3 Strategies to Drive Traffic to Your Restaurant

Anyone in the retail business – whether it’s clothing, business supplies or a food establishment – knows that foot traffic is the name of the game. In order to increase sales, you’ve got to get customers in the door (or at least calling for home delivery).

Here are a trio of tips that can help bring in customers – and revenue:

Reward your loyal customers

If you don’t already have a customer rewards program, create one. It’s easy. Print up “business cards” (which are inexpensive) with the offer. For example, a free bar drink with your 10th meal. A free appetizer on your next visit. A free dessert on your birthday. To discourage “cheating,” you can use a special stamp or punch to mark off customers’ cards.

Or encourage your regulars to bring people with them. This will introduce others to your establishment, growing your customer base. For instance, offer $5 off their next bill for every two customers they bring in. You get the idea.

Encourage reviews/ratings

According to TripAdvisor’s “Influences on Diner Decision-Making” survey, 94 percent of diners choose a restaurant based on online reviews. Unfortunately, many unsolicited reviews are negative. So you need to encourage your satisfied customers to share their dining experiences online. Another survey indicates that positive reviews can even impact how much customers spend in an establishment.

Online photos also influence dining decisions, according to the 2018 survey. That’s why presentation is so important. Your food must be Instagram-worth (or Facebook or Snapchat or Twitter-worthy). Plating your food so that it’s as appealing to the eye as it is to the palate doesn’t have to be difficult. Arrange a few escargot on a plate, for example, around a head of roasted garlic accompanied by homemade breadsticks can do the trick.

Offer samples

Let’s face it. Customers love anything free. They also love to be pleasantly surprised. Why not offer a sample of something they might not necessarily order, such as breaded goat cheese, but are certain to enjoy? Who knows, next time they might be inclined to start their meal with it.

Or end their meal on a surprise note. It doesn’t have to be someone’s birthday in order for you to offer a dessert sample. Place a single macaron on the saucer when someone orders an after-dinner coffee. Give them a taste, and they might just decide to order a full dessert.

Whatever tactics you employ, the idea is to generate word of mouth. People tend to share enjoyable dining experiences. And when they do, your foot traffic is bound to increase.