Opening day is one of the most exciting days for restaurateurs. The staff are all excited, and you can't help but feel like this is really happening. You've finally made it! But what about after that? How do you keep people coming back to your restaurant?
There are a variety of methods to increase restaurant foot traffic, depending on the type of clientele you want to attract or already have. Make sure that your restaurant's design, social media interaction, and dining experience adequately welcome your guests and go hand in hand with your brand.
Customers will be able to find you when they need a place to eat or order out when you stay up to date and constantly remind people that you are open for business all day, every day.
Continue reading to discover restaurant industry ideas so you can accomplish your foot traffic objectives.
Claim your business listing
Claiming your business listing on Bing, Yahoo, Google Business, among others, is the first step to getting your restaurant in front of other businesses. These platforms allow new customers, within a certain radius, to find you when they are looking for restaurants nearby. This will inevitably help drive foot traffic since it increases your visibility.
If you can, use Google Maps and search for nearby businesses in your area and see how your company compares to others. Make sure that you are easily pinpointed on the map to easily be recognized when clients search by local range.
Furthermore, these listings allow you to add pictures, which many people don't take advantage of. You also have the option of using text over images, which will attract people to your listing since you have the power to describe them in more detail. You may need to optimize your photographs for each listing to enhance your chances of getting noticed and at the same time, ensure quality images are at the forefront. Photographs have a tremendously positive impact on someone's decision to try your food, especially if they see previous customers posting their positive experience!
Claiming is simple: just create a profile through the business listing website, and add your restaurant's contact information. From there, you can claim it for free by verifying yourself with an email address.
A great way to drive restaurant foot traffic through search result pages is by using keywords in the description of each listing. It's important to save these keywords relevant to your venue so that you can grab customers' attention while searching.
Eventually, you will have access to your data; such as your search views, clicks on your website, customer patterns, and more. This information can be used to make a strategic plan for your online presence while maintaining your digital presence.
For example, if you notice that customers are clicking on the link in your listing but not going to the website afterward, this could mean that they need additional information about dining at your restaurant or contact information before they will convert to customers.
Use the tools available on the business listing website and make sure that your restaurant information is complete, accurate, current, and optimized for search engines.
Improve your website
You're probably thinking that your restaurant's website is the last place you need to be concerned with. It should come up in any relevant searches, right? Unfortunately, the answer isn't always yes. If your website isn't easy to navigate, you may be losing clients from this first impression and if your website is not easy to find, in store visits will not be as probable.
Without a properly optimized site for search engines like Google and Bing, it can be difficult for customers to find what they are looking for. This is especially true if you are not including keywords in your restaurant's description, name, and other areas on the site that customers would search to find businesses like yours.
If you have an existing site that isn't ranking high enough in search results, it may be time to consider updating the design or building a new one from scratch. Having a responsive, mobile-friendly site is essential since many customers are using their smartphones to search for local restaurants anyway.
Optimizing downloadable content ensures that your website doesn't crash or has a hard time loading between clicks and scrolls. According to Rewards Network, data shows that 39% of people will not wait long for an image to load on a website, therefore it contributes to loss of business.
Some other steps go a long way towards improving your restaurant's online presence, such as optimizing your restaurant website for all devices and posting fresh content on a regular basis.
If this all sounds overwhelming, you're not alone. Many companies know the value of having a website, however their skills or their time frame may not serve them in this scenario. One way out of this is using a website creator such as Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix, Webflow, etc. Over the years, these have improved to the point where business owners do not require any website creation skills to have a beautiful and functional website. Which is a sigh of relief!
Another option is to eliminate any headaches and ask a web designer to do it for you. This can often be more costly depending on if you hire a beginner or an expert in the field. Just remember to be patient and provide the designer with the most information you can about your business and your preferences so that you won't be disappointed with the end result.
Let them know you're open
No one wants to go to a restaurant and have it be closed, or struggle to find the opening hours online. Hence, make sure that your restaurant details are available on every platform possible, both in person and online.
Provide all relevant information, such as your restaurant's phone number, address, and opening hours in person (entrance, windows, doors, menus), and online (website, mobile app, social media).
Remember to also provide an email address or offering a chat box on your website for customers who want to reach you and your staff directly. This can be the difference between someone choosing another restaurant over yours - if they have difficulty finding it otherwise!
Additional tip: Find a good spot on your premises to post your menu so that people can see it more easily; both when you're open and when you're closed. You will be surprised how many customers will pass by and give it a look, which potentially translates to future customers!
As a general rule, it's important to be consistent throughout all of your platforms since social media is key to customer reach. When posting online it is a good rule of thumb to occasionally thank your customers for supporting you.
Be sure that your social media accounts are frequently updated with what is going on at the restaurant, such as daily specials or a photo from an event you're having. Customers want to feel invited and be entertained even if they can't make it in person!
The effort you put into driving more foot traffic isn't just for today; it's an investment in your restaurant's future. These strategies will undoubtedly see your ROI reflect your commitment to growth.