Running a successful restaurant is an incredibly difficult undertaking.
You need to develop a unique and enticing concept, a delicious menu, hire the right chef, cooks, and wait staff. You need to work constantly to keep costs under control by meeting with your suppliers. You need to stay up-to-date on all of the latest trends in the industry. There’s just so much to juggle it can feel overwhelming at times. And even if you get all of that 100% right, your restaurant could still be struggling because people don’t know about how great you are yet.
An effective marketing strategy is just as important to a successful restaurant as any of the other things we mentioned above. A successful marketing campaign can take many different shapes, and it’s going to vary wildly depending on what kind of restaurant you run, but you’re still going to need to so some kind of marketing to get your business off the ground, or to take it to the next level.
As always, PJP is in the business of helping our customers grow, so we want to talk about a restaurant marketing strategy that is often overlooked, but is gaining a lot of popularity in recent years. And that’s offering “deals” or price reductions to your customers to entice them through the door. It may seem like a tacky advertising method for a restaurant trying to position itself a high end establishment, but it can be a very effective tool in nearly any setting.
How effective? According to Technomic, 37% of customers are search for deals at restaurants now more than they were just 2 years ago. After the recent economic downturn, we’re all dealing with a customer base that is more conservative about their spending. That doesn’t mean they have a reduced appetite for a good mean, though. It just means that they’re looking to take advantage of good offers that will allow them to save money so they can eat out more often. In fact, according to the same report, 48% of customers say they look for low-prices when considering where to eat, so that they can afford to eat out. If you’re not offering these deals, you might be missing out on some business.
We know what you’re thinking. “I would love to offer lower prices all the time, but I need to make sure I turn a profit!” Absolutely, but offering “deals” doesn’t always have to mean reducing the price of a meal to the point where you’re losing money on it. Offer a daily special on just one dish to draw people in, and there’s a good chance they might see something else on the menu that catches there eye and they won’t even take advantage of the deal, even if it’s what got them through the door in the first place.
You could also offer things like a free appetizer with a the qualifier that they have to also purchase two adult entrees. You’re giving them an inexpensive addition to the meal which adds very little to your cost, but to the customers they’re getting a lot more value for the meal, even if they’re not actually saving any money.
This strategy can be very effective with things like loyalty programs. 25% of customers say they participate in loyalty programs with restaurants. This can be a great marketing opportunity, because you can have the customer sign up and ask for their email address, then email them specials that will keep them coming back for more.
For a lot of businesses, this kind of marketing strategy might be something they never tried before, but it’s being implemented at many establishments to great effect. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to grow your business!