We look at 8 ways that you can increase the numbers of customers to your Restaurant during the quiet times of the week. Joint venture marketing, theme nights, corporate customers and happy hours are all some of the ideas that we will be looking at and more to help you find new customers and turn them into repeat customers.
In today’s Episode you will learn:
- Why you need to provide more than just Great Food, Great Value and a Great Experiences;
- Yield Utilisation offers – making them work for you;
- Joint Venture marketing;
- Increasing walk in traffic;
- Corporate hospitality – getting big businesses to book your Restaurant;
- Happy hour ideas to start the night off right;
- Theme nights for your Restaurant; and
- Experimenting with a new menu.
Lots of ideas there to help you fill the Restaurant on the quiet nights. If you can at least cover costs during the quietest 3 days of the week, you set yourself up for a profitable and hopefully really profitable week.
Links to resources mentioned in the Podcast:
Paymasters – A really successful Restaurant in Newcastle in Australia, which hopefully one day we can visit and they won’t be booked out 🙂 !
The Free OnLine Restaurant Booking System – The quickest and easiest way to increase your email database.
The Marketing4Restaurants World Map – a real time visualisation of Restaurant customers.
Thanks for listening!
Please leave an honest review on iTunes, it helps us create a better podcast and share this page on Facebook – it helps us get the word out and help more Restaurant owners. Let us know if you have any suggestions or ideas also.
James and the M4R Team.
Hey, it’s James from Marketing4Restaurants! And welcome to Secret Sauce Episode 1: 8 ways to make your Restaurant busy on a Tuesday night.
Some restaurants are quiet; lose money and the owner works 70 hours a week. Other restaurants are busy, comfortable and the owner works a few hours a day. What’s the difference? They have a secret sauce. Join James from Marketing4Restaurants as he helps you come up with your recipe for restaurant success. Your Secret Sauce!
So, welcome to our podcast! I started with probably the most important topic for most restaurants owners out there. I know this is one of our really busy blog articles. A lot of people go searching forward in Google, and I know that when we talk to restaurant owners it’s one of the big topics – How do you make your restaurant busier on quiet nights? And for a lot of people that is generally – assuming that you’re closed on a Monday night, it’s going to be Tuesday, getting a little busier on Wednesday and Thursday and then you get through to Friday and Saturday and Sunday when you get really busy. And that’s the way that a lot of restaurants work, they make quite good money or really good money on the weekend but they lose as much if not more during the start and mid-week. So what we want to do is to help you to maybe come close to breaking even or even making a little bit of money because if you can do that mid-week, it sets you up to be really profitable over the weekend in general as you make really good money over the weekend.
So remember, you pay your lease seven days a week so you want to be earning as much money as you can out of every day that you’re open. So before we get in to the eight ways to make your restaurant busier, I want to cover up on one really important thing. We call it the 3 G’s of restaurant marketing: great food, great experience and great value. Every restaurant owner needs to have a good hard look at their business, to make sure that they are covering up on those. And I’m not saying that all of the food should be fine dining. Am not saying that you should be giving it away for two dollars a meal and am not saying that it is self-service and fantastic fun of house staff. What am saying is that based on your business plan, based on your marketing plan, based on your strategy you need to be covering up on those in the way that you’re planning to do that. Because if the food isn’t great, if the experience is not there, and it’s too expensive, then marketing is really going to be a struggle. Marketing works a whole lot better when you got great food, great experience and great value.
So without further adieu, let’s get in to the:
8 ways to make your Restaurant busy on a Tuesday night.
Tip number 1: Cheap Eats
So I know what you’re thinking, “nooo, we hardly even know you and you’re already talking about discounting. Look it’s the one that people are most familiar with and it’s probably the easiest to implement. But I’m not saying that it’s not the best one, I think it’s one of the things that we can use to get a little bit of attraction but there’s much better ways of doing it. Everyone’s very familiar with these so 50% off the meal, buy one get one free, those sort of things. So I think that if you’re struggling a lot that can be a way of getting some immediate attraction but let’s look at some better ways that we can do it. Because really, these attract people who are looking for a discount, they may be more difficult to come across to on a Saturday night if they become used to getting a discount. And they tend to be less low on customers.
Tip Number 2: Joint Venture Marketing
You are not alone. Tuesday is a very quiet time on most streets. So what other businesses are out there who could do with some more customers? And so the classic example of this is a cinema! And now often do cheaper Tuesday where tickets are all half price. Whatever discount they want to give and they are quite interested in partnering with restaurants to come up with some sort of package deal. You don’t even need to actually partner with them. You can say “show us your movie tonight and get 25% off. It’s a great way of driving more customers to your restaurant. And the thing I love about these is they are probably not your existing customers. They’ll be people who you can get advertising in the cinema – that’s it and go “you know what we just had a great movie, let’s go out for a meal, sounds like a great idea!” So you have just picked up a new customer. But there’s lots of businesses out there – there’s gamer arcades, all sorts of activities, all sorts of other businesses. Walk along the streets to see who is open, to see who has a complimentary not competing business and see if they’re interested in doing a deal.
Tip Number 3: A Greeter with a menu
I’ve seen this worked really well. That there some streets like a local street where every restaurant has a greeter. I see it work really well in places where there is no one else offering but a greeter. And so you can have someone who either has a menu across road and say “would you be interested in a meal tonight?” One of the things that can dramatically increase your conversion right away is with samples. So if you got a little tiny bite size piece of food that people can come along and try – and I think that it’s really important there because you hitting on the smell, they can (sniffs) “ahhh that smells really nice. Then they try to taste and you know what all of a sudden they’re salivating and thinking, “you know what, I am really hungry, where did you say this restaurant was?” And that can work really well.
