7 ways to expand your restaurant business

restaurantDeveloping a successful restaurant is a notoriously difficult task. In just about every town or neighborhood, there is that location that has housed ten different restaurants in the last 10 years. Running a restaurant is a very competitive business that can be affected by changes in dining trends or customer interest in both positive and negative ways. According to restaurantowner.com, close to a quarter of all small restaurants fail after one year.

Let’s say that you have gotten past the initial challenges and have grown your restaurant to the point where you are actually making money. You have managed to avoid the pitfalls that cause so many startup restaurants to close their doors sooner that the owner had planned. Now the next step is increasing your business, building on your initial success to generate better profits and solidify your establishment’s place in the community.

In any business, one of the keys to longevity is the willingness to try new approaches to increasing sales. Here are seven methods that you can use to expand your current restaurant business.

Add a Food Truck to Your Business

The addition of a food trailer to your restaurant business opens up a host of new sales and marketing opportunities. Depending on your particular enterprise and the variety of choices that you offer, your food truck may feature a complete menu or focus on a subset that travels well.

With a food truck, you can advertise your brick-and-mortar restaurant while serving customers in diverse locations. Introducing future diners to some of your specialties can be accomplished at sporting events, fairs, office parks, or just a great location on the corner of 12th Street and Vine. Enabling potential customers to actually try your wares rather than just read about them is a tremendous advantage in attracting patrons.

You might offer a coupon at the truck that diners can use when visiting your restaurant. This will help convince anyone who enjoyed the food from the truck to see what else you have to offer. Keep your eyes open for a food truck for sale and consider it as a prime way to increase your restaurant’s customer base and sales.

Start a Rewards Program

Return customers are one of the keys to a successful restaurant. You want satisfied patrons who make your establishment one of their regular stops when dining out. Offering perks like a reward program may just be the impetus they need to return for more of your good food.

Mobile technology has introduced new options when creating a loyalty or reward program. While you can always go the traditional route using punch cards or recipes, there are also mobile apps that are affordable and will appeal to your more technology conscious consumers.

Host Events

Hosting events at your restaurant can foster good relationships within the community as well as providing a platform from which to market your specialties. It is a way to introduce your restaurant to potential customers who might never have previously considered stopping in for a meal. Once they get a taste of what your restaurant offers from a food and ambiance perspective they may be more inclined to return for the full dining experience.

You can use your slow times to host events, thereby not overtaxing your staff and making use of your facilities when they are not busy. Some suggestions are to make your restaurant available for private parties, wine or food tasting events, and cooking classes. Working with the local community leaders to host charity events is another great way to foster good relations while marketing your business at the same time.

Make Use of Technology

One of the ways that you can increase your profitability as a restaurant owner is by turning over tables more quickly without hurrying and turning off the customers. A great way to do this is by employing technology to help streamline the ordering process.

Table ordering systems are a great way to accomplish this feat. According to restauranttechnologyguys.com, in addition to quicker table turnover, your customers will spend about 5% more by ordering for themselves or accepting upsells. Having this type of technology gives your guests more control and leads to an overall better customer experience which translates into return business.

Offer Online Ordering

Nearly everyone has a mobile device these days, and the ability to order online may make the difference between you getting their business or it going to your competitor. Online ordering means shorter lines at your front desk and lets your kitchen staff complete more odd  ers in a timely manner.

Making it easier for guests to order can be a great boost to your sales. Online ordering means that when a customer finds your restaurant in an online search, they can immediately order without the need to make a call or show up in person. This makes it more likely that they will indeed place an order with you.

Social Media Marketing

Your restaurant needs an online presence in today’s competitive world. This can be a dedicated website or simply a free Facebook business page. You can encourage your diners to post on your page and respond to their comments to develop better customer relationships.

Posting weekly specials and new menu items through social media is an inexpensive way to reach a large audience of potential diners. The digital equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising can help boost your restaurant’s profits.

Revisit Your Menu Options

Don’t be afraid to be creative with your menu changes. If a certain dish doesn’t sell, perhaps you need to replace it with another item. Concentrate on what is working and emphasize those choices.

Many people are eating healthier this days and you can address their concerns by having vegetarian and calorie conscious options available. Giving your diners the choice of ordering smaller portions can also be a determining factor in diners choosing to return to your bistro.

Hopefully, we have given you some food for thought as to how you can increase your restaurant’s business and generate more profits. There is no better time than now to start planning your next step in growing your business.

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