Attracting New Restaurant Diners: Practical Tips & Insights

November 10, 2023

To build a diverse customer base for your restaurant, it's essential to incorporate effective marketing strategies that are tailored to your unique identity and target audience. With consistent and well-executed efforts, you can reach out to new customers and create a loyal following over time.

Running a successful restaurant is more than just cooking up delicious food, it's also essential to find ways to attract new customers to your establishment. However, this can be a daunting task that requires a well-thought-out strategy. To help restaurant owners achieve this, we've compiled a list of proven tactics that can help bring in boosting your customer base.

1. Leverage the Power of Social Media: In today's digital age, social media is a powerful tool for reaching new customers. Create and maintain active profiles on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Share photos of your dishes, behind-the-scenes glimpses of your kitchen, and stories about your restaurant's journey. Engage with your followers, respond to comments, and run targeted ads to attract a broader audience.

If you want to use social media as a tool to attract more customers, here are some tips that might help you:

  • Consistently post updates about your business and community 
  • Highlight any seasonal promotions or special discounts 
  • Interact with guests in the comments and promptly respond to comments, questions, or feedback 
  • Share user-generated content and engaging photos and videos of employees

2. Offer Online Ordering and Delivery: Offering online ordering and delivery services can be a game-changer for your restaurant. Are you looking to create a custom app for your restaurant and set up an online ordering system on your website? With Appfront, it's easier than ever. Appfront Menu Sync automatically tracks any changes made to your POS and updates your online ordering menus, ensuring that your customers won't experience order failures, incorrect printing, or pricing errors. Plus, you can use Appfront's back office to customize your menu categories and create amazing deals with upsells. This will not only cater to your convenience-loving customers but also attract a whole new group of patrons who prefer dining at home.

3. Launch a Mobile App: With Appfront, designing, creating, and publishing apps is a breeze even if you have no coding experience. You can use the intuitive drag-and-drop interface to create customized, feature-rich apps quickly. The platform offers a wide range of pre-built templates and design elements, enabling you to tailor your digital appearance to match your brand identity. Appfront's solution also integrates seamlessly with your existing POS systems, online ordering platforms, and loyalty programs, ensuring a cohesive and streamlined experience for both you and your patrons.

4. Optimize your Website: To make it easier for customers to locate the restaurant, the website should include its physical address and a map. Utilizing Google Places to add the physical location to Google search and maps, and establishing or claiming business listings on various search engines and directories like Yelp, can help increase the business's online presence. It is important to ensure that the website is user-friendly, with easy navigation and a clear link back to the homepage. Managing multiple online platforms, maintaining an e-commerce system, and ensuring the website is functional and attractive can be complicated, especially for small businesses. If you are a restaurant owner who is wondering how to make a restaurant website, Appfront can help. Appfront provides an all-in-one platform that integrates ordering operations and offers a professional, easy-to-maintain digital hub. With a centralized link management system, all links are organized in one central site, eliminating the frustration of managing multiple websites.

5. Leverage Food Bloggers and Influencers: Food bloggers and influencers have a devoted following of food enthusiasts who trust their recommendations. You can collaborate with local influencers or bloggers in your niche by inviting them to review your restaurant or try out your latest menu offerings. A recent survey showed that almost one-fifth of restaurant-goers search for restaurant information by following the reviews of influencers, while slightly over 20% rely on creators who write restaurant reviews. Partnering with influencers can be an excellent strategy to create hype around your establishment, boost customer traffic, and enhance your online presence.

6. Host Events and Promotions: Organize events, promotions, and themed nights to create a buzz around your restaurant. Whether it's a wine-tasting evening, live music performances, or a special menu for a holiday, these events can draw in new customers looking for unique dining experiences.

7. Don’t forget Email Marketing: Email marketing campaigns for restaurants have been proven to be an effective way of establishing customer loyalty. By sending well-timed emails, restaurants can attract new customers, as well as remind recent diners to visit again. Investing in email marketing is a wise decision, as it can yield an average return of $36 for every $1 spent. It is important to create and maintain an email list of your loyal customers and to regularly send newsletters with updates, special promotions, and exclusive discounts to incentivize repeat visits and referrals. Encouraging subscribers to forward these emails to their friends can help expand your reach and attract more potential customers.

8. Establish Local Partnerships: Launch partnerships with local businesses, such as nearby hotels, theaters, or event venues. Offer special packages or discounts for their customers, and in return, they can promote your restaurant to their guests and clients. Cross-promotions can be a win-win situation.

9. Online Reviews and Reputation Management: Online reviews matter more than ever. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on popular platforms like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Google My Business. Address negative reviews professionally and promptly. A solid online reputation can significantly impact potential customers' decisions.

10. Prioritize Loyalty Programs: A loyalty-first platform made to make your regulars feel like regulars even as you scale. Implement a loyalty program that rewards repeat customers with discounts, free meals, or exclusive perks. These programs not only encourage customer loyalty but also motivate satisfied customers to bring friends and family to your restaurant. Setting up a loyalty program can get messy and complicated. Appfront makes it simple by designating a main path first, such as a points bank or cash back that will run for long periods of time. Then, whenever you're ready, create dynamic loyalty modules like signup gifts or money-spent-based coupons, by combining a reward and a manual or auto-trigger.

Incorporate these strategies into your marketing plan and adapt them to your restaurant's unique identity and target audience. Building a diverse customer base takes time, but with a consistent and well-executed approach, you can successfully reach new customers and create a loyal following for your restaurant.

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