Opening a restaurant is difficult under any circumstance, but the pandemic has created many additional barriers and regulations. Restaurant closures currently account for the greatest number of closed businesses, with 60 percent closed permanently. This means that, when opening a new restaurant, owners need to be extremely resourceful in order to build a loyal following and to keep patrons and staff safe. We’ve outlined five ways to market your new restaurant and to drive customer retention.
1. Social Media
Having a social media presence is pivotal for any new business. There are over 3.5 billion active social media users worldwide, meaning that your customers are likely using at least one social media platform. But the key here is to ensure that you are using the right platform for your brand. Facebook remains the market leader for social media, with 68 percent of U.S. adults using the site in 2018. It’s also a good place to connect with users using the chatbot feature. Restaurants are also extremely visually appealing, which is why we suggest using Instagram. Tease your menu with beautiful images, and as the business grows, incorporate user-generated content to keep content fresh.
2. Loyalty Programs
Getting customers inside for the grand opening is one thing; making them loyal fans is another. Implement a loyalty program to encourage your patrons to keep coming back — and reward them for doing so. The easiest programs involve getting points for every purchase or a punch card program for every visit. This will encourage them to keep coming back to earn the reward. And make sure that the rewards are worth it: 78 percent of customers prefer personalization from their loyalty program, including the option to choose their reward. Another helpful idea is to go paperless, as it’s far easier to keep track of an app than a physical card.
3. Branded Uniforms and Swag
A creative and cheap way to promote your business is to create branded uniforms that your employees will want to wear, regardless of whether they're at work. Using patches or iron-on transfers, you can put your logo on t-shirts, hats, or even masks. StickerYou lets you upload your image or template, or create a custom design using the design tool. Our patches and iron-ons are durable and can be used on a variety of fabrics, meaning that you can customize any aspect of the work uniform. With high-quality products and a unique design, your employees will want to wear their uniforms everywhere they go. And, as your business grows, you can even create swag to sell to your customers, creating an additional platform for promoting your business.
4. Business Hours Stickers
One of the most important aspects to any new business is making sure that your customers know when you're open in a clear way. You don’t want customers showing up expecting service, only to be disappointed that you’re closed. Custom hours stickers are visually appealing. Add your logo, branding and hours, and you’re ready to go. During the holiday season, ensure that your updated hours are visible by using a new sticker.StickerYou vinyl decals are removable, making it easy to update your restaurant hours.
5. Street Decals
Opening during a pandemic involves a whole new set of health and safety regulations. Luckily, finding ways to illustrate these rules offers a unique opportunity for marketing. To help with the flow of traffic, create branded floor decals to show patrons where to walk and stand. Outside of your store, you could even create branded street decals that point patrons towards your restaurant or show them where to line up when waiting for their seat or order. Durable enough to withstand pedestrian and vehicle traffic, these customizable decals are perfect for outdoor marketing on busy streets to inform potential customers about your restaurant’s location.
A pandemic represents some unusual challenges for businesses, but it also provides an opportunity to be creative with marketing efforts. By combining physical elements, such as branded swag and decals, along with online marketing techniques, new restaurants can flourish.