There are some very scary statistics regarding new restaurants and their likelihood of failure. At worse, some reports claim that 90% will close within a year, while a study conducted by Ohio State University says 60% and then 80% by year 5.
No matter how you slice it, those are terrifying numbers to think about if you are a restaurant owner. To avoid becoming one of those statistics, work on building a strong customer base using these top 7 tips:
1) Live by the Rule of Seven
There is a saying in the restaurant business that you make one guest in your restaurant happy, you have created one good repeat customer. When you make one mad, they are going to share their bad experience with 7 of their closest friends. Stress over the top service in your restaurant at all times, and go to any length to ensure that no one leaves that is not satisfied with their experience.
2) Be Creative in Your Marketing
Create a Facebook page and utilize Twitter to tweet out menu changes and specials. Social media is a fantastic form of free advertising that can reach thousands of potential customers.
3) Start a Loyalty Club
Incentive programs are not just for retail outlets. Many big name restaurants have loyalty clubs where repeat customers are emailed coupons and incentives. Ask them to opt-in for SMS marketing with their cell phone number and then use an SMS broadcasting service like DialMyCalls to send alerts geared especially for members. Send out a mass text message at 3 o'clock about your special starting at 5 and watch as your tables fill up.
4) Be Active in the Community
Sponsor local little league teams, and offer your back dining room as a slow Tuesday night meeting place for the local PTA or Elks Club. Being benevolent to the community that supports you will reap you rewards in the form of new customers and repeat business.
5) Buy Locally
Businesses should be supportive of one another as much as possible. Why order your cheese from a wholesaler if there is a dairy farm just outside of your town? When you are supporting local businesses, they will be more inclined to support yours.
6) Serve Great Food Consistently
Stay on top of your kitchen and what is coming out of it. If a guest is coming back today because of the great chicken marsala they had last week, it is up to you to ensure that it is just as good now. Work with all of your chefs together so that each is making the entrees to the same specifications.
7) Offer Take-Out
Not everyone will have time to sit down and eat inside of your restaurant, but if you have a reliable take out service, you can please your customers and increase sales. If possible, make it a delivery service. Just ensure that the food is always just as perfect boxed to go as it is when served at a table.
Despite the scary statistics on restaurant closings, there are still hundreds of thousands that go on to make it. Become one of those by following these tricks of the restaurant trade.
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