Photo by Olu Gbadebo.
Independent restaurant operators have been struggling since mid-2020 to recoup lost sales. Understandably, customers have been put off the dining experience by both their own caution and state and local restrictions on operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In good news, independent operators can muster their characteristic energy and creativity to succeed as the health crisis continues, by emulating larger restaurant chains in some very specific ways. Let’s take a look at three strategies you can implement to “act big” while remaining independent and agile: • Customer acquisition • Delegation to and consultation with staff • Investing in technology
Customer acquisition Shifting from a mindset of transaction counts to customer acquisition has its challenges, particularly as restaurant operators pivot to third-party delivery to bolster their sales.
However, acquiring and retaining customers can strengthen your business for the long haul. Customer acquisition is about winning over customers and keeping them. Ambiance and service (along with great food, of course) have served you well in keeping loyal dine-in guests, but what about when they cannot see and experience your venue? Loyalty programs are a great way to acquire and keep customers. By having quick calls-toaction on your website, your restaurant can win over customers right as they’re browsing online. Offering an initial prize on a customer’s first order is a great way to get someone to sign up for a rewards program. It sounds expensive, but may be well worth the cost if it comes with a name, email and other marketing information. Another customer acquisition tactic essential to restaurant websites is direct access to online ordering. Would you rather have customers ordering directly through your website or through a third-party provider that charges a substantial fee? By steering customers to your ordering platform from the onset of their online experience, you can keep more profit and retain District Restaurant News 21