Today, I’m going to take you through our three pillar strategy for restaurants and explain how it works to bring customers in, grow a customer base and keep customers coming back! This is one of the most important parts of running a restaurant marketing campaign online that can deliver scalable results and benefit your adverts.

One of the biggest problems for restaurant owners face with advertising is that they rely on the initial investment and don’t end up following through to secure their customers. Our main aim is to grow restaurant audiences using a simple strategy.

Attract, Retain, Build

Attract: In this phase, we run a marketing campaign utilizing adverts to bring in an audience. You can do this relatively easily yourself as I mention in my blog on reaching restaurant visitors using Facebook. In short, you run a campaign designed to bring likes in to your Facebook page, rather than working with a specific focus. The more engagement you get on social media and the better and the larger your following, the more people have a chance to see and engage with your posts. This can lead to high engagement posts reaching a huge audience, so you can focus the page on deals and offers. It’s important however that your adverts should be focused on getting you an audience in to see the posts you make. Once you have the audience, you will start to get people tagging each other in your posts and you should see an increase in traffic to the restaurant.

Retain: This phase is all about keeping people coming back. If you provide high quality products and exceptional customer service, people will come back time and again and become regular customers. Poor service and quality can lead to losing people, and this is something we cannot allow to happen. The better the quality you offer, the more people you will retain, and the more likely it will be that you get better reviews on social media, more likes, shares, and traffic. Our aim with this stage is to keep people coming back. If customers leave you a bad review or complaint, you should deal with it cordially, and be friendly with them. I wrote a blog with a few tips for dealing with angry customers a while back. It’s hard, especially in the restaurant, but it should help with problems both in restaurant and on social media. A calm and friendly approach is usually enough to solve problems and there are many ways of making it up with customers if they have a genuine complaint.

Build: As soon as you start advertising and likes start coming in, you’re already on the first step. Customer retention on social media is not the only way to help retain an audience. This is where you start building ways to connect to your audience. Facebook, as with every social media platform is a channel that you can use to reach your audience. But it doesn’t have to stop there. Now you can start building databases of customer information to offer deals, send information and more! The more channels you can create for your audience to see you, the better. If you acquire customer details, such as phone numbers, you can run text marketing campaigns. Texts, like social media messages have a high open rate. We currently run text marketing campaigns specially designed for restaurants. It is important to ensure that you are GDPR compliant so never acquire details from customers without consent. Whilst email marketing is nowhere as successful as it once was, creating an email list can still help you reach your audience online when you want to reach out to them with offers, so it’s not a bad idea to also get customer emails if and where possible. At Grow Your Restaurant we have numerous strategies we use to build customer databases and increase the channels you can use to reach your customers. One of the most popular is our VIP club, that allows us to market to everyone who joins. We can then scale easily and effectively without burning too much money!

Acquiring Customer Details

This is always the hard part! The most successful strategy comes from the age old quote: “You have to spend money to make money!” But works better with the ideology: “You have to sacrifice profit to ensure profit.” You can offer a ‘bribe’ to customers to sign up, be it free drinks with their meal, or discounts that will keep them coming back. (Our VIP Club works exceptionally well with the offer of discounts for the VIPs so we rarely have to offer an initial bribe!) Once you start getting phone numbers, emails, or get a system in place like our VIP club, you can send out offers to your customers and keep them up to date on special events you’re running.

Whilst it can seem like you are sacrificing profit by bringing people in using this kind of technique, it’s important to accept that you’re only sacrificing profit because people are coming in and claiming offers and special deals, which means that they are coming in because of the system you are setting up. Otherwise it can’t be guaranteed that they would have come in.  You can set these deals to specific days of the week when business is normally much slower than Friday and Saturday nights to ensure you’re not choking yourself. Pick days that are usually slow to run your special offers!

It’s important to remember that marketing and advertising are important for restaurants, and you need to keep the flow constant, so don’t stop when you are fully booked every night, keep expanding your audience and reaching out to new customers!

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