When you’re a new restaurant owner, getting found is half the battle. The restaurant industry is already competitive, and it’s becoming even more competitive with the rise of sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. Knowing how to reach customers is important for succeeding in the restaurant business. How can customers find you? How can you help customers find you? These 4 tips can help you learn how to put yourself in a position to be found by potential customers.
1. Local SEO & Internet Marketing. Even if your restaurant doesn’t yet have an official website, you can still rank in local search. If you set up a Google+ Local page, you can use local SEO to help customers find you even without a website. Your local SEO efforts could also benefit from a few customer testimonials on other sites that contain links back to your page. You should also set up profiles and claim your business listings on sites like Yelp and CitySearch. Be sure that you have customers leave you favorable reviews on all sites where you claim your business listing. Reach out to regular customers that know and love your restaurant and ask them if they would mind writing you a good review. Claim your listing on additional local directories including Facebook Business pages, Best of the Web Local and Merchant Circle. Reach out to local newspapers, blogs and organizations to see if they’re willing to link to your restaurant website or Google+ Local page online. You can even publish a press release about your restaurant’s latest events and ask newspapers to run the release with a link back to your page.
2. Promote Deals & Discounts. Potential customers will likely be more willing to try out a new restaurant if they have a killer deal or discount that makes it worth their while. Offer deals on sites and apps like Groupon, LivingSocial, Amazon Local, Plum District, Scout Mob and more. The deal or discount should be well worth the customer’s time, but you have to remember that you need to make money as well. Offer a discount on your most popular dish or dessert – something that doesn’t cost you much to make, but that will keep customers coming back.
3. Direct Mail & Flyers. If your restaurant is close to an office park or residential area, you should consider advertising with direct mail and flyers. Offer a deal or discount to any customer that brings in the flyer or have your coupons put in mail circulation coupon packages. Be sure to include contact information for your business both through phone or email and include your social media, Google+ Local listing and other local listings as well.
4. Community Fundraisers & Involvement. A good way to get word out in your community is to get involved. Host a fundraiser to benefit your favorite local charity and be sure it’s a cause that you care about, are connected to personally or have a passion for. For a simpler fundraiser, you could choose to donate a certain amount of your profits for the night to the charity. Or you can host a bigger event with donations and raffle prizes. Offer food from your restaurant at the event and be sure to promote yourself as the event’s host.
Getting found as a new local restaurant can be hard. Even if you can just reach a few initial customers with these 4 simple tips, you can hope to turn those early customers into regulars. Word of mouth is really the best way to get new customers, and your regulars will be more than happy to spread the word about your restaurant to friends and family.
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