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Creative Ways to Attract New Clientele for Your Restaurant | Superorder

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March 15, 2024

How to Attract New Restaurant Customers: Creative Ideas to Bring in More Business

The success of a restaurant hinges on more than just a loyal customer base. The restaurant industry is fiercely competitive, more so now than ever before. New dining establishments, delivery-only cloud kitchens and innovative concept restaurants continue to pop up nationwide. While more options are always great for diners, it creates even more pressure for restaurant owners like you to attract new clientele.

Traditional advertising and word-of-mouth praise aren't enough to elevate your brand. To boost your business and grow, you'll need to think outside the box to bring in hungry customers and expand your customer base! In this blog, we'll review several ideas worth exploring to get your creative juices flowing and inspire your growth strategy.

Importance of Attracting New Clientele

Before we get into good ideas, let's discuss why attracting new customers should be a top priority. Every restaurateur works hard to earn and keep happy customers. But you should never rest on your laurels!

Complacency is a killer in the restaurant industry. With so many rivals vying for the same customers you are. Failing to innovate and grow your business can quickly leave you in the dust. The latest estimates say that a staggering 60 percent of restaurants fail after their first year!

While many factors can contribute to the untimely shuttering of a restaurant business, you can bet that failing to bring in new clientele plays a big part in that equation. Expanding your customer base is your ticket to continued success.

Consumer tastes can change faster than the wind, and what's hot now may not be tomorrow. To succeed and help your business reach its full potential over the long term, you must prioritize your marketing efforts and overall visibility to new potential customers.

1. Host Themed Events

It doesn't matter what type of restaurant you run or what food you serve. Turning your establishment into a place people want to spend time in can make all the difference. One way to do that is by throwing themed events!

Special occasions transform your restaurant into a social hotspot. They make dining out more fun and exciting. Plus, they give your loyal customer base something new to look forward to. It's a one-two punch of marketing buzz. Events will attract new people who want to see what all the excitement is about, while your existing customers can revel in new experiences.

Consider hosting themed nights once a month or every few weeks. Start small and get creative! Some of the easiest special events you can throw are parties or holiday-themed spectaculars. But the possibilities are endless here.

Try doing something for the community. For example, you can have events based on local traditions, sports teams, birthdays for celebrated individuals, etc. Community-based events are an excellent way to rally a crowd and make your restaurant the talk of the town.

But don't stop there. You can also host unique concept events. Why night throws a fun "Nineties Night" or "Pirate Party." Guests can dress up, you can hire live music and your cooks can modify your menu for the night to show off your team's culinary prowess. You could even center your events around great food. Who doesn't love a memorable "Taco Tuesday" or "Free Dessert Friday?"

These events can take time and resources to plan, but the benefits are well worth it. Make these shindigs a regular occurrence, and you'll gain new customers eager to return for more fun, the best food and even more great memories.

2. Offer Special Deals and Promotions

Another great idea is to offer deals and special promotions. Let's face it: Most people can't pass up a fabulous deal! Customers who believe they're getting a terrific value are more likely to return. Plus, it makes them feel important and valued as a customer.

You can use special offers and promotions to turn one-off customers into loyal supporters of your business. Like hosted events, there's plenty of room to get creative.

One simple idea is to do a "Buy More, Save More" or "Buy One, Get One Free" promotion. Advertise the deal well in advance, and you'll be busy when your front doors open!

You can also offer discounts on specific menu items or provide a great deal for delivery to a certain area. See what customers like and experiment with special offers to determine what sticks. Don't hesitate to switch things up. Limited-time offers are a fantastic way to get people in the door while giving them something to look forward to in the future.

3. Collaborate with Local Businesses

Not all businesses in your area are your rivals! In many cases, collaborating with local businesses has a major impact on your restaurant's visibility. What better way to spread the word than to take advantage of the success of a nearby business?

There are countless ways you can collaborate. Simple cross-promotion is one of the simplest options that won't cost you much. Say there's a nearby gym within walking distance of your restaurant. You could give the gym's members a discount at your restaurant and vice versa.

An arrangement like that would allow you and your collaborator to exchange customers. Everyone wins!

Another option is to provide discounts to employees. Discounts are a great choice if your restaurant is near a busy shopping center. Enticing employees to dine at your establishment more often with a discount can lead to an uptick in word-of-mouth referrals and more steady business.

Of course, you don't have to stop there. You can use your food to collaborate with local businesses, too. Offer to cater to a neighboring company's next event or business meeting. Or, work with local food producers to source your ingredients.

Whatever you choose to do, make those collaborations well known. Doing so could make your restaurant a major figure in your local community, leading to even more exposure.

4. Enhance Your Online Presence

You can't deny the power of a huge online presence. We live in a connected world; people frequently discover businesses to support through social media and web searches. You're missing out if you're not working hard to generate a strong online presence!

