Want to attract restaurant guests to your venue (and have them come back to your venue as return customers?).
In this post we share 10 easy ways to attract restaurant guests (who become return customers and tell their friends).
Let’s jump into the tips, so you can start getting “butts on seats” at your restaurant or venue.
Attract More Restaurant Guests with these 10 Tips:
1. Leverage user generated content
User Generated Content (UGC) is just as it sounds like – it’s content generated by users or restaurant guests about your brand, venue or restaurant. If a customer posts an image on Facebook or Instagram, you can ask them for permission to repost it on your own channels (verbally or preferably in writing).
Here’s an example from Betty’s Burgers, a popular burger and “concrete” (frozen custard dessert) restaurant in Noosa. They often share images posted by their customers (with permission):
Sure, Betty’s Burgers can (and do) take their own awesome shots of their food and delicious “concretes” but it packs a bigger punch when it’s content created by one of their restaurant guests:
Content created about your restaurant or venue by guests or customers is the most authentic content you can share. It resonates with people and when friends see content from friends, they trust it.
A great tool for collecting permissions for your User Generated Content is “Tack”. It’s a great tool for managing your rights permissions. You can find out more about it here.
2. Don’t Just Post about Your Venue
This might seem counter-intuitive but it’s true – particularly for blog posts. Post less about your venue and more about the things that your ideal restaurant guests or customers are likely searching for online. Post about things that will interest them, help them and entertain them, especially on Facebook.
This also extends to your website or blog:
- Don’t just post about your upcoming event. Post about events in your district.
- Post about the best coffee shops.
- Post about the best tours to take.
- Write a Top 10 List of Must-see activities in your local area!
- there are endless options for content if you think outside of your venue!
HOT TIP: One way to add shareable images is to include an infographic summarising your blog tips. You can use one of Easil’s Extra Tall Pinterest Images here. Here’s an example of just one template you could easily switch up (changing the images, text and colors) to showcase your local area, not just your venue:
By helping your potential customers or restaurant guests, you are becoming a great resource for them – about not only your venue but the entire region. When they trust you for that sort of information, where are they going to come for dinner or a drink?
They’re going to come to you!
3. Learn to Love Check-ins
This is one of the best free marketing opportunities you have, so leverage it! Encourage your venue or restaurant guests to “check in” on Facebook and Instagram. They add their location to the app, and voila… their friends are likely to be shown the check-in on social media.
Running a check-in offer can be as simple as offering an upgrade, drink or item in return for the customer showing their check-in to your bar staff:
This also works for Instagram and particularly on Instagram Stories where Instagram will share a compilation of “story” posts around a particular location. If that location is yours or nearby to your venue, their friends and followers will likely see it at the top of their newsfeed. And of course this works exceptionally well for marketing events at your venue.
By adding their location (or using Instagram Instagram Location Stickers if they post to Instagram Stories), their friends, customers and business colleagues will see that they are at your venue. It’s the modern version of word of mouth! Find out more about Facebook Check-ins here and Instagram location stickers here.
4. Encourage Online Reviews
Online reviews can be very powerful. The key is making sure you are asking for reviews in the right way, after positive experiences.
This is a great post about how to ask for more reviews at your hotel or restaurant from the guys at ReviewPro (they know their stuff when it comes to Reviews and have one of the best review management tools around).
Even a negative review can be a blessing if you look at it in the right way. Negative reviews help you to (for the most part) find gaps in your service, problems with your venue … and improve them.
A negative review also gives you an opportunity to engage with a guest and turn it around – to see how you can make it better (of course we get that there are some guests that will never be happy but for the most part it is possible to turn a bad review into a positive in some way).
5. Use Offers that Add Value (instead of Discounting)
The last thing you want to be is the restaurant or venue that always has to discount to get people in the door. Instead, think about how you can add value to what people would already come in for. Then, they have even more incentive to book a seat with you .. and bring their friends.
Could it be a free drink, an extra course or part of the meal complimentary, a return voucher or perhaps something that you can give on the spur of the moment to the customers you know are loyal. Think differently and you’ll come up with something great!
6. Get Ranked Locally on Google
Google is Google. You should always be thinking about how to rank on Google. Google Local is a great way to boost your rankings on Google in general and to get found (which is the whole point, really!).
As Google says:
Local results appear for people who search for businesses and places near their location. They’re shown in a number of places across Maps and Search. For example, you’ll probably see local results if you search for “Italian restaurant” from your mobile device. Google will try to show you the kind of nearby restaurant that you’d like to visit.
As you can see, Local Search on Google is powerful. Some things you can do to ensure that you get ranked in Local Search is to
- Read up on Google’s advice.
- Get all your details entered up to date in Google My Business. This includes entering all of your business information so customers know what you do, where you are and where they can visit you (including physical address, phone number and category).
- Verify your business location to give your business the best opportunity to appear for users across Google products (ie Maps and Search).
- Keep your operating hours accurate.
- Manage and respond to reviews. Google recommends that you interact with customers by responding to any reviews they leave about your business. This lets them know you value their feedback. Google also states:
High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location. Encourage customers to leave feedback by creating a link they can click to write reviews
7. Zig when Others Zag (Do Things Differently)
Look at what those around you are doing, then step back, get creative and do things differently!
Having a slow night on a Tuesday? Start a $2 Taco Tuesday to get more restaurant guests in the door at dinner time. Or $1 Oysters for the win!
Maybe do a wine tasting (or even better, a craft beer tasting). Think about what is popular outside of your venue right now and bring it in, making it affordable and fun.
If it goes well, consider making it a weekly or monthly event. Boom – you just ensured return guests the next time you run it!
8. Promote as they Walk out the Door a Happy Customer
The best time to get a subconscious (or conscious) commitment to a return visit is when they are at the end of a positive experience in your venue.
Give guests an offer to come back with the check like this simple voucher below:
A “return offer” like this can be presented with the bill or check, so that your guests see it as they are finishing up their meal. If they have had a great experience (and we hope they have) then it’s the best time to invite them back.
9. Surprise and Delight
What can you do that is completely out of the box? Could it be that the chef comes out to chat with the guests. Perhaps he or she shares something with them! Wouldn’t a completely unexpected appetizer or fun mini-dessert set tongues wagging at the table as well as with their friends when they go home?
Think about what you can do that is fun, not expected and different to anything your competitors are doing. Add value wherever you can.
10. Do a Brand Refresh
When was the last time you looked at your branding collateral? A brand refresh of your in-venue posters, flyers, menus (oh, how we love creating menu templates at Easil!) and table flyers can make a huge difference. You should also extend this to your social media images. The good news is that you can do this via your designer or you can use your current brand assets and Easil’s templates (or our Design Assist feature) to up-level your branding in no time at all.
A brand refresh helps your audience to recognise you and keeps you top of mind when they are thinking of heading out next weekend:
Combined with all of the above tips, you now have plenty of ways to attract more restaurant guests (and return guests) to your venue in 2018 and beyond.
Are you excited about trying new ways to attract more restaurant guests?
These ideas and tips are just a drop in the ocean – there are many different ways to attract more restaurant and venue guests.
Get started with just trying one or two of these ideas… what will you try first?