Restaurants have always been a popular calling for entrepreneurs. This willingness to share experiences has led to a recent boom in restaurant openings. Some restaurants are family projects, while some are multi-million dollar capital ventures. Restaurants can be both a satisfying choice and a smart one for your pocketbook. Approximately half of restaurant operators rate their business as stronger now than they were two years ago. However, all of them could use help making sure they’re staying competitive with trends, marketing, and customer growth. With the rise of new restaurant developments, how can you make your business stand out amongst a sea of emerging restaurants?
We’ll explore three methods any foodservice business can use to stay competitive without spending money. By using social media, offering special promotions, and implementing staff training, your restaurant can stay ahead of the pack.
1. Build Up Your Fan Base
Loyalty is a great way to maintain regular profits even when guests are also trying out other restaurants. Give them an incentive to come back, whether it be a punch-card or freebie item, and reward them for choosing your restaurant time and again.
Customers crave good food, but also a connective experience that makes them feel good. Sending special offers directly to your biggest fans is a great way to remind them you’ll do more for them than a restaurant that doesn’t know what they like.
Make sure you’re connecting with guests through social media, which is another place to aim for exclusive promotions. This way, you can encourage your followers to come on down and enjoy something special for them. Reward your guests for keeping tabs on your online offerings, and you’ll simultaneously build loyalty and retain customers.
2. Keep Your Restaurant Competitive with LTO’s
Because of the competitive nature of this business, restaurants have to keep pace with the growth of their establishment. The lifeblood of any restaurant is its regulars, retaining and attracting new regulars requires proactive steps. Sometimes people will find you off the street or a random Google search, but you can tip the odds in your favor with some growth-minded moves.
New menu items are one way restaurants get to reintroduce themselves to new and existing clientele, all while showcasing flavors and prices that are sure to draw a crowd.
Limited time offers (LTOs) and time-dependent offers like happy hour and brunch specials are always a great way to get new kinds of business in the door, and they also let you experiment with finding new time frames to pack your restaurant with guests. These practices should be changed up and relaunched throughout the year to keep your restaurant competitive. Follow the seasons, special observances, and important dates of your location to make sure you’re in step with what your customers expect to see. Then give them your restaurant’s unique take on every occasion.
3. Better Serve your Servers
Great businesses begin with excellent service, and a restaurant is only as strong as its least experienced staff. Spend the time needed to train your staff properly, and it will pay off big time. Happy, supported servers are the face of your restaurant, and you want that face to be friendly, warm, and hospitable. When a dinner rush comes, you need to know that you have the people out front who you trust with the success of your business. Building that trust takes time, respect, and talent development. It’s harder and harder to find great team players, so respect and reward yours, and make sure they have the support staff and technology they need to get their jobs done.
Staying competitive in the restaurant industry often means just making sure you’re firing on all cylinders. Giving your guests new reasons to return, giving your staff plenty of support, and rewarding those who keep coming back in for more won’t cost you much money to implement, but it will provide you with results you can see and count.