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14 Ideas to Attract Customers to a Restaurant

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Stagiaire en Marketing | Rédactrice et graphiste. La création, c'est ma passion !

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Attracting customers to restaurants can be a real challenge for restaurant owners. It is well known that catering is an extremely competitive field. To set yourself apart from other establishments, you need a memorable and exceptional experience, quick service, an original menu, and much more!  However, building a good reputation and branding can be a complex process, especially in such a competitive and diverse industry.

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What are customers looking for in a restaurant? And what are good ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? Discover the answer in our article!

Our tips for attracting customers to your restaurant

As a restaurateur, it is your responsibility to ensure the success of your establishment. To achieve this, you will need to not only ensure that your current clientele is satisfied, but also to implement new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant

How can you improve your restaurant while retaining your current clientele? Take advantage of our 14 ideas to attract customers to a restaurant!

1. Have a unique concept and select a strategic location 

In a field as competitive as catering, it is crucial to have ideas to attract customers to a restaurant through a strategic location. A location with no parking space will certainly not make your prospects want to come. Imagine: a street under construction, full of restaurants, could completely dissuade your potential customers from giving you a chance! 

In the same vein, you must also distinguish yourself from your competitors with a unique and original concept in the chosen sector. If five restaurants offering European food already exist in the targeted area, your future restaurant may have little success. When you want new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant, it is essential to offer a different concept in the neighborhood in which you want to live. 

 Ask yourself what customers are looking for in a restaurant: 

  • What is your target clientele? By profiling your target personas, you will be more likely to please them. 
  • Does your concept seem to correspond to the citizens of the neighborhood, and their lifestyle? 
  • Does your concept stand out from surrounding competitors?
  • Are your decorations original, and up to date?
  • Is your menu unique compared to that of the establishments in this neighborhood? 

Remember: market research is often necessary to better understand your customers’ needs, and to offer a unique service according to their expectations. Analyze the best possible location, then set up an original, and trendy customer experience to win the hearts of many prospects. Remember this valuable advice when you are searching for ideas to attract customers to a restaurant!

2. Optimize your local SEO

What are good ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? To get started, you need to put in place a great marketing strategy to attract the attention of potential customers to your institution. In terms of visibility, it is well known that online presence is now a must. 

To position yourself in the first results of search engines, you must optimize your local SEO. A restaurant with good SEO will appear more in the searches of your potential customers. This is an essential asset for any establishment that wants to stand out, especially in the restaurant industry!

What should you do when getting new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? To shed light on the subject, here are 12 tips to follow to optimize the SEO of your restaurant: 

  • Optimize the loading time of your website;
  • Make sure your website is easily accessible via mobile devices;
  • Position yourself on Google Maps to optimize your local SEO;
  • Be active on many online restaurant review platforms, such as Google My Business, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, and Yellowpages;
  • Collect many positive online reviews to position yourself as one of the best local restaurants;
  • Answer all your online reviews;
  • Regularly update your information on your website, review platforms, and social networks;
  • Standardize your menu information on online ordering sites;
  • Enhance your website, online review platforms, and social networks with high-quality images of your restaurant;
  • Highlight online ordering options such as “To Go” and “Home Delivery”;
  • Create a blog dedicated to the community of your restaurant;
  • Encourage other websites to refer you to their  community.

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3. Have a memorable photo setting

When thinking about ideas to attract customers to a restaurant, a memorable and up-to-date environment is one of the first things to discuss. Such decors must be imbued with the theme of your restaurant, show originality, while following the latest trends in the industry. This is an essential asset to attract new prospects to your institution!

