Finding new customers for your restaurant can be quite a challenge. If you feel like your marketing efforts are falling a little flat, try spicing things up with some of the creative ideas below.
Happy Hour Deals
Everyone loves a good deal, and what better opportunity for a good deal than happy hour? This is a great way to incentivize people to come in to eat or drink earlier than they usually would, and before the dinner rush. It’s a great way to encourage extra business without adding to your already-busy times. Plus, you can get creative with happy hour deals themselves. You don’t have to stick to just cocktails and beer. You can try offering buy one get one offers, free appetizers with the purchase of an entree, or certain drinks priced by the hour ($3 from 3:00-4:00, $4 from 4:00-500, etc.) just to name a few.
As a general rule, a great way to bring in new customers is by offering something new or different from your usual. One way to keep things exciting and switch up your menu is by offering daily specials. This can be especially helpful on the days of the week your restaurant is otherwise less busy. Something like Steak Night Wednesdays or Taco Tuesdays can help bring in diners who are interested in your specials. Plus, only offering these items one day per week gives people a sense of urgency to come try it on the limited days that they can.
In addition to daily specials, you can also keep things exciting for your restaurant by coming up with a rotating menu or limited-time offerings. These types of specials would be similar to those above, but would only be available for a set amount of time, instead of recurring weekly. For instance, anything seasonal that you can offer (like special soups in the winter, pumpkin or apple flavored items in the fall) is likely to draw a crowd. If your chef likes to get creative, offer a nightly chef’s special dish that changes on a regular basis.
Partnerships with Other Local Businesses
Another great way to increase your exposure is to partner in some way with another local business. Not only will this partnership be fun for your fans, and offer a new and exciting item or experience, but it can also help expose new people to your business. Your business and the other business can both promote the upcoming partnership, tag each other on social media, and gain fans from each others’ established followings. For instance, if your restaurant serves pizza you can partner with a local butcher to create a pizza that uses their local meats on your pies. Then, fans of the butcher who may not have heard of you before, will now have a compelling reason to come try your pizza!
Fan-created Menu Items
One final creative and very interactive way to bring in new customers is to offer a menu item that was created by a fan of yours. You can run a contest, encouraging fans to submit an idea for a potential new menu item. Then, you can either select a winner or hold a vote for the winner to be selected. The winning submission can be named after the winner and be on your menu for a limited time. This is a great way to get people involved with your restaurant, building up their loyalty along the way. These types of contests can build goodwill, drive people through your doors to give the special menu item a try, and maybe even result in a creation so delicious that you decide to make it a part of your permanent menu! With the 5 ideas above, you can spice up your usual efforts to bring in new customers. Whether it’s discounts, contests, or special menu items, all of the above can prove ver effective in growing your fanbase and your business.