Promotions are no small part of the restaurant game. While everyone would love for their businesses to get by on word-of-mouth alone, that’s an extremely rare situation for a restaurant to be in. In reality, it takes time, patience, and concerted effort to properly promote your restaurant or bar. Luckily, today it seems there are more ways to do just that than ever before. Between social media and the ever-increasing focus on shopping locally, getting the word out has genuinely never been easier. Today, we’re bringing you five great promotional ideas that are sure to produce results into 2020 (and most likely, beyond!).
As you probably know, owning a restaurant is anything but a one-way street. So when we say ‘engage’, we mean the idea of establishing a long-term relationship between restaurant and customer. This will help create repeat business (aka the best kind of business) for your establishment. In fact, a recent study has shown that engaged customers are 56% more likely to visit their favorite restaurants every month. Aside from spending more per visit, repeat customers are more likely to spread the word about their favorite restaurant. People have a tendency to go back to restaurants that have captured their hearts or minds. So, the next and most obvious question -- how?
Social media is the easiest and best way to engage with your customers in real-time. Be sure to keep people updated on the goings-on via Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Invest in solid social media strategy, and regularly post high-quality videos and pictures on your accounts. If people reach out via Instagram or other social media channels, be sure to respond quickly and promptly. For bonus points, even consider a digital, e-mail based newsletter for your restaurant.
From farmers’ markets to food festivals, there’s no shortage of sponsor-friendly events around the country. Getting involved in one of these events is a fantastic way to spread the good word about your bar or restaurant. When you work alongside other successful brands, your own brand reputation goes through the roof. Event sponsorship is a great way to make this happen, and is an increasingly popular strategy for restaurants and bars looking to grow quickly.
When sponsoring a local event, the more that you can get involved, the better. While simply donating money is one way to sponsor an event, having a physical presence is going to provide you with a fantastic promotional opportunity. Having a stand or booth gives you the chance to physically put your product in the hands of the consumer. If you can put your best foot (or drink) forward, this is going to greatly increase the chances that attendees will consider your restaurant or bar for their next night out.
Loyalty programs are an increasingly popular method being used by restaurants and bars. They offer a variety of benefits when implemented well, from promotion to customer retention, and a whole lot more. Gone are the days of punch cards and stamp cards, though. Mobile, online, and interactive loyalty programs are the name of the game now. Aside from being convenient and easy to implement, mobile loyalty programs have the ability to send out updates, alerts, and reminders. This gives the restaurants another great way to be engaged with their customers - which in itself, is another great way to promote your establishment.
Loyalty programs are a great way to create a personal connection with the customer by providing useful, actionable information about promotions. They create repeat customers through this connection, and as we’ve spoken about before, repeat customers are the very best kinds of customers. On top of all of this, mobile options are making loyalty programs cheaper and easier than ever to implement. What’s not to love?
If you’re not serving brunch at least one day a week, you’re leaving money on the table. Just look at the numbers: The NPD Group, a food and consulting research firm, recently found that out of the three meal times, only breakfast has seen a total growth in restaurant traffic. Restaurants all across the nation are getting in on the never-ending brunch craze, and you should be too! In addition to being willing to spend generously on the weekends and for special occasions, patrons generally take a ‘the more the merrier’ approach to brunch. It’s a big day for larger parties, which means more exposure for your restaurant or bar.
On top of this, brunch is a pretty straightforward thing to start doing. The food is simple, and it’s very likely that you already have most of the ingredients in-house or on your order list. As for the beverages, bottomless Mimosas and Bellinis are a great way to use all of that leftover champagne from New Year’s. But, if you’re going to get into the brunch game… let the world know! Don’t be afraid to plug your brunch service heavily across all social media channels.
Bundling menu options is a great way to encourage new diners to try your restaurant or bar. As well, many restaurants POS systems offer insights into which menu items do well, often by tying in closely with inventory reporting. Many restaurants incorporate this strategy by participating in local ‘restaurant weeks’, wherein businesses are encouraged to court new diners by offering limited menu options at a 10-20% discount. This, of course, ties in well with our previous tip about getting involved and sponsoring events -- two birds with one stone, anybody?
Happy hours and slower nights of the week are great times to put this type of plan into action. Consider an alternative, fixed-price menu that features particularly high-profit items like cocktails or sparkling wine. In addition to bumping up your overall volume, many diners will likely consider purchasing upsells or off-menu items that can push up their total check.
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