With this in mind, what are good ideas to attract customers to a restaurant with an establishment decorated with taste, and with a good photographic setting? Here are several ideas for creating a memorable, and unique setting:

  • Choose rich, and warm materials: wood, granite, velvet, etc. This will give a special touch to your environment. 
  • Integrate unique elements on your walls so that people want to take a photo in front of you. Unique tapestry, bright neon lights, majestic canvases: several options exist to create a background to take the photo pose. 
  • Get comfortable chairs, and benches for the well-being of your guests; 
  • Select a color palette based on current trends; 
  • Work with an experienced designer to make the selection of ergonomic, and unique furniture. 
  • Embellish the corners of your restaurant with original decorations, coffee tables, bookcases, and extravagant lamps;
  • Enhance your establishment with beautiful natural light. On the other hand, if you are looking for a somber atmosphere, cover the windows and create an enveloping atmosphere with light effects;
  • If it suits your theme, garnish your restaurant with plants, and flowers to add a little life;
  • Position yourself as a state-of-the-art restaurant with menus accessible via a QR code or an interactive screen

Don’t forget that an establishment with a unique atmosphere and carefully selected decors will make new guests want to come and visit you. Keep in mind that a photo-friendly environment is also a great way to promote your ambassadors, beautify your website and optimize your online marketing. If you are wondering how to attract customers to a restaurant, this advice is definitely a must!

4. Renew your menu to adapt your restaurant to current trendy flavors

What are customers looking for in a restaurant? They are looking for an interesting menu that will stimulate their senses by filling their appetite. With that in mind, how can you attract customers to a restaurant with a diversified and original menu?

First, keep in mind that a menu is a work in progress. Most of the time, the menu of a restaurant when it opens is not the same as that found years later. Don’t hesitate to change your menu according to your customers’ feedback as well as the latest trends in catering. For example, following a restaurant satisfaction survey, why not adjust your proposals based on your clients’ comments? When making these changes, take the opportunity to add a few trendy meals that look good to your brand. This way, you will show your customers that their ideas are listened to and considered, in addition to adding a touch of novelty to your restaurant.

Looking for good ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? Add quality dishes and cocktails to your menu! To add a touch of variety, you could set up a daily menu, or even a cyclic menu.

Also, why not organize VIP tasting evenings? Thus, you could introduce your new dishes and cocktails to your most loyal customers. This way, you can easily identify the most popular drinks and meals before making them official on your menu. Keep this in mind when thinking about new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant!

5. Optimize your Google My Business profile 

When it comes to getting new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant, local referencing is a must. Indeed, a restaurant with good local SEO will appear in the first search engine results and will benefit from increased online visibility. What better way to achieve these results than to create and optimize a Google My Business profile? 

According to Toast’s study, 43% of Google searches are local. According to the same source, more than 50% of Google mobile searches are local, and approximately 40% of restaurant visitors come after a Google search via a mobile device. These statistics prove the importance of an optimized Google My Company profile to attract many customers to your establishment!

How can I attract customers to a restaurant with Google My Business? To get there, follow these nine best practices:

  • Include the address, opening hours, phone number, link to your website and a picture of your restaurant on your Google My Business page;
  • Embellish your profile with pictures of your servers, your ambassadors (with their approval) as well as specialties from your menu;
  • Describe in detail the culinary specialties as well as the general atmosphere of your restaurant;
  • Use Google My Business’ “Book” and “Order Online” features (note that these options are only available in certain countries);
  • Use Google My Business “Online Menu” feature to let your prospects know your different dishes;
  • At special events, unique discounts, or menu additions, write publications to inform your users;
  • Set up an FAQ section to answer your customers’ questions;
  • Optimize your content with a predetermined local keyword linked to your restaurant;
  • Complete your profile by highlighting the positive feedback from your satisfied customers.

6. Have a CRM for personalized mailings (H3) 

When it comes to customer relationships in restaurants, personalization is an important aspect to consider. According to Infosys, the personalization of the experience influences the decision of 86% of customers. In this context, what are good ideas to attract customers to a restaurant through a personalized experience?

Have a high-performance CRM to make completely personalized mailings to your customers. For example, with this database, you can have at your fingertips: 

  • A customer’s contact information: Name, email, address and phone number of a customer.
  • The customer’s interaction history with the restaurant: The customer’s order history, reservations, deliveries and promotions used.
  • Customer preferences: Vegetarian, vegan, allergies, the most ordered meals as well as a customer’s favorite tables.
  • Important dates related to the customer: The customer’s birthday as well as the birthday of their relatives to offer discounts on certain services.

By using a restaurant CRM, you can offer your customers a personalized service while adding a personal touch to your mailings. When an anniversary or special occasion approaches, give your most loyal customers exclusive promotions and discounts to show them how important they are to you. In the same vein, encourage your employees to learn about your customers’ preferences and important dates in order to offer them the best possible experience. 

