only to have them in store but turn them into a lifelong customers. From that day the restaurant was known as place where students eat and hangout. The purpose of this kind of offer is to gain new customers in the longterm. But this strategy will not work if you don't combine with other strategies that I am going to show you below.
#2. Referral discount
You have attracted your new customers through free promotion we discussed above so what's next? Since you have invested a lot of money getting the first people to come visit your restaurant, now you want them to go out there and bring more people for you. There is two different types of referral, we have digital referrals and also we have offline referrals. Depending on your target audience, you can use whichever one is good for you and your business. Here is an example: because the business we were working with targeted the college kids, we know that they are more likely to use social media, and also discover new things on internet. Then, we introduced referral discount which is 20% off for your next order, here is how it works.
While students are making their order we will ask them if they can take picture of themself/product at our restaurant, share it on their social media, and tag us to get 20% off on their next offer. Everybody likes discount mostly students because they don't have a lot of money and most of them are not working. This strategy pulled a lot of students to our store and also sending the message about our business as a place for student to eat and hangout. If your target audience is middle age people or family you may consider family discount where you offer a discount for a family having dinner or lunch at your restaurant which can boost your customers and also spread word in the local family. The next tip can help you maintain a longterm relationship with your customers.
#3. # Visit get food or drink for free.
You want customers to keep coming back then you will have to give them a reason to do so. This strategy was mastered by Midas Auto, here is a snapshot of how they do it. Midas offers free oil change to there customers after 5 consecutive oil changes, this simple trick will make your first customer keep coming back because human respond fast on the reward. They won't risk going to any other place because they don't want to mess up their upcoming free oil change, which takes back to our first tip- human beings naturally respond faster when they hear the word free. If you implement these strategies in your business you will start see the results in about 1 to 2 months. Also if you are looking for a local digital marketing company to help you out please don't hesitate to contact us.
Author: Yves Bagaza