Nowadays, it’s all about the Internet. More people are spending their time on their phones and on the web than ever before and it is important for businesses, specifically restaurants, to stay on top of the social media game. With 60% of restaurants failing in the first year and 80% of restaurants going under in the first fifth year, competition to stay alive in this industry is fierce. Here are ten ways you can take your restaurant to the next level.
Take The Time To Work Personally With Your Employees
Use size to your advantage! The biggest advantage a small restaurant has over a large corporation like McDonalds is size. By simply getting to know your employees on a personal level, you are increasing the quality of the service and food in your kitchen. Take them out to dinner or work alongside with them. This will create more meaning for your employees and make them enjoy working for you more. Once they see that you understand their position as employees, it will establish a stronger community bond. It is nice to get their opinions as well so that they feel a part of the process of growing your business. It is also great to feature them on your social media pages to show the public that you value your employees.
Respond To Customer Feedback
If your business is listed on Yelp or any site where customers can leave reviews, respond to them! Good or bad, it is important to establish yourself as a proactive business owner. The fact that customers took the time out to review your business means that their experiences meant something to them. Now, the way you respond to these reviews is also important. Be respectful and naturally, your customers will respect you. Most people in their right mind are not out to bash on businesses unless they seriously had a bad time so take advantage of those negative reviews to better your business. Too many times I see a business owner and consumer arguing over a review and this instantly makes me feel uncomfortable. I instantly flag the business in my head and remind myself to never go there.
Stay Active On Yelp
Yelp has tremendous power in the restaurant industry and having a 4+ star rating on the site is almost like a golden ticket to more customers. As people scroll through the site looking for places to eat, it is easy to skip over 3 star restaurants to find the next 4+ star restaurant so it is important to keep your food and service in check. As more and more people start using yelp, they will actually review your place whether or not you’ve put up a page of your own. Create a yelp page today and utilize it so that it helps your business. Add details pertaining to location, store hours, business owner name, pictures, and site link.
Utilize Delivery Companies/Mobile Food Ordering
Nowadays, ordering food comes down to how convenient it is. The less time customers spend waiting for food, the better. Delivery services are becoming more popular because it takes away the pain of actually traveling to a location and ordering. It has a small service fee but companies like Seamless and GrubHubb are booming in big cities such as New York.
Companies to consider: Seamless, Eat24, Tapingo
Post Consistently But At Good Times
This one should be obvious. Don’t post too early in the morning or too late at night when you expect your target audience to see your posts in the late afternoon. Keep your page alive by posting good content and consistently attracting new people to your page. If this is difficult for you (say your restaurant is busiest at that time) then look into sites that allow you to time your posts and plan those ahead of time.
Cut Down Your Menu
Have you noticed that a lot of successful restaurants only have around five to ten things on their menu? For example, take Chik-fil-a, In-N-Out, and Raising Cane’s. By focusing your attention on a few items you can cut down on food spoilage and streamline business operations. It is also great for branding your company because your customers will remember you by your products.
Host A Contest Over A Social Media Platform
Choose the social media platform that gets the most traffic and use it to promote your business by holding a contest. You can have customers post their favorite dish or experience at your restaurant and give away gift cards to your store. By hosting contests, you are showing customers that you want to give back to them and are thanking them for their support. You can also double this contest as a way to get more traffic to your site. For example, as part of the competition, you could have contestants send in photos and like your page as part of their “entrance fee”. Many companies use this method as an easy way to get more likes and followers to their page.
Have A Loyalty Program
You can choose between an online app or punch out cards but either one works. By giving customers an incentive to come back and have a tangible goal of, say, 10 visits, you are creating brand loyalty. These programs demonstrate to the customer that you value their patronage and want to reward those who keep coming back. Some online apps you could consider are FiveStars and LevelUp.
Have Food Addict Photos
Social media is dominated by people telling their friends where they’ve eaten by posting photos of their food. The more attractive the food, the more likely their friends will be impressed and want to go there. Easy marketing but easier said than done. First off, you must have a product that is visually appealing. Consider hiring a photography professional to take beautiful photos of your food that will make any viewer want to eat the plate off their computer screen. Before you know it, customers will be flocking to your store to take their own versions of the food you create.
Get On The Instagram Craze
As a restaurant owner, you are in a prime position to take advantage of Instagram. As one of the top-used apps in the U.S., you can be assured that your business will be seen (if you know what to do) by food lovers out there. Going along with what was written above about taking visually appealing food photos, use Instagram to promote your best content. Cater to your audience. If you are a health-conscious company, you could post pictures of organic food and healthy exercise. Also, you could consider the use of a unique hashtag or participate in popular hashtags such as #ThrowbackThursday.