Did you know that, nowadays, many Brits are choosing to eat out rather than cook for themselves? This, and many other factors mean nowadays the competition in the restaurant industry is fierce. So how do you make sure that your restaurant maintains its place in the race? What should you do to ensure you are luring a continued string of customers through your door?
Whilst it’s common for many people to treat themselves to a nice meal out at the weekend, you will also find a fair few people looking for an alternative to cooking during the week too. So whether these people have had a long day, their cupboards are as bare as Mother Hubbard’s, or they just fancied treating themselves to a night off slaving over a hot stove, you need to make sure that, when looking for an alternative, these people have an incentive to walk through your doors.
Undeniably, the British people love a good bargain and so the concept of an early bird menu is ideal for those looking to save a few pennies. Between certain hours of the day (usually between 4-7pm), you offer customers a two or three course meal, using selected menu items at a slightly lower price than they would have to pay at peak time. Not only will this mean you’ll see customers walk through your door, but you may also find that introducing this new method of dining will bring in more custom at times of the day that would normally be a lot quieter for you.
If your menu is good old fashioned pub grub, you could dedicate certain days of the week to specific menu items. In your travels, it’s likely you’ve come across a Burger Night, a Curry Night or a Steak Night, the premise of which is to offer a few more variations of the staple dish, maybe with a drink included, at a slightly lower price than usual.
On the other hand, if your restaurant is more on the gourmet side, you could up the “steaks” (excuse the pun) a little more. For instance, try holding seafood or tapas nights. Something a little more fancy doesn’t have to be a weekly occurrence at your restaurant but if you host themed nights, say once a month, people will know you have a routine and, consequently, will look out for it. We would also recommend you change the themed menu item every time you host a night like this; mixing things up will not only attract a new audience but it will also keep your loyal customers coming back for a taste of something different.
If used correctly, social media can be a powerful tool for promoting your restaurant. And better yet, it’s free. Ensuring you are regularly posting to your Facebook or Twitter page, building a following, engaging with that following and encouraging them to come down and eat at your restaurant can mean the difference between the number of people that visit you and the number of people that visit your competitor.
If someone has enjoyed their experience at your restaurant, the chances are they’re going to let all their friends know about it by posting pictures or a simple status update to their social media profile and before you know it, you’ve got yourself some free advertising.
The opportunities available to you on social media are endless. For instance, encourage people to visit your restaurant by offering them a free cocktail if they post a picture of what a great time they’re having to their social media platforms. Remember, the cost of a cocktail will be nothing compared to the cost you could generate if that person’s Facebook friends see the picture of your delicious food and decide to visit your restaurant on their next night out.
People love an excuse to dress up. So why not give them that excuse by hosting a period themed night at your restaurant?
A period that works extremely well for these nights is the 1920s. This “speakeasy” theme will transport your customers back almost 100 years and, if planned correctly, it could provide you with a great return on your investment, satisfying loyal customers and generating new ones at the same time.
You may think that preparing your restaurant so that it looks 1920s-like is hard work. But, before the event takes place, simply request that people who attend your speakeasy night look the part by donning on their best 1920s fancy dress costumes. And straight away, before the night has even begun, your customers will indirectly be doing a lot of the hard work for you.
As a restaurant, you will already be serving your customers with food so this element of the evening should not take too much effort. However, we would recommend that you research into what foods were eaten back in the 1920s and serve your customers with something different to the norm. Maybe you could even add a few eyebrow-raising items to the menu for the more adventurous out there.
We’ve already mentioned briefly how social media can help, but did you know that there are hundreds of people out there trying to promote their own businesses on these social platforms too? For instance, if you wanted a swing band to complete your themed night, you could simply take to Facebook or Twitter and put out an appeal; the suggestions will start pouring in. Alternatively, a quick search will likely provide you with many possible bands to contact. And, if you’re after something that’s not going to cost the earth, you could choose a part-time band that play purely as a hobby; this is going to be more cost-effective for you than hiring a more well-known band to do the job.
Finally, make sure you don’t neglect the finer details. It’s going to be harder to transport your guests back to the 1920s if they’re sitting on and eating off modern, contemporary furniture. If your restaurant is already in need of a new look, make the most of the opportunity and refurnish it with classic, traditional furniture. This way, you can be sure to provide the perfect atmosphere for your customers’ 1920s experience.
And the great thing about using traditional furniture is that, even after your event has taken place, because a classic won’t age, you will have refurbished your restaurant with great quality furniture that will stand the test of time; it will still look great in years to come and save you the need to refurbish any time soon.
Here at Taylor’s, we supply classic furniture to businesses within the hospitality industry, including restaurants. So feel free to browse our website for some inspiration on interior design. Take a look at our portfolio and see the various restaurants we’ve furnished over the years. Or if you just want to have a chat with a friendly member of the team to discuss which furniture items would best suit your restaurant, give us a call today and we will be happy to help.