Do you want to increase customer loyalty with a CRM? Why not set up a loyalty program tailored to the number of visits your customers make? With your restaurant customer management platform, you can set up a relevant rewards system while keeping an eye on the number of visits your customers make.

With a CRM, you will know all the habits, preferences, and important dates related to your customers. Such software will allow you to increase your sales, to determine the best sales points, while significantly increasing your customer loyalty. High-quality, personalized service is an excellent idea to attract customers to a restaurant!

7. Automate your Google reviews requests with InputKit

To attract customers to restaurants, you must first have an excellent online reputation. What better way to do this than to get many positive, detailed reviews from satisfied customers?

With InputKit’s Online Review Increase Solution, automate online review request. Our solution exclusively targets your promoters to capture a high volume of positive Google reviews. Thus, for each completed questionnaire, you can invite your satisfied customers to leave you a positive online review, an essential asset for an optimal reputation. This will not only improve your brand image, but also optimize your positioning in search engines. If you’re wondering about new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant, InputKit is definitely the solution for you!

8. Use local traditional marketing if it’s relevant to your restaurant 

In a field as competitive as catering, it is crucial to ensure the good visibility of your restaurant. In this regard, why not opt for more traditional and local marketing if it is relevant to your institution?

Study your target clientele with personas to create marketing campaigns for your restaurant and solidify your brand image. Then, set a catchphrase to attract customers to the restaurant and take a high-quality photo of your establishment. Finally, promote your messages, advertisements and promotional offers according to the medium of your choice. You can rely on radio ads, publications in your local newspapers, banners and billboards to build a local community around your restaurant. Remember this marketing strategy when considering ideas to attract customers to a restaurant.

9. Post frequently on your social networks

Want new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? Thanks to an excellent brand image on social networks! 

Of course, many prospects and culinary enthusiasts will visit websites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google My Business or TripAdvisor before deciding on the best restaurant to satisfy their taste of the moment. For this purpose, to increase your number of visits, you must regularly post on your social networks. 

Dining rooms furnished to the taste of the day, special promotions, upcoming events, mouth-watering pictures of your specialties, catchphrases to attract customers to the restaurant, professional and friendly team: there are many publication options available to you. Good branding, combined with a great reputation: those are great ideas to attract customers to a restaurant!

10. Send satisfaction surveys through InputKit

Customer management can be a long and complex task in the restaurant industry. Indeed, hearing from all your customers can be virtually impossible, especially if you have to use a manual mailing for each survey, or even worse: call each customer, one after the other!

With InputKit, take advantage of our many examples of satisfaction surveys for restaurants to find out your customers’ honest opinions of your establishment. Diversity of menu, quality of prepared meals, speed of service, professionalism of waiters, respect of food restrictions, the comfort of chairs, and more: evaluate what you want with our many survey templates!

Then schedule your surveys to be sent automatically at the optimal time using a restaurant QR code. Our average response rate of 45% by email and 57% by text message (SMS) guarantees you to hear from your customers, regardless of the platform of your choice. This will save you many hours of management time, allowing you to improve your experience based on feedback. If you are pondering new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant, our software will certainly help you!

11. Host memorable dining events

What are great ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? You could organize memorable events at your establishment!

Create a special event or evening that will attract customers and prospects to your restaurant. A memorable and one-of-a-kind event will retain your current clientele and will definitely make your new visitors want to come back!

For inspiration, here are some special event ideas for your restaurant:

  • A day dedicated to the chef’s specialties;
  • A day with a specific theme;
  • Organize an event with limited edition dishes and cocktails to celebrate a specific holiday (Christmas, Easter, St-Patrick, Valentine’s Day, etc.);
  • An evening hosted by a local celebrity;
  • Events of charity;
  • An evening of tastings;
  • A karaoke party;
  • An evening hosted by a local music group;
  • A “two meals for one” day;
  • Promotions with limited offer;
  • A day when a certain group of people is offered a discount (couples day, singles day, etc.);
  • A comedy evening;
  • VIP events, for your best ambassadors.

