No matter what initially sparked your interest in opening your own eatery, the ultimate goal of an enterprise is to make money. There is nothing ideal or romantic about running a restaurant that doesn't turn a profit and only remains in business because of the owner's passion for the culinary arts. The best way to remain in touch with the passion and purpose that lit your entrepreneurial fire is to be successful. No matter what industry you're in, for your business to thrive, you have to come up with ways to generate and consistently grow your revenue. For restauranteurs, growing your brand is different from other industries. When it comes to food, people just like what they like. The best shot you have at growing your business is to turn occasional customers into regular ones.
Some people frequent the same eateries so often that they're on a first-name basis with the servers. With the right marketing techniques, you can turn your eatery into a local favorite and win the hearts and stomachs of hungry patrons in your area. The quality of service you provide is the most crucial element of your restaurant's success, but you also need to focus your resources and efforts toward projects that generate buzz for your brand and boost your revenue.
Specials for Children
One of the great things about children is that they're pretty easy to please when it comes to food as long as it's good. Children aren't looking to be wowed by the food's presentation and they're not likely to be adventurous in their food choices. For that very reason, most restaurants offer a kid's menu that features staples such as pizza, chicken tenders, spaghetti, and burgers and fries.
If you have a children's menu, then you should keep it short and simple and if you don't have one, then you need to add one. The best thing about the foods that are the most prevalent on kid's menus is that they're all relatively cheap to make, and you can use that low cost to your advantage. One way to make the most of your children's menu is to have one night a week where kids eat free. Free food always attracts people and being that kids meal items are small as well as cheap and easy to make, giving it away won't hurt your bottom line. If you offer free food, they will come, and they will bring their children.
Don't forget, parents will also be bringing their own appetites as well. The money they don't spend on meals for their children will go toward drinks, desserts, and appetizers, so you won't miss out on any revenue. In fact, you'll notice a drastic spike in your sales on the nights that you offer free meals for kids because of the increased traffic your restaurant will see on those nights.
You have to have a game plan for rolling out a promotion like a "kids eat free" night. You can either do it once a week or as a week-long semi-annual promotion. Offering that promotion as a semi-annual deal increases the promotion's chance of success because its rarity adds urgency by shortening the time that patrons have to capitalize on the discount. If you decide to go with offering the kid's meal discount on a weekly basis, then you should consider offering it on Monday nights. Mondays are notoriously manic, making it the perfect night to offer parents a respite from cooking a meal by offering to feed the kiddos for free. There are few restaurant specials that yield better results than "kids eat free" nights.
Customer Loyalty Promotions
If you want people to be loyal to your business, then you have to give them good reasons. Your restaurant isn't the only Italian spot in the city and if you want yours to be the one people consistently choose, then you have to show them that you value their business. Offering a premier rewards program is a great way to keep people coming back to your eatery regularly. National chains such as Outback Steakhouse and Chili's off premier rewards programs to their customers, and they reap the benefits of it by remaining two of the nation's top "Sunday Dinner" destinations.
Personalized Rewards and Discounts
In the information age, businesses have become much savvier about how they communicate and market. With big data, companies now have the ability to get to know their customers better than ever before and with that knowledge, they're better able to meet their needs and wants.
When you institute your premier rewards program, you'll be able to get certain valuable information from your customers. Don't stop at offering them a rewards card and periodic discounts. Get to know your customers and offer them promotions and coupon discounts that suit their preferences. Much of American cuisine is regional so if you're a franchisee, then you should offer discounts on foods that are popular in your area. Many national chains offer discounts on different items depending on the restaurant's address or zip code.
Discounts on Premium Meats and Seafood
As much as people love steak and seafood, sometimes people shy away from them due to their high cost. Offering specials on high-dollar food items like seafood and certain cuts of beef and poultry is a great way to fill up your dining room. National chains like Outback Steakhouse and Chili's get a lot of business from their surf-and-turf specials. If your restaurant is like every other eatery, then it's been affected by COVID-19 in a major way. Offering discounts on your seafood and premium meats could increase customer loyalty as well as attract new foodies. There's nothing like watching dad try to scarf down a porterhouse.
With COVID-19 increasing the risk of foodborne illness, it has—for the foreseeable future—changed the definition of a full dining room. As a result, more people are placing orders online through food-delivery services rather than going out to eat. You could offer discounts or coupons for your steak and seafood dishes when customers place an online order for delivery or pickup to encourage social distancing. It's a great way to make sure you're still able to sell your high-dollar items even though you can't fill up your restaurant the way you could before the pandemic.
Discounts for Healthy Foods
With so many medical conditions being linked to the foods people eat, you could drive in more customers by creating a menu with healthy food options. People with certain medical conditions have to be careful about where and what food they eat. You can attract some of those customers to your place by offering specials on health-conscious foods.
Offering a health-conscious menu could also be good for your restaurant's image. More people are becoming vegetarians and vegans, so a cost-friendly menu that targets that growing market could set your restaurant apart from the competition. No matter what kind of specials you offer, it's your messaging that will decide the success of your campaigns. Remember to always be marketing and do so with the consumer in mind. Every now and then, you have to ask yourself what you would want out of your favorite restaurant if you were a patron rather than a restauranteur.
Also, your restaurant's address, website, and phone number should be easily accessible. You'd be surprised how often restaurants get passed over just because it's too difficult to find their location or place an order online. When customers look up your restaurant online, you want to be easy to find, and you want your promotions to read like front-page headlines.