The restaurant business is lucrative but extremely competitive. No wonder that a lot of business owners struggle with finding out how to grow a restaurant business. Customers have lots of options and with new restaurants popping up like mushrooms, it can be difficult to retain interest, let alone expand the business.

The world has changed significantly over the past few decades. There are new tools and services available to restaurant owners that help them find new customers and increase sales. Business owners can leverage them to grow, ultimately achieving the goal of opening up multiple locations in different markets.

Discussed below are some tips that can help grow your restaurant business:

16 Tips for Expanding Your Restaurant Business

There are different methods that you can use to bring in new customers to your restaurant and increase sales. The additional profits generated can then be utilized to expand the business. Let’s explore the 16 tips that will help you do just that.

Create a Positive Dining Experience

The dining experience will make or break your restaurant business. People come to your restaurant to have a nice meal in a cozy and inviting setting. Focus on creating a great ambiance with exceptional décor that goes with the theme of your restaurant.

Customer service is paramount. Guests should feel taken care of the moment they step in. Train your staff to provide outstanding service. Develop menus with variety, for example, if someone’s a vegetarian they can also get a quality dish.

People will always come back for good food. If you’re putting out a quality product using quality ingredients, the dishes will speak for themselves. People will see the value for money, recommend your place to others, and keep coming back.

Offer Special Promotions or Discounts 

A great way to increase restaurant sales is to offer special promotions or discounts. Remember, people have way too many choices now. You can tilt their decision on where to buy food from by providing a financial incentive. 

You can offer discounts on days when it’s typically slower for your restaurant. You can offer special promotions on birthdays, giving people a reason to celebrate their special day at your place. 

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on local events and develop your incentive strategy based on that. For example, if there’s a big game in town, you can offer special game day deals since people will be out and would look for a place to eat.

Utilize Social Media Platforms

Having a strong social media presence should be the foundation of your marketing strategy. It’s much easier now to introduce people to your restaurant. Spark their curiosity by sharing behind-the-scenes footage of how the food is prepared, where the ingredients are sourced from, the techniques used, etc. 

People are increasingly using social media platforms to discover new restaurants. Even if they walk by your place on the street, chances are they’ll look it up online to see the menu and what your dishes look like. 

Social media platforms offer a huge potential for your restaurant business. If you start seeing a lot of interest in your posts from a specific location, that could be an indication that your restaurant concept could work in a new location as well.

Partner With Local Businesses or Organizations 

Cross-promotion opportunities can prove to be quite lucrative. Find local businesses or organizations to partner with to increase the customer base. Such an arrangement can benefit both businesses and provide additional value to customers. 

For example, a local charity organization can auction off a dinner for two at your restaurant. You can partner with other businesses in the area and they can offer vouchers or other incentives for your restaurant to customers that shop with them. 

Offer Online Ordering and Delivery Services

Technology has changed the way the restaurant industry works. Customers prefer the convenience of online ordering and food delivery. You’ll be missing out on a major source of revenue if your restaurant doesn’t offer it. 

Make it possible for customers to place their order online, either through your website, mobile app, or through one of the many platforms. They can place their orders for pickup ahead of time and have their food ready by the time they reach the restaurant.

Online food delivery has become a major source of revenue for restaurants now. You don’t need to have your own fleet of delivery drivers. Simply join one of the many online food delivery platforms and start sending out orders. 

Create a Customer Loyalty Program 

Customers should have an incentive to keep coming back to your restaurant. A loyalty program gives them an anchor to the business. Once they’ve spent a considerable amount of money, they’ll likely come back to spend however much they need to for that promised incentive. 

Create a loyalty program based on what works best for your business. You can choose to offer free drinkers, appetizers, etc. once a guest has made a certain number of visits or earned the required points based on the money they’ve spent in the restaurant. 

It’s important for the loyalty program to provide great value to the customer. You’re competing with other restaurants that may offer such programs as well. It should be easy for the customer to understand the value of your program so that they prioritize it over others.

Host Events or Themed Nights

A restaurateur is always focused on increasing sales. Themed nights or special events are a great way to achieve that objective. Lean into the festivities so that guests come and celebrate them with you. 

For example, you can offer themed Valentine’s Day dinners with special menu items. Open mic or trivia events are another great way to get more people into the restaurant. Take advantage of major sports events and create themed nights around them to increase restaurant sales.

Utilize Email Marketing

Don’t sleep on the power of email when crafting your marketing strategy. A misconception most restaurant owners have is that email marketing is outdated when it couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a powerful resource you can utilize to increase sales. 

You can remain top-of-mind for customers with regular email marketing campaigns. Send them emails about a new menu item you’ve added or a new promotion that’s available for a limited time. 

Another great way to harness email marketing is to deliver incentives. Once you start providing them discounts and vouchers through emails, customers will look forward to them as it incentivizes them to keep returning to your restaurant.

Optimize Your Website for Search Engines 

Having a website for your restaurant is essential. That’s how most people will discover your restaurant, its menu, location, and contact information. Optimizing the website for search engines is perhaps the most important aspect of your online presence. 

