It’s no secret that you’re in the restaurant business for more than the love of food. You also do it to make money. That means you have to find ways to get new customers through the door. There’s not a magic potion, but there are some things that will work better than others to increase restaurant sales.
Traditional advertising tends to have a broad reach. While this can include people who are close to you, it also includes those who are much further away from your restaurant. So, how can you avoid spending money to reach unqualified prospects? Try to think local. And by local, we mean within 5 miles of your location. What can you do to influence those people the most when they’re considering where to dine out?
Here are 5 things you can do to focus your advertising locally for a higher return on investment.
1.Register Tape Advertising
Placing a coupon on the back of the closest grocery store’s receipts will keep your ad very localized. You’ll reach more people who live or work in your immediate area, and also give them a reason to take action. That’s what you really need, compared to having a TV or radio ad that runs but doesn’t appeal to those who are too far away to enjoy your restaurant.
Receipt tape advertising, like what you see here, is not intrusive, but it does catch attention. Part of the reason it works is that your coupon gets into the hands of potential customers over and over again. And these are the people you want to reach the most because they work, live, and shop within 5 miles of your restaurant.
2. Custom-Printed Receipts
Placing a coupon advertisement in the hands of potential customers through grocery store receipts is a great way to make sure you find customers who haven’t been to your place yet. But what about the receipts handed to customers at your restaurant? That’s some prime time real estate that could be used to bring your existing customers back! These are called custom-printed receipts because the options for what you can put on your receipt are completely customizable!
Using your own custom-printed receipts makes it easier to advertise customer surveys, seasonal menu items, your website, and more.
3. Social Media
There’s no avoiding social media these days. Facebook and Instagram are the popular go-to’s lately, which means it’s also a good place for people to find information about your restaurant. We could write about social media advertising strategy for days, but here are two things you can do to quickly get started on the right foot:
- Make sure you have completed your profiles and post regularly to your accounts. Your phone number, hours of operation, address, and the like should be listed on your profiles so that hungry diners can find you in a flash. When someone “checks-in” at your restaurant, your page will be linked in their post for others to see. Make sure what they find is recent and represents your business well.
- Paid advertising allows you to zero in on Facebook users in your immediate area. Not only can you focus on showing your ad to the people closest to you, but Facebook can also further narrow your audience by targeting the types of people (i.e., families, the 40-something crowd, etc.). The ad will appear in the Facebook newsfeed, and as people are scrolling, your information will appear as if it were another post from a friend.
4. Local Repeat Customers
Let’s face it; it takes more than charm and good looks to keep customers coming back. A unique menu and stellar service is just the start. So how do you get your most local customers to think of your restaurant first when they want to go out to eat? Give them something back.
One key thing to remember is that your local customers can also be your raving fans. Make them feel the love right back. It will not only encourage their repeat business, but it’ll also help spread word-of-mouth referrals.
Check out these ways you can increase loyal, local customers, including:
Rewards or Loyalty Programs
When it comes to reward (or loyalty) programs, you can go old school or get techy. Encouraging repeat visits with special offers will help lead customers back in the door, probably a few times so they can earn their reward! A study has found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25-95%.
Email marketing is an excellent way to get your message right in front of the customers' faces. In fact, it is still a very reliable method for building customer loyalty. By sending out a series of creative emails with coupons, upcoming events, or new menu items, you’re able to connect with your customers and encourage them to return to your restaurant. 70% of customers want restaurants to send them coupons via email.
With so many people texting these days, it’s not hard to get people to agree to give you their cell phone number so you can send them text offers. You’ll need a service to do this. And be clear that you’re going to be sending them some texts before you send a text to every number in your order delivery database. But when you send out a text at 4 pm with a dinner special for that night, you’ve got a sure-fire way of reminding the people nearby that you’re close and ready to serve them!
5. Food Bloggers
Local food bloggers are now an important resource for improving your restaurant’s sales. To date, there are more than 4,100 food blogs in existence. The ones that matter most to you are the food bloggers in your local area. A lot of the bloggers are writing about the food, the experience, your personal interaction with them, and so on. Give them something good to say!
Here are a few steps for getting a local food blogger to talk about your restaurant. You might also be interested in reading our blog about food blogging.
- Introduce yourself. Reach out to the food bloggers that you can see are having an impact in your area. Tell them about your restaurant and keep them updated about your business and local trends. You can usually do this through their blog, Instagram, Facebook, or an email.
- Extend an invitation. Once you’ve said hello, invite them to your restaurant. Be sure to rock the dining experience for the writer, because you don’t want to end up with a bad review.
- Flaunt it. If you do get a good review, promote it on your website, social media, email, and even the print advertising channels you use. Your restaurant’s success and reputation can get a much-needed—and essentially free—boost from local food bloggers, so don’t be shy about shouting out a positive post to the world. Other bloggers might notice a good review and decide to give your restaurant a try for themselves.
In addition to expanding your customer base via the blogging world, you’ve got to stay on top of the happenings within your industry. This includes being in the know regarding restaurant industry news, marketing tips, and other helpful information for growing your business. To make it easier, we’ve comprised a list of the top 7 blogs/sites that you may want to follow for tips and trends that will help you improve your restaurant’s profitability.
If you're interested in advertising locally with grocery store receipts, social advertising or custom-printed receipts please contact one of our restaurant advertising specialists.
Finding the best ways to advertise in your local area is key to driving new customers through the door every single day. Learn more about some of the top restaurant marketing tactics and how to apply them to your restaurant.