Anyone who’s worked in the restaurant business can agree on at least one thing: You work hard for the money. And we want to help you out as much as we can. While there’s no magic formula that guarantees success, we’re serving you up some sweet tips to help give your business a boost (if you’re already a SkipTheDishes partner you’re one step ahead of the game!). Ready? Let’s dive in.
Tip #1 Mind Your Marketing
You can’t teach an old marketing strategy new tricks. That is, the tactics that you used to promote your restaurant last year, may not work this year. And with customers facing a dizzying array of options, restaurants need to stand out. So whether it’s improving your social media game (more on that later!), adding new menu items to your current menu (more on that later too!) or creating fun promotions you can use throughout the year, you should definitely stay on top of your marketing game. Just make sure the strategy fits the budget.
Tip #2: Go Local
With everything going on in the world, there’s nothing better than seeing people support each other. And that goes double for businesses. Whether you’re supporting local farmers by using their fresh produce in your dishes or cross-promoting with other locals to help boost their business and yours, customers are here for it. Hit up farmers’ markets, visit other local businesses to see if they’d be interested in a partnership, the sky’s the limit. For more fresh ideas on how to go local, check out our blog here.
Tip #3: Treat Your Customers Like Gold
If customers have a good experience with a restaurant, they’ll likely tell a friend or two. But if they have a bad one, they’ll definitely spread the word. Though you can’t please everyone, there’s a lot you can do to make sure your customers are satisfied. For example, if they claim they were missing an item in their order, send another one out right away, and maybe even include a little extra “We’re sorry” treat. If there’s anything you can do to turn a negative experience into a positive one, do it.
Tip #4: Treat Your Staff Like Platinum
Treating your employees well is paramount to running a successful restaurant. After all, they’re the ones making the magic happen. Simple compliments and treating them with the respect they deserve are just some of the little things you can do to keep them happy. A little goes a long way.
Tip #5: Encourage Criticism
Yes, you read that right. If you truly want your restaurant to be successful, you need to hear it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s easy to assume that you know more about food and drinks than your customers but if they’ve taken the time to tell you something’s not right, thank them for their feedback and consider making changes. Though it can be tough to swallow sometimes, constructive criticism can help make your business prosper and grow your restaurant as you right those wrongs. You may even want to go so far as to ask for it. Send out customer satisfaction surveys and encourage customers to give it to you straight.
Tip #6: Optimize Your Menu
It’s time to stop and take a good hard look at your current menu. Is it too big? Is it organized properly? Is it easy to navigate? You want to think of your menu as your most powerful marketing tool. Because it is. Customers have to be able to easily find those tasty dishes on your menu and if there’s too much going on, they may feel overwhelmed and then it’s on to the next. Another biggie? Pictures. Us humans are visual creatures who eat with our eyes first. So you want to make sure those snaps look scrumptious (get a little help with these hot tips).
Tip #7: Kick Your Social Presence Up A Notch
If a potential customer visits your social media page to check out your delicious dishes and you don’t have anything up, you could lose a customer (especially if your competitors are on top of their social media game). The people that are checking you out on social believe that if restaurants care about showcasing their food as much as they do serving it, they must be doing something right. So show it off! You don’t have to post everyday. Posting once a week with a pic of a menu item or an event you’re having should do you just fine. And if you don’t have the time, consider paying one of your current staff members a little more to keep it up.
Tip #8: Rock Your Website
Not only does it make you easier to find, potential customers love being able to check you out before they check you out. They like to read menus, look at pictures, and see what you’re all about. Having a website allows you to control the image of your restaurant so it’s extremely important to make sure the look of your site reflects the vibe of your place. And last but not least, make sure the site is user-friendly. Keep it simple and easy to navigate and you can’t go wrong. Learn more tips for your website to attract more customers.
Tip #9: Get A Competitive Edge
Let’s get ready to rumble. Have a dish that’s unique to your restaurant? Or a super cool way of presenting your food? These are the things that can totally help you stand out from your competitors. You could even host a special virtual event, where your head chef cooks a recipe with the viewers at home. For instance, if you’re a pizza place, have a Friday night pizza party where you demonstrate how to make the best tasting pie.
Tip #10: Spice Things Up
While there’s no replacing your signature goods, sometimes it’s fun to stir the pot. No one is asking you to reinvent the wheel here, but revitalizing your menu with a tasty new dish or a spin on a classic, can breathe new life into your restaurant with minimal effort (see the strategies to revive your restaurant business). Limited time offers are good for that too for a little “get it while it’s hot” urgency. Not only will these little things entice your regulars, it’ll attract new customers who will want to see what else you’ve got cooking.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, but if you incorporate a few of these tips into your restaurant plans, you’ll totally rise above.