If your restaurant does Italian food, what are the chances that its website will appear on the first page of search results when people in the area search for Italian restaurants? Optimize for keywords related to the food you’re serving so that the audience that’s ready to convert can easily find your business.

Collaborate With Food Influencers or Bloggers

Food influencers and bloggers have become an industry in their own right. Millions of people follow their favorite influencers for their restaurant recommendations so being featured by them can bring a big uptick in restaurant sales.

Reach out to influential bloggers and food influencers in your city. Invite them to your restaurant to experience its ambiance and food. They’ll generally provide an objective review of their experience and make recommendations accordingly. 

Make this a pillar of your marketing strategy. Collaborate with food influencers routinely to introduce new items, launch new promotions, and offer incentives for customers who discover your restaurant through them.

Offer Catering Services 

Catering is a great way to get the word out about your restaurant. Whether you’re handling the food for an office event or a wedding, a lot more people will be introduced to your food at those events, and could convert into repeat restaurant customers. 

Even when not done with the objective of bringing in new customers, catering is a way to diversify your sources of revenue. It brings in more money for the business which can then be used for expansion.

Offer a Diverse Menu 

As a restaurant owner, you can’t go wrong with offering a diverse menu. People come to restaurants to try new things and by providing them with a diverse selection, you can encourage them to order more to try the different dishes on offer. 

This also helps you cater to a larger audience since different people have different dietary preferences. Some may not eat certain meats while others may have gluten insensitivity. A diverse menu with a variety of options ensures that a wider range of clientele can spend money in your restaurant. 

Implement a Reservation System

Nobody likes to wait, particularly when they’re on a night out and want to have a good time. Having to wait hours for a table damps the mood and reflects badly on the restaurant. A great way to manage this is to invest in a reservation system. 

That way, even if you are seeing a lot of demand for tables at your restaurant, people won’t turn up when there are no tables. They won’t feel bad about having to wait for hours. On the contrary, this gives them the flexibility to make plans around the availability of a reservation. 

A reservation system simplifies demand management for you and the booking process for clients. They can instantly see when a table is available and make their booking so when they turn up, they know they’ll be seated right away.

Establish Partnerships With Local Farmers or Suppliers 

Customers are increasingly becoming conscious of where their food comes from. They’re willing to pay a premium for locally sourced ingredients as they’re minimally processed and also help support the local economy. 

Reach out and team up with local farmers and suppliers. It’ll be beneficial for them and also improve the quality of your food. Highlight these partnerships online and in your menus so guests can know where the food is being sourced from. 

Train and Empower Your Staff 

A restaurant is only as good as its staff. Everyone from the front-of-house staff to the servers, bussers, etc. is responsible for creating an ambiance that makes guests feel welcome and happy to dine at your restaurant. 

Train them to provide the best customer service as that’s a vital element to set yourself apart from the competition. Encourage proactive service to make guests feel pampered. Empower the staff to make decisions that help with the smooth operation of your restaurant. 

Analyze and Track Your Restaurant’s Financial Performance Regularly 

Like any other small business, you must closely track the financial performance of your restaurant. Ingredient costs can vary significantly for restaurants, often on a day-to-day basis. Contingencies have to be built into the pricing to account for these fluctuations. 

Run a tight ship with costs in check so that profits can be maximized. When you analyze the financial performance regularly, you can quickly spot where inefficiencies exist and take remedial measures. 

Having solid financials will help in your expansion goals. If you need a business loan for expansion, a lender would want to see that the business finances are being efficiently managed, only then will they have the confidence to approve the loan.

How doola Streamlines Financial Management for Restaurants

You can’t learn how to grow a restaurant business unless you’ve got a tight grip on the finances. It’s only when you effectively control costs and maximize profitability that you can achieve the goal of expansion in such a competitive industry.

Experience streamlined financial management for your restaurant with doola Books. It provides effective tracking of your business finances so you always know where every dollar earned is going. It also helps with invoicing, merchant processing, and tagging for income and expense transactions. With that taken care of, you’re free to focus on taking your restaurant business to new heights.

FAQs

How can I improve customer satisfaction in my service business?

You can improve customer satisfaction in your service business by proactively asking customers for feedback and addressing their concerns. Understand customer expectations and deliver accordingly to provide them with a positive experience.

How can I attract more customers during slow periods for my service business?

You can attract more customers during slow periods by offering promotions and discounts. These financial incentives are a great way to get more people in the door during slow periods.

How can I differentiate my restaurant business from competitors?

You can differentiate your restaurant business from competitors by improving customer service, creating a diverse menu, focusing on the quality of ingredients used, and sourcing locally.

How can I utilize online ordering and delivery services for my restaurant business?

Online ordering and delivery services make it easy for restaurants to onboard on their platforms. Sign up for all the platforms that are available in your area. You can easily find the relevant information through their respective websites.

How can I leverage customer feedback to grow my service business?

The feedback from customers will help you figure out where your service is lacking and what needs to be improved. Once you make those improvements, customers will view the business more favorably as it responds to their feedback, thus creating goodwill with them. 

Adnan Farooqui
Adnan Farooqui
Content Specialist
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