Use your storefront
When it comes to footfall, the front of your restaurant has a big role to play. You can entice hungry customers through the door as they walk by simply by having an appealing and welcoming shop front. It’s also important to make your brand proposition clear on the outside – what can customers expect if they walk through the door; wood fired pizza, a buffet, a ‘press for champagne’ button, innovative vegan cuisine?
Get involved in local activities
From having a stall at a farmer’s market, to sponsoring local events, there are lots of ways to build profile for your brand by getting involved in the same local activities as the rest of the community. Schools, churches, sports clubs, networking meet ups, social clubs and volunteering organisations are all a great place to start if you want to establish a reputation for giving back. If you’re targeting a particular market or demographic then offering to host events – such as a mother and baby group or poetry circle - is another option.
Create some local benefits
It’s definitely worth creating some offers and discounts that are available exclusively to your local customers. This not only shows that you value the local community, but makes you feel like a part of it too. Promote your discounts via local coupon websites, community groups and the websites of organisations based in the area - let people know what the benefits are for them in supporting you as a local business.
Discount and loyalty programmes for locals
For those who live and work in the area, if one establishment is offering discounts and another is not, it’s a very simple decision of where to purchase. Many coffee shops located in the vicinity of hospitals, for example, offer sizeable discounts for those who work in the hospital (on production of their hospital ID). A loyalty scheme where locals can build points for freebies is another simple way to get your nearest customers to return for their regular weekend meal or lunchtime bite.
Use local social media
If you’re looking to establish yourself with a local reputation then use social media to publicise this. Location hashtags and tagging local community groups and organisations will enable you to promote your business and offers to people in the area, and will enable you to drive up general awareness of your restaurant as a trusted local brand.
Your regular customers will be your local customers so make sure if you need to price up your menu you do it without upsetting them.