Marketing is something that needs to be quickly learnt in the restaurant business. Understanding your product, what makes it unique and who your ideal customer is are all key insights. However, the most valuable skill of all is being able to use that knowledge to sell your restaurant to the public.
This is probably the most obvious sales technique but also one of the most effective. It may seem like a bad idea to knock a percentage off the bill cost but if you’re able to sell more as a result then it’s worth doing. Make sure you give your customers the kinds of discounts that they’re looking for – are they more likely to respond to two for one offers or a percentage off the bill? – And make sure they know they’re getting a discount.
- Repeat business incentives
Repeat customers are the foundation of success in any public facing business. A great menu and feel good service will encourage many to return, but you can secure that repeat business with some smart selling. Loyalty cards and collecting points can give diners a sense of ownership and a compelling reason to return to you..
- Selling to new customers
When it comes to new business, identify the customers that you’re looking to sell to before you do anything else. Where do they look for information online, what publications do they read, are they active on social media? Choose your communication channel(s) and then deliver an offer that’s too good to refuse. That could be freebies for new customers, or discounts for people who help you spread the word via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook to other new diners.
So many restaurants make their real money in the ‘extras’ - upselling techniques can’t be ignored. For example, if someone orders a burger or a sandwich, an example of upselling would be to encourage them to also order chips, onion rings, salad or extra fillings or toppings. Upselling is an art that needs to feel like a great suggestion rather than a pushy desire to increase the bill.
It may sound rather random, but it’s the storytelling in a restaurant that really draws people in – selling your story can be a powerful way to boost your business. What’s the story that you want to use to sell the restaurant here – the wine, the food, the people, the atmosphere, the dining experience, the culinary history, the culture? Identify your story – or your unique selling point – and use it to bring customers to you, as well as giving them a reason to tell their friends what makes you special.