The good news is that it's easier than ever to get started. All you need to do is head to one of the many social media sites and create an account. Ideally, you want to be on all the major social media sites. That includes Instagram, X, TikTok, etc. The more exposure you have, the better.

Once you have your accounts open, start producing content and be consistent. Hop onto all the viral trends and get creative with what you publish on your social media platforms. Create content that's fun, memorable and representative of your brand. Then, encourage your customers to follow you. Consider putting up signage in your restaurant or providing links to all your social media channels on your online ordering platform or mobile apps.

Don't stop with social media. While social media marketing can greatly impact your online presence, you should also focus on other forms of digital marketing. Create a website, invest in search engine optimization (SEO) and produce high-value content that people want to see. Try launching a blog and creating a digital space to announce events, new dishes and more.

It's also important to optimize your website and business for local searches. Make it easy for hungry diners to find your location and learn more about your restaurant.

Establishing a strong online presence is not something you can do overnight. However, staying vigilant about your online strategies can lead to amazing results over the long haul as you continue to attract new customers.

5. Engage with the Community

Earlier, we discussed how hosting themed events and collaborating with local businesses can significantly improve your standing within the community. Being a figurehead business in your area can attract new clientele while making your loyal patrons' support even more ironclad. While the techniques we discussed are powerful, there's a lot more you can do to engage with the community.

One idea is to donate funds to local organizations. For instance, you can contribute funds to a local school or sports team. Or, you can sponsor a major event. This level of involvement is an investment, but it's the best way to get your restaurant's name out there while showing the community your business is here to stay.

If donations aren't possible, you can get involved in other ways. Try hosting fundraisers and having a presence at local events. The key is to be present and involved. Don't treat your community as a source of revenue. Approach these efforts like you're a part of the community because you ultimately are.

The goal here is to build goodwill. People are more likely to support businesses that are active in the community. A sense of local pride can dramatically increase brand awareness and create a steady stream of new customers.

6. Showcase Your Unique Selling Points

What makes your restaurant special? What is it that sets your establishment apart from some of your competitors? Figure that out and showcase it at every opportunity!

Diners love to support restaurants with something special to offer. That could be a unique menu, a world-class chef whipping up meals in the back or a one-of-a-kind ambiance. Anything that sets a restaurant apart from the crowd is a big reason to try it in the eyes of potential customers.

Prioritize your unique selling points in your marketing strategy and social media presence. Look at what popular restaurants on social media are doing. You'll find that they don't focus exclusively on advertised menu prices or promotions.

Instead, a big chunk of their content showcases what makes the restaurant special. Many will even repost user-generated content from loyal customers to drive the point home. You can do the same!

Make a habit of highlighting those unique touches that make your restaurant a cut above the rest. Aim to show possible patrons what they're missing. You want to make those unique selling points front and center to entice new clientele to give your restaurant a shot.

If you're struggling to pinpoint those distinctive selling propositions, create them! It's important to find your niche. There's no need to get crazy or think too outside the box. Innovation is always good, but your selling points should be practical and desired by the masses.

You can emphasize things like the quality of food you offer, signature dishes customers can't get anywhere else, a distinct flare that all your dishes carry, new technologies you implement in your business, sustainability practices your restaurant lives by, etc. Zero in on those value propositions and make them an integral part of your marketing and branding.

7. Implement Creative Marketing Campaigns

You can't go wrong with a traditional marketing plan. Local advertisements, discounts, email marketing and promotion on social media go a long way. But you'll need to inspire with creative marketing campaigns to stand out.

The beauty of the restaurant industry is that there are few rules you need to abide by. You're selling great food and an experience! Therefore, there's ample room to get creative and develop a campaign that puts all eyes on your restaurant.

You could pair up with influencers to spread the word online and dramatically expand your reach to a wider audience. It's a great way to get your restaurant's name into the stratosphere while tapping into a huge following. Or, you can devise fun events. Try throwing competitions that reward free food, gift cards and fun prizes. Turning your marketing efforts into a spectacle can elevate your brand into more than just a business with the best food!

Another option is to develop a special, limited-time dish. Many restaurants are also starting loyalty programs offering discounts, free food and recognition.

Your restaurant's marketing plan doesn't have to be stale. This industry is ripe with creative opportunities, so break new ground to implement fun, memorable and attention-grabbing campaigns.

Get Started With Superorder Today

Attracting new clientele is crucial to your restaurant's long-term success. There are a lot of people looking for great food. The trick is finding new, innovative and effective ways to bring them your way. Even if you think you've done all you can, there's always room to push further.

Experiment with your marketing, find ways to get involved with your community and develop campaigns outside the bubble of traditional marketing. Every effort to increase your restaurant's brand awareness can lead to more happy customers and a bigger bottom line!

When you're ready to take your restaurant to new heights, check out Superorder. Superorder is a game-changing restaurant management platform that can supersize efficiency, streamline operations, improve the customer experience and more. Reach out today to get started!

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