The restaurant industry is notorious for being competitive and fast-paced.
Restaurants striving to be the next big thing have to focus their efforts on growing their restaurants as much as possible if they hope to remain relevant to their customer base and continue attracting new customers.
Wondering how to keep your restaurant growing? Read on.
1. Keep Reinventing Your Marketing Strategies
Much like a restaurant menu, effective marketing strategies need to remain relevant in order for them to attract the right audience. This is why restaurants that are using the same marketing strategies that they have since initially opening need to rethink their promotional methods.
As successful marketing techniques are always changing, restaurant owners must dedicate time and resources to staying on top of the latest marketing trends.
The most important goal for any marketing strategy is to drive sales. One of the most essential tools for today’s restaurants is social media. If you’re not already taking advantage of sponsored posts on Instagram and Facebook, start doing so now.
With these promotional posts, restaurants are able to promote high-quality content to other social media users that are in the surrounding community in their target demographic.
2. Build Stronger Community Ties
Restaurants need to be plugged into their local communities as much as possible. The more a restaurant can build connections and partnerships with other businesses and customers in their cities, the more loyal a customer base they will have and the more their brand awareness will grow.
These strong relationships can be cultivated through partnering with other organizations and businesses with local events.
Whether restaurants set up a stand at a local community festival or they offer to caterer at a volunteer event, doing prominent events within the community will give restaurants the notoriety that they need to grow their brand.
During these events, restaurant staff members have the perfect opportunity to meet customers face-to-face, further strengthening these connections and establishing new relationships with potential customers.
3. Host More Events
In addition to participating in community events and taking an innovative approach to marketing, restaurants can continue to grow by hosting more events in their space. Restaurants can grow their brand by hosting community or charity events within the space.
Similarly, restaurants can also improve their sales by renting out their space for parties and similar private events.
Innovative restaurant owners may even want to consider creating their own events that bring locals to the restaurant. For example, restaurants can cash in on the “wine and paint” trend by hosting a night of painting in the restaurant. With the help of their social media campaigns, restaurants can reach out to a new demographic and promote these types of events. With more events, restaurants will boost their earnings and attract a new group of customers to the restaurant.
4. Upgrade Your Equipment
Restaurant owners know all too well how expensive restaurant equipment can be. This is why so many restaurant owners tend to hold onto their equipment to get the most use out of their machines.
However, making the upgrade to newer equipment can do wonders for your restaurant.
By making it a point to upgrade your restaurant supply, you’re ensuring that you’re able to keep up with the increased demand that will come from your efforts to grow your restaurant.
As older equipment is more likely to constantly need repairs, upgrading to the latest models will reduce the likelihood of your machines breaking down, increasing efficiency in and out of the kitchen.
With a more efficient workflow, restaurants will be better able to meet the needs of their customers, making it easier to keep scaling their business up.
5. Take Advantage of Apps
Apps are making waves in the restaurant industry. The rise in apps for ordering, pickup, and delivery are giving restaurant access to new streams of income.
Restaurants can generate additional sales and increase brand awareness by making profiles on popular apps like Fresh Direct, Whole Foods Online, or Fresh Direct.
Individuals that may otherwise have never heard of your restaurant may become lifelong customers after seeing your profile on any one of these many apps. To make the most of this outlet, be sure to constantly update your restaurant profile
As you make any changes to your contact information, hours, prices or menu, be sure that all information on the apps reflects these changes as well.
6. Reward Your Loyal Customers
Customer loyalty programs serve to motivate frequent customers to keep choosing your restaurant as their go-to place of choice. The best loyalty programs encourage your customers to come back either with promises of free food, discounts, or similar benefits.
The bottom line is that the more appetizing, these loyalty benefits are, the more inclined your customers will be returning.
These loyalty programs also make it easier for customers to refer your restaurant to friends, families, and strangers on the Internet.
With one loyal customer and a strong loyalty program, restaurants stand to benefit from each return trip as well as the countless friends of friends that take these referrals to heart.
7. Build the Best Team
As much as restaurants have to invest in effective marketing and proper restaurant equipment, they also need to spend time and money building the best team possible. When hiring employees for the restaurant, owners must remember that customer service is everything and that their team members are the face of their restaurant.
This is why it is essential for every restaurant to have competent, loyal, and passionate workers that are dedicated to growing the business.
When considering new employees, restaurant owners should search for individuals that truly believe in the mission of the restaurant. Team members that are committed to seeing the restaurant succeed will always go above and beyond in their jobs and as they serve customers.
This type of attitude will have a lasting effect on visitors to the restaurant, setting your restaurant apart as one that champions excellent customer service.
