It’s all about the sales, right? To successfully play the game, we need to attract new customers, encourage existing ones to come back, and get all of them to spend their money in our restaurant. The question is: Beyond preparing and serving delicious food, how do we accomplish this?

The answer lies in adopting and implementing smart marketing and promotional strategies. This might sound intimidating, but it really isn’t. Follow some of the suggestions below and before you know it, you’ll likely notice an uptick in both traffic and sales. Now let’s get started!

Strategy #1: Develop and Control Your Online Presence

Nowadays, not only do you need to make sure your restaurant has an online presence, but you also need to keep tabs on it. What does this mean? At a minimum, you’ll want to set up a Facebook page for your restaurant and then keep it updated with regular posts (e.g., what’s happening in your restaurant) and information (hours you’re open, directions to your location, etc.)

Claiming your free restaurant listing with Sirved is another way to gain exposure to many prospective customers (potentially millions of them!) while also acquiring the ability to quickly and easily update all of your online menus in one place. You can also see your restaurant’s Google reviews on your Sirved page.

It’s crucial to read and respond to any reviews that people post online about your restaurant. Make sure your replies are positive, friendly, and customer-focused. Be vigilant about this to nip any complaints in the bud before they have a chance to ruin your restaurant’s reputation.

Strategy #2: Build and Maintain an Effective Website

Having an attractive, functional, and up-to-date website for your restaurant is crucial. As you’re likely aware, people look up everything online before doing anything these days. They will want to see pictures of the dishes you offer and the interior of your eatery. They’ll want to know about live music and other special events that are coming up, in addition to any discounts or coupons that you’re offering. They might even want to order takeout or delivery through your website. So invest some time and money into building an awesome website, and then keep it updated.

Strategy #3: Introduce Combo Meals

When you think of combo meals, you probably think of McDonald’s and other fast-food restaurants. Well, they might be on to something. By bundling certain kinds of food together – specifically, top-selling/low-profit items with low-selling/high-profit ones – you encourage your customers to purchase more than they likely would have individually. They will also feel like they’re getting a deal, and you’ll have simplified the order process for them – both reasons why they might decide to revisit your restaurant again in the future.

Strategy #4: Send SMS and Email Marketing Messages

Sending text messages and/or emails to your customers will remind them about your restaurant and what it offers. Both marketing techniques give you the opportunity to announce special events (e.g., happy hours or holiday celebrations), discounts and coupons (e.g., a free appetizer or dessert), and other ways to get your food (online delivery services like Grubhub and Doordash).

The challenge lies in acquiring your diners’ contact information. Some ideas for how to do this include offering a rewards card/system that asks them to provide their information during the registration process, putting coupons on your website and requesting the information from them there, or offering free Wi-Fi in your restaurant that first requires an email address and phone number from them via a form to use it. You might have to get creative, but, trust us, the boost in sales will be worth it!

Strategy #5: Advertise Both Online and Offline

Good ol’ advertising. It used to work in the past and still does when you’re trying to increase traffic to your restaurant. One option is to distribute flyers via direct mail or by posting them in different locations. Online advertising is very effective as well; it tends to reach a much larger number of people. In the case of Sirved, there’s the potential for your restaurant’s information and menus to be viewed by literally millions of users every month if you choose to take advantage of their free online advertising services.

Strategy #6: Upsell, Upsell, Upsell!

Upselling is a great way to increase your profit because, in this case, the customer is already sitting in your restaurant planning to spend their money. Now your staff just needs to be well trained and able to recognize the right moments to suggest more expensive or additional dishes and items. So be sure to spend the proper time training your servers so you can grab this low-hanging, yet profitable, fruit.

Strategy #7: Encourage Positive Word of Mouth

Happy customers are the best form of advertising, hands down. Others will believe their assessment of your restaurant because they relate to them and know they aren’t being paid. So treat your regulars well. Do your best to recognize them when they come in and make them feel special (potentially even make notes in your database about their favorites meals so you can impress them with your “memory”). Ask them to try new dishes, and remember that restaurants make more sales off their regular customers than new ones.

Don’t forget to take advantage of all the free benefits Sirved has to offer your restaurant, including the ability to easily keep your online menus up-to-date across the internet, complimentary advertising solutions, access to an easy-to-use QR code generator for contactless menus, and more. Gain access to your 100% free Sirved toolkit by claiming your restaurant listing today.