Are you getting ‘bums on seats’ during the quiet months? – is a different approach needed? – January-March are notoriously quiet months in the hospitality industry, and a busy Friday and Saturday does not compensate for a slow mid week. So… how do you get ‘bums on seats’ mid week?? This is one of the main issues we address with our clients, comments such as ‘ if it wasn’t for the weekend trade we wouldn’t survive’ ‘I have had to let some of the mid week staff go as we just don’t have the covers’… all this can be improved with a few small changes.
Have you considered adopting the same philosophy as holiday companies, airlines, adventure/theme parks, hotels in that if you book mid week you will get a discounted menu. If you, as a restaurateur, know that the demand for weekend bookings is at it’s highest and you can sell those tables at a premium, then do just that, if you have to turn away bookings at weekends and you know that demand will exceed the supply, sell your menus at a premium. Try and change people’s dining patterns, suggest to them that you have a mid week offer/deal, encourage them in to your restaurant on quiet mid week nights.
Stick to the deals only on the quiet nights, and increase the cost of your busy nights add a premium !!. Companies large and small and worldwide use this marketing strategy, for instance everywhere you look you will see hotels advertising mid week breaks, with an evening meal included, but book the same hotel over a weekend and the price increases considerably and.. you have to buy all your meals separately, this type of selling and marketing does work!
You need to create a new, refreshing and sustainable footfall to your restaurant! – Once upon a time, having a great location, the monthly advert in a local paper to remind people you were there, and occasionally putting on a special offer was all that was needed to sustain your business, not any more!! To be successful these days you need to be proactive, you need to regularly promote to your customer base, and regularly offer them something that will encourage them into to eat, this goes for new customers and old alike, it is as important to maintain your existing customer base as it is to generate a new one!
Look at ‘direct response – use social media to do this. Put a notice out asking people what they are looking for in a restaurant, would they be interested in certain types of meals or menus, would they be interested in ‘mid week’ discounted menu’s and encourage them to contact you via email to register interest, this will then give you a list of people who are looking for something you can offer. Put in place a follow-up procedure, make sure you keep these people informed of changes, deals, new ideas, people love to feel involved and will tell their friends.
Everyone uses Social Media, so make the most of it and use it to your advantage!
Make sure you have a web presence and make it work for you!! Not only is a web presence critical to your business, but more and more people are using iPhones and Android phones now so you need to make sure you web site is ‘mobile’ compatible. The ‘eating out’ demographic is getting younger and more tech savvy with location and voice based searches on the increase. Make sure your web site is capable of selling your format or food position (Italian, Greek, Tapas) make sure it can sell something that is unique to you. Can it deal with immediate online bookings? All these things are important to the modern busy diner in this fast moving industry, make sure that your web site excites the diners and they walk in to your establishment looking forward to a fantastic meal, at the price they want, this will undoubtedly lead to increased and sustainable business. If of course you don’t have a web site, then DOMINATEsocial media. Social media is here to stay and it is a fantastic way to market your restaurant completely Free of Charge! It is a powerful, wide reaching method which brings a level of personality to it. Never before have you had such a powerful and personal way to interact with your customers, the effectiveness of social media doesn’t come from just having and using the tools, it comes from using them in the right way. If you can understand how people use social media for business networking, whether it is Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook it can bring enormous benefit. But you do need to pick the right social media output for your business to be able to get the message you want across. Striking the right balance between sending positive messages, or protecting your restaurant from negative reviews, and do all this in such a way that you don’t get bogged down with hours of social media management is not easy. We highly recommend using an outsourced provider or a Virtual Assistant who can specialise in this and carry out your social media marketing to good effect at a reasonable cost.
Are your customers happy to spend? – incentivize your customers to increase their ‘spend per head’, and make sure they are happy to do so! – There are so many different ways this can be done, Loyalty Schemes are a prime example, or a Gold, Silver, Standard, menu style. Sometimes this method of setting out menus offers a customer the choice of choosing which level of meal, and nearly always, the customer will opt for the Silver, option. It is human nature not to ‘appear’ too cheap but at the same time not wanting to go for the higher cost meal. This method is often adopted in licenced establishments, offering a ‘large house spirit’ for a £1 more for example, encouraging a higher spend with bigger profit margins but making the customer feel as though they are getting added value. You can then look at how you can maximise your profit margins on the best sellers across a price range rather than individually!
But… your staff are your biggest asset when it comes to customers spending more. The real key to extra revenue lies with your staff and their ability to sell your food and your reputation, training is vital! .If your staff are trained properly, follow procedures and know your business and menu inside out, customers will see this and immediately be more receptive . Your staff need to be welcoming, attentive, knowledgeable, courteous, and efficient. Bites to Banquets Hospitality Consultancy offer training which covers all aspect of Front of House training and can help you to implement procedures both Front of House and within a kitchen. Make sure you make the most of your biggest asset. Richard Branson once said ” If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple”
If you are interested in speaking to us about Front of House training, implementation/streamlining procedures, menu reviews, please email us via firstname.lastname@example.org Let us help you put bums on seats.