Looking for smart sales tips for restaurants or coffee shops? This article can give you the right pointers and most of it is immediately actionable.
Running a restaurant or a coffee shop is a passionate business. When we dine out and have a great meal, we immediately start thinking that we should start such a restaurant in the future. When the experience is not so great when we dine out, we think the same thing.
Starting a restaurant or cafe is even projected as a peaceful retirement goal.
Even after pulling out death-defying stunts and heists, the lead stars pick a beach, put up a cool shack and start leading a peaceful life by the end of the movie.
But the real business owners know it’s not a peaceful way out. Let’s look at some smart ways to increase your customers when you start your business.
Sales Tips for Restaurants and Cafes
1. Prepare to Serve a Social Customer
A majority of the consumers take pictures of the food as soon as it is served on the table. It may be for posting on Instagram, sending to their loved ones back home or just to annoy a friend who missed out or to post the picture on Zomato (if you are lucky).
This means the food that you serve apart from tasting great has to look great too.
Incentivise this habit by offering a small discount to the people who check-in on Facebook. This also requires your restaurant to have a neat Facebook presence.
Make it easier for the audience to find you on Facebook by having a small and cute standee on the table which carries your social handles. This can also carry the discount information.
If the food is presented in a creative manner, even the not-so-active photographers might pick up their phones to snap a picture and share. The dine-out is more than just great food, it includes giving the customers a great experience.
2. Collect Customer Data
Feedback is crucial to improving and when you are collecting the feedback, also try collecting their contact details and important days of their life like birthday and wedding anniversary.
This helps you to automate emails and text messages to the customer with a tailormade offer before their special day and also wish them on that day. They might either drop in as you have made a tailormade offer on their special day or get reminded of your wishes the next time they plan to dine out or even recommend you highly in their circles.
It’s always a win for you.
3. Engage your Customers
When you are engaged in an activity, the wait time for the food seems less boring. Whether it is having crosswords or sudokus on paper placemats or placing board games on the table, it will make the wait a lot less boring.
If you can bring back a game from their past and take them on a nostalgic trip, you will gain a lot of positive word of mouth for your efforts.
The good thing about nostalgia is that people will definitely share it everywhere
4. Create your Signature Dish
Having a signature dish which tastes the best at your place in the neighborhood or your city can increase the number of footfalls as you start gaining a positive word of mouth.
It also helps a lot in positioning. You can analyze your customer orders and understand their favorite and work on making it better or you can come up with your own signature offering.
All it takes is one signature dish to get the customers to your door and then based on their experience, they will come back for more
Apart from the signature dish, you can also choose to experiment with menus like combos to understand and retain what works and discard the rest.
Think of your favorite restaurants and how you came to know about them.
5. Create a Ritual
This is big brand stuff, no doubt. But if you are cool enough to create a ritual for your customers, it goes a long way. Brands have constantly taken steps to carry forward the rituals associated with them.
Take the example of Oreo’s Twist, Lick, and Dunk or our favorite Kit Kat that constantly shows how it has to be consumed.
It can be as simple as presenting the bill in a creative way or your crew doing a happy birthday performance for the customer who is there on his birthday or the way you deliver the online orders. This is a clear differentiator.
6. Use Photo Props
Do you have a place or a corner in the restaurant that you can specially allocate for pictures? Make it colorful, aesthetic, add photo props and observe how busy the place can get.
Selfies are great but there is a reason why the cameras at the back of the smartphones have more firepower. Populate the place with props that carry your branding subtly and this will increase your brand visibility on social media.
7. Make use of Native Advertising
If your restaurant/cafe has a good ambiance, you might be approached by students or professionals who want to do a photo shoot or a song or a sequence in their short film.
It’s hard to predict which ones can go viral and it is definitely a great way to promote your space to your target audience for free.
You can work with them to make sure your brand is aptly captured in the shot and they will happily oblige. Most of them give a shout out to all their partners when they launch their project and they will also add your links to the description on request.
Interested in reading more about Native Advertising, click here.
8. Collaborate with Communities
In every city, there are multiple meetups pertaining to different organizations. You can be a guest at these meetups and you can invite them to do a special meet or a get-together at your space by offering a discounted deal.
The decision is theirs but when they think of a meeting outside their regular venue, you will be on their radar.
If 15 members visit your space and even if you work out a discounted deal, your place will be frequented by some of the members after that with their families or friends outside that organization if they had a pleasurable experience.
Life time value of a customer is very high when it comes to restaurants and cafes
9. Collaborate with Bloggers
We are always driven by social recommendations. When a movie critic we adore recommends a movie, we prefer to watch that movie for the weekend instead of many others.
The same goes for Food Bloggers. They have their own following and their reviews are definitely followed by many who are looking to find their next dine out place.
Here is a quick checklist
- Identify the food bloggers or Foodies of your city through Facebook, Google, and Zomato.
- Reach out to them and invite them – Keep it informal and friendly.
- Be authentic and host them like you would host a customer.
- Collect Feedback.
- Take permission and document their experiences through a video or a photo series.
10. Influencer Marketing
If you fulfill online orders, influencer marketing is definitely a smart growth hack. Identify the influencers or micro-influencers in the city, follow their posts and check the engagement, reach out to them through their contact channels or get introduced to them through mutual connections and check with them on their pricing for sponsored posts.
Once you have agreed upon the pricing, draft a clear agreement with specific details of the engagement. You can decide on the date and time of the post, the duration your URL should be in their bio and the usage rights of their selfie or picture after they have posted.
When it comes to pricing, it differs from one influencer to another. It is important to reach a win-win and you can also check with them on the stats of their previous sponsored posts to get an idea of the reach you can expect.
After building a good relationship, you can always surprise them by sending something they would love and they will return the favor by posting about it.
11. Partner with Events
This is a growth hack used by many in the industry to get the name out. Partnering with event organizers to set up a stall or a point of sale can help in increasing the brand visibility.
If you are a cafe and you are introducing a new drink on the menu, you can collect feedback and increase your brand recognition by offering the same for free to the members or at a subsidized bundle price to the event organizers.
You can also provide gift coupons to the audience with discounted offers when they visit your cafe or restaurant. Again, getting their feet on your door is the first and important step.
You can decide the acquisition cost of a customer and work on beating that through LTV
12. Encourage Local Talent
Whether it’s giving an opportunity to upcoming school bands to play on a Saturday night or providing a venue and platform for an open mic night, you can support the local talent and entertain your audience at the same time.
When you do this right, you can chart out a plan and make it a monthly or a bi-weekly routine. Eventually, people will start associating your restaurant with the events.
When you have a party hall which goes unused most of the time, you can play host to various events which will increase your visibility as well as the revenue.
Most of the points mentioned above are immediately actionable. If you would like to share more sales tips for restaurants and cafes, please add the same in the comments.