Business is down. You don’t see people coming through your door the way they used to. Every restaurant hits this phase at some point in time. But remember, this is just a phase, and it will pass. It is important not to let these hard times beat you.
If quality services and delicious dishes don’t bring you business, there is nothing to worry about. Thankfully there are many creative ways to bring in those customers, despite the hard times. Here is what you can do:
1. Offer Cooking Classes
Build a community by conducting cooking classes under your restaurant’s brand. This is a great way to connect with people, get them interested in your cuisine, and encourage them to eat at your restaurant.
You can conduct lecture-style classes offering a glass of wine to each of the attendees. Or you can also encourage them to make various dishes under your guidance.
- Find out how many students you want to take.
- Determine the price that you want to charge per cooking class.
- Stock up on your supplies.
- Make sure everyone strictly follows the guidelines for safety and hygiene.
2. Collaborate with Your Peers
As a restaurant owner, you may have made a lot of friends in the dining industry. Collaborate with them for discounts, special offers, and promotions. You can also partner with theaters and other entertainment venues to gain more customers.
- Look for reputed businesses that are trust-worthy.
- Explore options that can get you a lot of loyal customers.
- Strike up deals that can be mutually beneficial.
3. Loyalty Programs
Every restaurant’s success depends on how well you can retain your customers. Loyalty programs could be the best way to encourage repeat visits.
Make sure the loyalty program you offer is easy to implement and use. If you don’t want to use a card that will take up your guests’ wallet space, you can go for a digital loyalty program that is easy and convenient.
- Track each customer’s usage with your restaurant’s point of sale software.
- Educate your staff about the benefits of the loyalty program.
- Come up with a sign-up incentive for members that will give them a discount on their bill.
- Make sure the members understand how to redeem rewards.
- Show your customers what they are missing by not signing up for your loyalty program.
- Promote your loyalty program’s rewards on your website, social media accounts, and email list.
- Introduce a referral reward for members who bring in people for a loyalty program.
- Collaborate with local businesses as well as influencers to cross-promote your program.
4. Throw Special Events
Add a little excitement to your restaurant by organizing a few events that can drive people to your doors. Well-planned, these events can complement your brand and get you a lot of loyal customers. Be sure to follow your state’s social distancing guidelines for events. A few such activities include:
- Decade Nights: Choose a decade as a theme and ask your guests to dress accordingly. You can create the right ambiance and come up with unique dishes to celebrate the decade.
- Charity Events: Decide on a good cause to support and come up with the perfect theme for dinner and drinks. For instance, if you want to donate the proceeds of the evening to breast cancer awareness, you may wish to serve pink daiquiris at discounted prices.
- Celebrity Encounters: You can draw a lot of crowds if you can get a local celebrity to tend your bar for the evening. In turn, you can promote their latest album or movie by planning the appropriate theme.
- Deal of the Day: Come up with a special dish for the day to keep your menu exciting. Use fresh seasonal ingredients to create interest.
- Wine Tastings: Have your customers sample multiple bottles of wines at discounted rates on a specific night. That can be a great opportunity for advertising deals on wines.
- Live Music: Get a live band to play music or organize a Karaoke night at your restaurant. You can club it up with buy-one-get-one offers of desserts or appetizers.
- Entertainment: You can host a local comedian to do stand-up or have an open mic night if you don’t want professionals running the show. This is an excellent way to make people stay longer and increase orders.
Don’t Forget to Ask for Feedback
Each time you try a new idea to bring in the customers, make sure you get their feedback. This will help you understand the kind of response you get for the idea and discover ways to make it better. Keep introducing newer things to keep your customers coming back for more.