8. Ask Customers’ Opinions
Another way to grow a restaurant is to listen to customers’ opinions and make changes accordingly. Every restaurant owner hopes to be their customers’ favorite place to eat, but it’s equally as important to ask for constructive criticism.
In order for a restaurant to grow into the most successful version of itself, they need to listen to customers’ recommendations and update their business practices to give their clients the experience they ask for.
Restaurant owners should reach out to their customers with satisfaction surveys and emails, asking them for suggestions on any improvements they believe would make the restaurant better.
These suggestions can include everything from how to improve certain dishes, technical issues with the restaurant website, or any praise or suggestions regarding customer service. Restaurants that are truly committed to continue growing will take constructive criticism in stride and keep improving.
9. Maximize Your Big Orders
Restaurants tend to make a significant amount of their business from catering to large and small events. These catering gigs also are an effective way for restaurants to gain more notoriety and attract potential loyal customers.
Restaurant owners that are dedicated to growing their businesses should be sure to grow their sales by accepting and soliciting big orders and catered events.
Restaurants can take the initiative in this situation by promoting their prices for catered events and large orders online and in person.
When advertising these competitive prices for larger orders, restaurants will be able to tap into a new market and continue to expand their business efforts.
10. Improve Entertainment Options
While many restaurant owners want their food to be the main attraction, it’s important to consider other ways to get customers to come through the door. Restaurants can invest in exciting entertainment options to ensure their customers can enjoy their food with a bit of something extra.
Research the type of entertainment your niche audience will find appealing. While most restaurants hire local musicians to play during the evening, feel free to try new trends entertainment.
For example, many restaurant owners are taking advantage of the live painting trend and hiring artists as in-restaurant entertainment. Whatever style of entertainment you choose, remember the goal is to attract more customers and give them a meal to remember by creating a unique experience.
11. Offer Better Happy Hours
Happy hours will never go out of style. Restaurants that capitalize on these popular hours (typically anywhere between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.), can significantly improve their sales through discounted drinks and food.
With a simple and shortened menu for happy hour, restaurants will be able to bring in more customers during the hours that they may otherwise not see much business.
Most restaurants find offering smaller portions of their entrees at affordable prices to be the most effective during these happy hours. These dishes should be those that can be easily prepared and shared without cutlery.
As happy hour customers pour into the crowd the bars and tables, restaurant owners will be able to boost their sales and grow their customer base significantly.
Another way for restaurants to take advantage of happy hour promotions is to reach out to local businesses and offer to host a company happy hour. Many startups and small businesses host organized happy hours as ways to network outside of the office.
By offering to host these events, businesses will be able to better connect with local organizations and bring in new business as they do.
12. Offer Public WiFi
Free wifi is always an attractive offering for any business.
By offering free wifi, restaurants can capitalize on the rising trend of individuals looking to work remotely. These remote workers tend to frequent restaurants and eateries where they can easily work, eat, and use wifi.
Restaurants can grow their sales even more by continuing to cater to this freelancing demographic by adding easily accessible USB ports and outlets around the restaurant.
With easy access to wifi, outlets, and great deals on food, restaurants will find that they are a popular choice for more and more freelancers looking to work from their establishment.
13. Tighten Your Finances
As you continue to invest in your restaurant to promote growth, it is also important to tighten your finances. Regardless of how successful your restaurant’s sales are if you hope to continue growing as a restaurant, it’s important to tighten your budget. Review your expenses to determine where you can cut back and save.
By cutting back on expenses, you’ll be able to invest this money back into the restaurant to continue your efforts to scale up.
Whether you want to open another restaurant location, launch a new marketing campaign, or bring in new technology, finding a way to save more money is the first step to achieving these goals.
14. Consider Financial Support
As restaurant owners make it a point to tighten up their spending, they should also consider taking advantage of financial support. Most business owners aren’t strangers to loan applications as many take on loans to open their restaurants in the first place.
If money is holding you back from getting to the next step of owning your own business, taking on a loan may be the best way to do that.
For many restaurant owners, it takes money to make more money with their business. While accepting a loan is essentially agreeing to take on debt, if the debt is going towards improving sales, the debt is worth it. If it makes sense financially to take out a loan to grow your restaurant, do it.
With this money, you’ll be able to make improvements to your restaurant that will continue to attract more customers and boost your sales.
Make sure you work towards your big restaurant goals buy growing your business. While running a restaurant has its own share of challenges, staying committed to improving your business is the only way to make sure your company continues to expand.
Keep these suggestions in mind as you work to take your restaurant to a new level.