It’s like a magic spell from a Disney movie. If you could get that couple on the street to take just one sip of your signature ramen you know they’d be captured forever as loyal customers. It can seem like a long way from the sidewalk to your best table, however.
What customers really want from a small restaurant, though, is you, your vision, and your understanding of flavor. Which is great because that’s what your entire business is probably built on – you.
So, when you’re looking longingly at that undernourished couple outside, try and explain in a sentence, an image, or just a word what it is you have to offer them.
That’s what small restaurant promotion is about, explaining the experience that lies within your shopfront. To show you how, we’ve come up with a list of our top 5 small restaurant promotion ideas.
Top 5 Small Restaurant Promotion Ideas
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for small restaurant promotion. Each restaurant has an unique brand and identity, and will take a somewhat different path towards building lasting relationships with customers. Most restaurants use a blend of strategies, each focused on honestly connecting with diners in their area. Here are some of our favorite promotional ideas that we’ve seen restaurants use to connect with your future customers:
Share Your Unique Passion
Think about what it is that inspires you to run a small restaurant, and then try and convey that passion and vision to your customers. Are you interested in creating intimate experiences, family environments, gourmet dining, or bringing a new taste combination to wider attention?
If you rely on people’s preconceived ideas of a certain cuisines or settings, you’ll blend into the crowd and disappear from the street. Instead, share your passion and tell your customers exactly what to expect, and exactly who you are.
Become Part of Your Neighborhood
The front line of your clientele will be drawn from your location, at last until you build a reputation that transcends the streets. Find a connection with your locality and give customers a reason to associate you with your surroundings.
If you’re located in a busy business quarter, then promote speed, professionalism, or modern tastes; if you’re in a residential area then get involved with local festivals, holidays, or cultural heritage; and if you’re the new eatery on the block, offer loyalty discounts and incentives to anyone who can prove they live nearby.
You only get one Grand Opening bounce, but every time a new potential customer comes across your restaurant you get a shot at a first impression. Don’t be afraid to try and inspire the excitement of “the new” at every possible turn.
You can promote new menu items, new online ordering options, new sources of your quality produce, new entertainment, or new decor… anything that suggests your restaurant is filled with ideas and experiences.
Offer an Experience, Not a Cheap Meal
The reason those annoying ads that offer “crazy” discounts and “slashed” prices sound so disingenuous is they’re selling out the quality of their goods. You are always better off being specific about what you’re offering your customers, and why the offer makes sense. Two-for-one deals, free appetizers, and loyalty discounts don’t make a clear connection with the quality of food you’re producing or the ambience of your dining experience.
You may be better served offering themed experiences, or tying your menu to lessons on how to combine and explore flavour, rather than just offering customers cheap meals.
Establish an Online Presence
Research has shown that more than 50% of frequent diners make restaurant reservations online. Creating a personal website gives you an anytime connection to your customers, and lets you show off your menu and a little of your establishment’s unique personality.
A digital connection also creates the chance to open up take away or home delivered revenue streams or smooth your prep by having people book specific tables, menu variations, or entire banquets before they ever arrive.
You don’t have to be an IT wizard to do it either. Many point of sale hardware arrangements now include customisable web portals as standard.
In fact, all your best ideas need to be backed by practical solutions that can effectively, and securely, bring them to life. The point of sale register in the middle of your service flow is the perfect place to turn your new promotions into satisfied customers… and a more efficient restaurant.
Run Your Restaurant Your Way
Your vision may be your most important asset in building a loyal clientele, but your ideas can only go as far as your business tools will allow. A digital solution to your point of sale needs can give you the flexibility, options, and power to run your restaurant the way you know it works best.
The amount of payment options alone currently used by your would-be customers demands an upgrade to your front-of-house register. Each person has their preferred form of payment, be it based on security or convenience, and it takes a dynamic setup to accommodate all their contactless, cardless, mobile, and one-touch options.
Then there’s the need to accurately account for all those specials, holiday deals, menu variations, and personal discounts within your inventory system. A digital solution can pair your live sales with a running catalogue of your perishable stock and even automate your purchase orders to make sure you’re never caught serving the last mousse.
Perhaps most importantly, however, a digital POS system can give you an insight into how your small restaurant promotion ideas are working. You can track orders and covers across days, weeks, and months to find out for sure if your latest efforts are having a positive impact on your bottom line. You could also use such a system to analyse the flow of communication across the floor, or the effectiveness of your internal workflows.
Modern digital restaurant solutions give you the power to put any promotional idea you can conceive into practical operation.
The highly flexible point of sale systems designed by talech give you full control over your restaurant. From on-the-fly table and menu variations through to back-of-house purchase orders and staff management, talech gives you the power to run your business better. Sign up for a demo and create the restaurant you’ve always wanted.