10 Crazy Ways to Get People into Your RestaurantFeb 4th Grand Openings
Of all the parts of running a business, marketing seems to be the most time consuming. Keeping and creating customers is vital to any business’s success. This is true of restaurants, especially in their first year of being open for business. Sometimes doing things that are different or unexpected are the best way to jump start or revive a restaurant’s reputation. We’ve gathered up ten wacky ways to get more customers into your restaurant and eating without busting your budget’s waistline.
1. If they can build it, they will come
A sense of ownership will create loyalty. Take advantage of this fact. When you open or revamp your dining room, get customers involved. Have them add a crystal to your new chandelier or sign a poster going up in the entry. Let the first X number of visitors place a decoration on the wall or on tables, they will feel they had a hand in it. Build the loyalty into their first dining experience and they will return. Plus you can really shake things up by advertising this event using a colorful advertising balloon with a custom banner!
2. Anything goes menu week
Have you ever had a hankering for something specific? You’re not alone. Advertise an ‘anything goes menu day’ or week, in which your guests can ask for anything and you’ll make it. No menus needed, and it will be fun to see what they come up with. Who knows, you might find your next great, low cost item!
3. Goal board to freebies
You’ve probably seen the goal boards put on lawns or buildings for non-profit organizations or schools. Use this inspiration for your own business. Set a goal and put it out there for guests to participate. Something fun like, “when we serve 2000 people, we’ll give away 25 meals.” Even with smaller numbers, it’s in people’s nature to help reach goals, especially if they may get something out of it. Use a large goal board to keep track and invite participating guests to check back in often to see where you are. Pair it with a sidewalk sign out in the front and really entice people to stop and check it out.
4. Tasting Event
Tasting parties aren’t anything new. Wine and brewery tasting is fairly common in most metropolitan areas. But why not hold your own? Invite competitors to offer samples of their food. Then bring your A game and show customers you’ve got the better product. It’s not a matter of showing up the competition so much as a major show of confidence in your restaurant. People will respect that.
Why not make the dining experience fun? Sure, folded napkins are impressive, but what about folding up your menus? Depending on the type of establishment you run and how fine the dining is will depend on the intricacy of your menu-gami. If you run a more relaxed place, consider cootie catchers for children’s menus, where they order what they happen to find under the flaps they choose. Or maybe an elegant crane for an Asian or Asian fusion eatery. Possibilities are endless here.
6. Grow a garden with Customer’s Help
Plants are great mood lifters, appetite enhancers, and healthy for meal use. If you grow a garden, consider letting initial customers help with the planting. (Be sure to have a wash station handy before they sit down to eat.) There are many options for urban style gardening, everything from vertical slot herb walls to wall mounted plant pots. The green will help create atmosphere and will add freshness and flavor to your offerings. Customers will appreciate restaurants with their best in mind.
7. Random percentage off
Randomly give entire restaurant percentage off. Stand centered in the room and announce their savings on any given night. Word of mouth is powerful and on your side. The news will travel fast through social media and in smaller communities by way of citizens. Continue to do this occasionally and people will start coming in the hopes of saving that money even if they don’t.
8. Create an Entree Day
Advertise a special event where guests get to participate in making their own dinner similarly to the Food Network’s Show Chopped and that one creation will be added to the regular menu. Set a specific price and give them a basket of ingredients (Don’t get too crazy in what you offer them). Then ask them to tell them how they’d like it prepared. You never know what ideas your clients will have. Then announce the winner of the night and give them a free meal voucher.
9. Invite local food bloggers to review your restaurant
Local food bloggers are often underrated or unknown. Do some research and find a handful. Offer for them to review your restaurant or interview a chef. If they want to have fun with it, consider videoing their experience so they can post a vlog entry to highlight your establishment. Then take advantage and give them your story and viewers a reason to come and check out your food for themselves.
10. Use custom advertising
A custom inflatable cup or your signature product as a giant replica is just the thing to separate your business from the rest. Customers will love seeing the huge display, plus it gets the kind of exposure you want with a excitement generating custom shaped inflatable. Nothing put a smile on your customers face more than seeing a great big burger or the biggest milkshake they’ve ever seen!
Bonus: Touring, train, and taxi companies
Team up with transportation companies in your area to maximize your restaurant’s exposure. Offer tour buses, greyhounds, trams, and taxis free advertising in exchange for their recommendations or regular stops at your storefront. It will bring in busloads of clients, literally. Offer a discount to their clients. It’s is still cheaper than most other large scale advertising.
What sort of unconventional marketing have you done to get people into your restaurant? If you chose to try out our suggestions, please let us know how well they worked for you!
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