It’s a classic scenario: Midweek, late afternoon – sometime between 4 and 6- the perfect time for your coffee shop to be bustling, but unfortunately–the tables are empty, the morning regulars are gone, and your staff is getting antsy. Fear not, every business has it’s own formula for success, and it’s own patterns of traffic. The key is figuring out what works best for you and your customers. Though this takes time, as industry standards evolve, more opportunities arise for creating unique strategies to boost your business. Long gone are the days of three square meals a day. Due to changing patterns, the move towards all-day snacking and lighter fare is shaping how and when we eat. As a result, off-peak hours in the industry continue to grow.
The greatest off-peak opportunity means turning the tables and rethinking service and offers during the late afternoon, especially during Happy Hour. This window offers consumers a chance to dine out while remaining budget-conscious. Happy Hour-only menus traditionally include classic menu items but priced to draw the customer in. Consider happy hour pricing, discount specials like 2 for one drinks, or free re-refills for customers that came in earlier for their morning cup.
Start at the source
Find out what you can do to make these off-peak times more convenient and enjoyable for your regular customers.
To grow your restaurant sales, you need to come up with unique restaurant marketing ideas to make your restaurant stand above the rest. These unique marketing ideas need to cover a range of marketing distribution channels; these channels are how you, like the restaurant or cafe owner, will attract your customers to dine with you.
In your restaurant marketing idea efforts, you will need to ensure that you have multiple customers coming from multiple marketing ideas and strategies. In effect, you will then not rely on one source.
Who knows how insight from across the counter could change the way you do business. It’s important to identify your customers and cater to their needs. Assess what you can do to improve marketing strategies and take notes of customer feedback.
Don’t forget the importance of technology
Competition is fierce in the restaurant industry in today’s economy as restaurant owners are finding it more and more difficult to fill their tables on a nightly basis.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what the cuisine is or the posh nature of the establishment: the recession has hit this industry hard, to the point where just about every restaurant is scrambling for ways to effectively market themselves in unique manners.
Forget about traditional marketing – studies upon studies show that using technology to market your restaurant is more effective than other traditional forms of promotion in today’s world. The beauty of technology is that you can effectively utilize various platforms to build an opt-in database of strong and targeted prospective customers much easier than regular print media plus, it’s more cost-effective.
In addition to Marketing with technology, you could use simple technological elements to boost customers at your restaurant. The fact is, more and more people consider their coffee shop their home office. This presents a big opportunity to attract new and repeat business. Check-in with your customers and register their needs. Make sure your password is displayed properly and that your social media pages are prominent. Many customers scrutinize WiFi speeds and often frequent businesses with faster connections. Don’t miss the mark when it comes to the need for speed.
Do your research
Don’t rationalize cutting back on your marketing because you may think, “People know about us so I can afford to cut back,” or “People are not buying as much so I should cut back too.” The statements mentioned above may appear to be perfectly logical, but looks can be deceiving. This is the exact time when you analyze your completion, reevaluate, and market more. Why? Because others will stop marketing, and yours will stand out! Make sense?
Successful business owners recognize that this is not the time to cut back on their marketing. Why? These owners understand the importance of being part of their customer’s mindset.
So how does a small restaurant accomplish this?
First, you need market research to find out where your brand currently resides in the minds of your customers (if you are just starting market research will enable you to identify needs that are not currently being met).
You then take the information obtained from market research and start promoting your products and services. The more frequently you market your products and services, the more you become a part of your target market’s mind.
Is there a café across town with an unbeatable lunch special? If you’re not bringing in the business that you’d like, find out how to target those visitors by tracking their behavior.
Consider who it is that makes up the audience that you’d like to attract, where they already are, and how to bring them in as your new guests. Are they sitting in office buildings and universities, or are they busy commuters? Innovative ideas will serve you better than simply handing out discounts.
Marketing is a critical element that, if adopted properly, will help you to get more and more customers into an hour restaurant. So, you should do sufficient research to know how to make your product and services acceptable to customers.
Only when you know these details, you will be able to evolve a plan to succeed in making these people buy from you. But, this plan should be cost-efficient, and your business should be able to afford it.
Marketing research helps you to understand the buying habit and behavior of customers. Since the customer behavior and buying habits keep changing according to the trends in fashion and innovations that take place all around, your marketing research should be undertaken continuously. The crux of the matter is that you should be able to influence the decisions of potential customers.
Make sure all of your marketing materials are clear, short, and easy to understand. Your potential guests need to understand and figure out what you offer. Highlight your off-peak activities via your Web site, email newsletter, and table-tents, or buy advertising or sponsored space.
Building an off-peak customer base takes time, effort, and patience. Accommodate your customers with the right food choices according to their schedules, budgets, preferences, and lifestyles. Step up your marketing and publicity efforts. Build awareness and word-of-mouth through your website, your menus, and social media. Above all, give it time, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.