- with a newly opened establishment and needed to find ways to get the word out
- after years of seeing great sales but noticed a trending drop in sales
- have tried those “coupon” methods be it Groupon, Pinpoint, Passport Card, Magazines, Newspaper, or TV with little ROI
Then here are next-to-free tactics that I would deploy to ramp up business:
1. I would start by looking at places such as Urbanspoon and Yelp to make sure my business is listed there. Chances are that it is. Then I would make sure whatever reviews there are (good or bad) are addressed by me. For the bad, I would message the reviewer privately to see if I could resolve the issue (usually a free meal is a good incentive for them to come back in). For the good, I would personally reach out to the reviewer and offer them a free meal for their high remarks. The best thing you could do with a positive review is increase their brand loyalty with goodwill.
2. I would be on top of my social media like whoa! Creating a new dish, Instagram it. Have an off-menu special, Facebook it. Exciting news, Tweet it. Better yet, do all these things…simultaneously and consistently. Some of the business with the highest following and the most fans are the ones that are regularly engaged in their social media accounts. A picture is worth a thousand words and nothing sells food better.
3. I would create an exclusive event for Elite Yelp-ers and loyal fans. Any restaurant knows who their best customers on. The ones you know by face or name and can immediately guess what they’ll be ordering. These people should feel appreciated and get the special treatment for their patronage. For the Elite Yelp-ers, they’re the unbiased influencer of the masses. Their opinions are weighted far more online because they have no incentive to write a good or bad review. Throw an after hours party to sample new dishes to this select group of people under the condition they provide you feedback. Wait and watch what they do after they leave, it’ll be amazing.
4. If all else fails, have an honest person critique your business. This honest person may come in the form of an online review- and you just may need to accept it as truth. It may be an employee who sees the inter workings of the restaurant and has noticed things that simply aren’t working. It may be your best customer who can look at your business from an outsider’s perspective and tell you the truth. Could it be a troublesome employee with horrible customer service? Inconvenient hours or location? Decreasing quality in food? Whoever it is, you need to be willing to approach and ask the tough questions.
In the end, the restaurant that listens and adapts to technology and feedback will be the restaurant that thrives. If you need help with any of these tactics, give us a shout out!