While it may seem as if your customer base is constantly being inundated with offers for five dollar footlongs, burgers, and pizzas from chain restaurants, according to the National Restaurant Association, seven out of 10 restaurants are single unit operations. This means that the "big box" corporations represent only three of every ten restaurants. That's good news for you as a small, independently owned and operated family restaurant. But while the competition may not be as stiff as you might have imagined with corporations, you do still have to compete with other restaurants for your share of a local piece of the pie. Here are three easy ways you can market your establishment successively and inexpensively.
Use Social Media
You may not be able to afford expensive television commercials or strategically placed billboards touting your latest special, but you have something even better- Facebook. People used to turn to those yellow pages, but phone books are largely a thing of the past. If you don't have a strong social media presence, chances are you are losing customers. Your business page should be updated every day with your specials, featured items, and other items, such as a special holiday menu. Your menu should occupy the pinned post spot at the top of the page, always conveniently available to help customers see what you offer.
Create An Active Presence On Review Sites
More and more, satisfied and dissatisfied customers alike are sharing their opinion of your establishment with the world on sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp. Visit these sites at least weekly, reviewing what recent customers' impressions were. Take the opportunity to share your attitude of gratitude with those who were thrilled as well as address any concerns that those who were less-than-satisfied shared. You can also encourage customers who leave stellar reviews to come back by giving them a free thank you dessert at their next visit. Potential and existing customers like to see that you take their opinions seriously. Build Your Customer Base With A Database
The corporate restaurants collect any data from their customers that they are willing to give, such as name, birthdate, and email addresses. Armed with this information, you can send out emails informing them of menu specials, special offers, and loyal customer rewards. Create a personal relationship with every customer, and they will be more likely to feel connected to you rather than the big chains. Encourage your servers to actively procure whatever information they can as well. Contact a business, such as Buffalo Phil's Pizza & Grille, for more information.
As a busy restaurant owner, it isn't always easy to know how to resolve problems. You might have employees that just don't work as hard as they need to or cooks who don't quite understand what you expect in terms of quality. However, this blog is here to help you to know how to hone your operation into a well-oiled machine. Read these articles to learn more about potential problems, the risks your restaurant faces, and ways to keep people from slacking off on the clock. You never know, it might save your business or keep your employees on point.