Remember: it’s crucial to keep your community informed of upcoming exclusive events. Create posts on your platforms and send a newsletter about your events to attract customers to restaurants. An unforgettable evening in the image of your establishment: these are great ideas to attract customers to a restaurant!

12. Use influence marketing

Want to get new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? If so, influential marketing can help!

This tactic involves working with influencers to promote your restaurant’s menu and services to potential customers. 

For example, why not invite an influencer to enjoy your chef’s specialties for free? During their visit, the influencer will take the opportunity to share your menu, decor and the theme of your restaurant with his community on social media. Making them repeat your catchphrase is one of many good ideas to attract customers to a restaurant. You could even invite him to a special event to give your prospects a glimpse of your unique evenings entirely dedicated to your customers. 

This taste of a high quality experience is excellent marketing for your restaurant. Remember this strategy when wondering about new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant!

13. Educate your staff on the importance of a good customer experience (H3) 

What are good ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? Engage motivated, high-performing talent and then educate them on the importance of a successful customer experience!

To achieve this, make sure your teams follow high quality standards. For example, make sure your servers are always attentive to your customers’ needs. During their training, encourage them to express themselves with courtesy and professionalism, especially during customer dissatisfaction. Emphasize the importance of timely and proactive service to better satisfy your customers. Why not drag some customizations for your most regular customers? Write down their name and favorite dish to show them that their loyalty does not go unnoticed. This is a good example to follow when considering new ideas to attract customers to a restaurant.

Secondly, always ensure that your cooks communicate properly. These employees must be efficient and quick at all times, in addition to being able to work under pressure. They must follow the sanitary instructions and validate the quality of the food before cooking delicious dishes for your customers. Fast and efficient service with a high-quality meal is how to attract customers to the restaurant. Your clients will certainly promote your merits to their loved ones to invite them for a next meal. This is a great way to acquire and retain new customers at your location!

14. Retain existing customers to generate positive word of mouth

Of course, no customer likes to be left alone in a restaurant. A customer without news about their order and ignored by the servers for several tens of minutes is likely never to return to your institution. In addition, an unhappy customer will not manage to publicly express their bad experience online. 

According to WoWapps, a single negative review will cost you at least thirty customers. According to the same source, a restaurant with three or more negative reviews will lose 59% of its prospects. That’s why it’s important to retain your existing customers to attract new customers in restaurants!

What are good ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? Ensure the complete satisfaction of your current clientele. Fill their glass regularly and take the time to ask them if everything is to their liking. Offer them to salt or pepper their dish according to their preference. Dare to take the initiative: offer a free coffee or the dish of the day to your regular customers to show them that you appreciate them!

After an experience, take the time to ask your clients about their appreciation of the service received. Was the temperature of the dishes adequate? Was the table clean? Was the waiter acting in a considered and appropriate manner? Note the feedback from your customers, then continuously improve your experience based on feedback received. Satisfy your current clientele and take their proposals into account : these are great ideas to attract customers to a restaurant!

Plan my free demo at InputKit to optimize my restaurant customers’ loyalty

What are excellent ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? To start, study your competitors to establish a unique concept, then position yourself in a strategic location. Create a diverse menu based on the latest trends as well as memorable and up-to-date decors, then build a community of restaurant enthusiasts through special events

To meet the needs of your customers, make your talents aware of the importance of excellent customer service. Get a high-performance CRM and customer experience software like InputKit to automate the sending of personalized satisfaction surveys. In the same vein, automate your online review requests with your ambassadors to benefit from better local referencing. Clearly, such a follow-up of customer satisfaction will be beneficial for your customer loyalty!

Wondering about good ideas to attract customers to a restaurant? Optimize your local SEO as well as your Google My Business profile to get better online visibility. If necessary, use traditional marketing, such as billboards, newspaper ads and radio messages. Online, encourage influencers to promote your restaurant and brand yourself on social media. With these great marketing strategies, you’ll get a positive word-of-mouth that will soon attract new prospects to your institution.

Now, do you need any special help to improve the restaurant customer experience? If so, feel free to schedule a free, customized InputKit demo at your convenience. We look forward to contributing to the success of your restaurant!

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