The Restaurateur Olympics: How to Gain an Edge on Your Competition

Sometimes, it’s very easy to be caught up in the midst of managing the customers coming through your restaurant door without taking a step back to look at the larger picture.

The athletes in the upcoming Olympics, for example, will train hard for their particular event, but even the elite must occasionally step back and look at the larger picture to see if they can tweak their technique to improve and gain a competitive edge, even if this means radically changing the way they run or jump.

So while it may make great sense to focus on the customers flooding in to your restaurant, sometimes we need to hide away from the front-of-house, from the bustling kitchen, and think carefully about our restaurant marketing strategy and what we can do that others are not doing.

Today, we discuss a selection of simple things you can do to gain on an edge on your competition, ensuring your restaurant stands out above the crowd and entices new customers.

Have a Good Mobile Website

While having a good website is almost always on the ‘To Do’ list of start-up restaurants, having a useful and accessible website for mobile devices is usually not something most people think about.

It’s important your website is accessible and useful for mobile users
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Deciding to dine at a restaurant is a decision often made while away from a desk, naturally leading to a larger percentage of visitors to restaurant websites being via mobile devices. It’s important your website is accessible and useful both for mobile users as well as larger screen devices.

Offer an Online Menu with Prices

Many restaurants still fail at displaying their menu. The menu is often the first page potential customers will visit after landing on your home page.

Ensure your menu is an actual page of your website, rather than a PDF or a scanned image of your in-house menu, and be sure to include pricing.

Manage an Active Social Media Presence

The Internet is a bustling metropolis of activity. It’s there to be used and to take value from, without giving very much in return. Setting up a website and waiting for people to find it is not a good strategy, nor is it using the Internet to its full potential.

By maintaining an active presence within social media avenues such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, you can take your restaurant straight to a local, targeted audience.

Offer an E-Newsletter

Let’s face it, customers are a forgetful bunch. Without constant reminders you exist and still want their business, customers will often forget about you and go elsewhere. It’s your job to keep your restaurant at the forefront of their mind, to ensure they think of you when they consider dining out.

By using your website to capture email addresses of those that wish to subscribe, you can build a list of loyal subscribers who would like to receive a bi-weekly or monthly email with your latest offers and news to entice them in to your restaurant.

Generate a Customer Survey

Customer surveys are often used in the corporate world, but I can’t remember a single time I’ve ever been asked for my opinion by any of my local restaurants.

With a website, it’s very easy to setup your own online customer survey. When customers pay their bill, pass them a card with the details of your survey and offer them a reward if they complete it. Not only does the reward entice customers to come back, it also shows your customers you care and want to hear what they think.

Use Local Events to Your Advantage

Local events are a fantastic way to get your name in front of hundreds or thousands of potential customers. If you find yourself in the fortunate position to be the primary catering stall for a local event, you’re automatically seen to have an edge over your competition.

Whether you market online or offline, in your restaurant or out, for your current customers or new customers, there are literally hundreds of ways to position your restaurant at the front of the field to ensure you’re the first business people think of when they wish to dine in your area.

Do what others do, and then do more. By exceeding expectations and marketing strongly in areas where other restaurants slack, you’ll gain an edge on your competition.

How do you gain an edge on your competition? What do you do to help your customers that other restaurants don’t do? Let us know by commenting below.

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