It is incredible how fast things change as time passes. In this regard, recent developments in the restaurant industry are especially exciting. While the marketing of a restaurant or café is not rocket science, things have dramatically changed over time. Indeed, what worked excellently just a few months ago may not work at all today.
In these challenging circumstances, it can be quite a struggle trying to attract new customers to your café. What with the vibrant social media, ever-increasing competition, and the rise of modern technology that, at the touch of a button, can take new businesses literally into the hands of millions of prospective customers?
As enterprising café owners, what can we do to ensure we remain on top of the game? Below is a small practical list of ideas that every restaurant, whether big or small, can use to generate buzz and attract new customers to their establishment throughout the year.
1. Get creative: tell your story using videos and photos
It won’t be long before the vast majority of internet content becomes nothing but video. There isn’t a better way to generate a big buzz around your cafe business for your customers than making an enticing video. Such a venture does not have to cost the earth. You can do this using limited resources. Even a shoestring budget will work. Just ensure to contract a professional videographer to do the job for you. This guarantees that you get a well-edited, high-quality video to tell your story.
Have you thought about it? People visit your café to eat. They certainly want the food whenever they walk in. Why, then, should you not have some great photos of the food offered in your café captured on camera?
As a first step, invest some cash in buying a decent camera. Bring your long- forsaken photography skills to life. If necessary, get a food photography professional to take some sharp, memorable photos. Once ready, splash these gorgeous images all over your website, advertisement, and social media pages. Hopefully, this will get hordes of prospective customers craving for the food offered and visiting your café. What will follow, in the next days or weeks, is anyone’s guess.
Tell your story through building your own brand. Check out “6 Coffee Shop Branding Tips” for branding tips for your cafe.
2. Install free Wi-Fi, use a smartphone
Wi-Fi has become increasingly important in the modern world. It is often a necessity for most customers who visit cafes. Research shows that many people who frequent eateries often decide on the café they are going to visit based on the availability or unavailability of Wi-Fi in the place. Consider that your customers will want to socialize or work online while visiting your establishment. Give them the incentive to return to your café by installing Wi-Fi facilities.
Further, always keep a smartphone in your kitchen. This is a worthy investment for your cafe. Get your chefs and other staff to upload pictures to your social media accounts and website regularly. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. It can be done easily and quickly. The upload should be done in real-time. Your customers want to see what is happening live. They want great pictures. Happily, as noted, images are a straightforward form of content to post online. Anyone can post them. Doing this can generate buzz to attract new customers to your restaurant. It makes the customers get actively engaged with your café.
3. Keep a simple website
Most restaurant websites are poorly structured. Keep your website simple. It is not necessary to manage a fancy site. Why? Most of the time, the features do not work on mobile devices. Yet the majority of your customers will likely carry a mobile device. Moreover, there is no need for background music since it adds little value. Most restaurant websites usually have such distractions. Feature the things that people sorely want. These include your contact info, menu, location, and opening hours. Make sure these are easily visible.
It is also imperative to optimize your restaurant website for local internet search. These days, who does not use the internet to do this? Most people search diligently to find places to eat out. When visiting, they expect to see a ready form for ordering online. Make sure to optimize your cafe for local search. Unless you do this, your website will be deeply buried in the massive list of competitors.
The online ordering arrangement is particularly important. Think of it: How many people get time to eat out regularly? Few. You can arrange for online delivery options, especially if your café has delivery or takeout. It is notable that, these days, most people do not like taking phone calls. Instead, they prefer text messages or emails. Moreover, if your staff have to receive phone calls every other time, then this is not tenable. They are wasting time that could be better used in other pursuits. Let your customers order food directly from the café website. Soon, everyone will be much happier. Make this process easier by accepting payment online.
4. Be social media savvy
One of the most potent marketing tools for your café business is social media. Do not ignore it. Restaurant owners can easily harness the power of this tool to their advantage. After all, this is where your potential customers usually hang out. Make sure that whenever these people think of where to eat, your café will be on top of the table. Further, social media enables customers to keep you ever in mind since it allows a better engagement. In time, using these methods, you will hopefully bring them running right into your café.
Check out “8 Beautifully Branded Coffee Shops” for inspiration on well-projected coffee shops around the world.
5. Email marketing
Are you serious about getting more patrons to visit your café? Do not delay. Ensure you start an email marketing campaign urgently. You can use an option form to start collecting emails on your website. In exchange for the much-needed email addresses, you can offer $5 or $10 as an off- coupon token. These emails are crucial since you can use them for a newsletter promoting upcoming events, specials, or some new menu items. Be careful, however, when doing this. Avoid spamming people since this will annoy them. You can send an email to the customers probably once a week or once a month.
Make sure you capture the customer’s birthdays whenever they accept to receive your newsletter. Yes, inform them that they can expect a unique birthday gift when the date is due. This method works quite well with email marketing. When the time comes, email your customers.
You can give a free coupon for a special dessert or appetizer. Remember that people often prefer to celebrate such days with a large group of friends. By offering gifts on their important days, you are subtly giving them an incentive to pick your restaurant as the rendezvous on an all-important day. You are killing two birds with a stone. How? New customers are likely to be introduced to your café. And, on the big day, the sales will likely increase, boosting your profits.
6. Gift cards
This old trick still works. Gift cards have extraordinary power for attracting new customers to restaurants. Once a customer visits your restaurant, do something to convert them into your loyal customer. Great food and service will usually do the trick.
7. Hold a wine tasting event
Do you serve wine? You probably do. Host a special event for wine tasting. This event will bring people together into your café. It will be a fresh, new experience. Customers get the chance to taste different wines. Hopefully, they will start appreciating this. Even people who would otherwise not have come will get a glimpse of what your café offers.
While here, let the patrons meet the chef who prepares their delicious meals. Yes, it can be exciting and great fun for most customers. Some of these excited foodies may even blog about the beautiful experience. Schedule a special monthly event for this rendezvous to take place in your café. Remember to promote it very aggressively.
8. Know your regular customers
Get to know your regular customers. Do this on a personal level. This will boost your business. You are demonstrating that you genuinely care about them. They will click that you care about their entire experience at this cafe. Remember: Keeping a loyal customer can be more profitable than hunting for new customers.
One of the best ways to do this is arranging for some live music to play. Almost everyone loves some entertainment at dinner. If you consistently schedule sessions of live music at your café, this will bring more people in. It also gives you added events to promote. Ultimately, it makes your cafe look like the perfect place to be.
By using these strategies, you can ensure that your cafes generate enormous buzz for customers. New customers will indeed flock in. Take note that only restaurants that make a special effort to cultivate their brand identity, involve relevant audiences from the start, and use various strategies to get the word out there will succeed. Yes, make your café attain initial and sustainable success using these modern strategies.
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