Tips for Restaurant Owners: Keeping Busy in Slow Times

We all know times are tight right now. Some experts are pointing towards signs of a slow recovery, the keyword there being slow. How do you keep customers coming into your restaurant, and more importantly spending money?

Get the customers in the door!

You might consider lowering the prices on your offerings, or offering free desserts to entice clients. In order to make up for lower tickets, you’ll need to turn more tables. Avoid rushing the customer experience, but the more tables you turn, the more money you’ll make.

In house marketing

It’s usually pretty affordable to get some table tents and run contests to encourage servers to up-sell. Sometimes it’s as easy as a server walking through the restaurant with a fresh loaf of garlic bread or some sizzling onions, both known to stir hunger in customers.

Broaden your appeal

Do you donate to charity? Perhaps you could consider it now. Have charity nights on your slower nights. Encourage customers to bring in canned goods for a local charity and offer $5 off a ticket of $30 with 3 canned goods. Or host a job fair and let local businesses set up tables for short interviews — have a “job fair” special for those attending.

Customer service

Customer service will be of utmost importance for your business now. Gone are the days of snooty servers; guests will want to be treated as such and want to feel welcome and appreciated.

Though the economic recovery is sure to be a slow one, it is not time to cut marketing budgets, no matter how tempting that may be. Encourage locals to choose your business over the others by teaming up with other local businesses for a co-marketing theme coupon (think dinner and a movie, or family night out).

Flexible restaurateurs are sure to succeed in any economy, so think outside of the box and have some fun with it!

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