Tip Number 4: Corporate Hospitality
Wow! There are a lot of restaurants that do this really badly. Think about corporate hospitality. So am talking about companies who want to take a group of people out for dinner. What are the characteristics of this kind of group? Generally they wanted a really good experience, because they’re trying to impress people, whether it’s a company taking their staff out for celebration or maybe a Christmas event or a business wanting to take out customers. They’re going to want to impress. So generally, they’re less price sensitive. They may want an area that can be enclosed of so they might want a bit of privacy – they wanted to be able to use a projector. They may want payment flexibility and I’ve seen one restaurant who had a major international company, say “we wanna come along for dinner, its $5000 I would like – I would like to pay the $5000 now” and they say “oh no you need to pay on the night.” And that didn’t fit with their purchasing so the company went somewhere else. What kind of restaurant says no to someone saying “I would like to give you $5000 now.” That is crazy! So corporate hospitality, targeted marketing to the local businesses. Some sort of offer, what are the facilities that you’ve got, you don’t even need to discount – you can say “we’ve got this, we’ve got this, we’ve got this.” Rather than give a discount go out and buy a projector. Look at whatever they need, and start building a business with that. One of the things I love about this is its often repeat that there’s someone who organizes these and enough to say “oh okay so we’ve got you organize a quarterly event, these are the hotel we have for this – this is the restaurant that we have – this is the function room that we have. So it’s literally repeat business – I’m the member of the committee, and every month we have a committee meeting and it’s on a Wednesday night and we just go there and it’s easy. There’s no reselling. We can just come back again and again and again. And they provide us with our own little room. That’s all we need. So corporate hospitality, there’s a lot of money to be made there and it really can make a big difference.
Tip Number 5: Local Groups
So who is out there who has a meeting on a Tuesday night and I’m saying all sorts of groups. Astronomy clubs, book clubs, martial arts club, anyone who meets on a night. And you can go to a local council and have a look at their directory of activities and find out who has got something going on a Tuesday night. Can you offer them a discounted set menu or just a set menu that’s for $25 for a main, dessert and a glass of house red. That sort of offer so that they can go and do what it is that they do and then they can come back and have a great meal and discuss it. Now you only need to get a couple of those in each month and you’re starting to create that impression that it’s a busier restaurant on a Tuesday nights. So pretty easy!
Tip Number 6: Happy Hour
Really, happy hour?! Is a huge thing in some cities. So in the United States there is a whole different sitting. Where people are in and out by 6 o’clock. In Australia, we’re not really that big on happy hour ‘cause a lot of the time it’s associated with alcohol sales and some people wanted to shoo away from that. Happy hour does not need to be about alcohol. Happy hour is about tapas, it’s about getting people in making the place look busy so that all of your walk in high traffic says “wow this place is busy!” There’s always a battle which I don’t think a lot of people know goes on but it’s those first two or three tables that you can fill. If you can get them in at 5:30 then you start to make the impression that your restaurant is busy. And there’s the people that walk by, they’ll go in. I remember going in to a restaurant a couple of years ago and the place next door was really busy – we had a reason for going to this restaurant so we went in there and they took us and they seated us right at the back and I thought “wow that’s really interesting!” ‘Cause I would have been putting us at the front so that everyone can see that we were in here eating. So that they can get more people. There is a fair amount of friction if you’re going to be the first person to walk in to a restaurant because in the back of your mind people are thinking “what’s wrong with this place?” None of the locals are eating in here. I think I’d better go to the place that’s busier. I think that’s where all the people in the now are going. And you need to break that that’s why happy hour’s so great! It gets the people in, they’ve come in for a cheap food, and they’re still eating at 6 o’clock! People don’t know that they’re coming in for full meal and you’ve broken that cycle you’ve got the people coming in and you’re on the way to having a busy night.
Tip Number 7: Theme Night
So by theme nights, I mean typically I’ve seen this worked really well for language theme restaurant. So a Chinese restaurant, a Spanish restaurant, if you’ve got staff that a native to the cuisine that you are selling then why don’t you only speak Chinese that night. And advertise that – reach out to schools who teach Chinese and say “at the first Tuesday night of every month we’re running a speak Chinese” so you can come in and you can order and will have fluent Chinese speakers there. I love these because you get away from selling food, now you’re selling an experience. And when you see someone, order something in a foreign language for the first time, “Ha, wow! Did you see that I just ordered a bottle of foreign wine. In Spanish or in Chinese. And you know what I’ve ordered out and it was the red wine. Yes! I did that!” Now that is so much more valuable than the red wine or the food that comes with it. That’s what makes it exciting and you can build a regular clientele because people have come there to practice Chinese. And the staff know that. So that works really well. If you can reach out to people who are trying to learn the language that you speak.
Tip Number 8: Coupon Marketing
So, we’re talking about coupons, Groupons all of those sort is a good thing. Now we’ll do podcast about best practices around this. But really quickly, I think that limiting it to the quiet nights, is a great way of filing the restaurant up. The other thing I think is really important is make sure that you get in the contact details of every single person who comes in with the Groupon. If you’re now doing that then you’re wasting a massive opportunity to find new customers with what you just done and turn them into repeat customers. So they’re Groupon customers and it’s very hard to get them to come back unless you run another Groupon campaign. If you don’t grab their contact details.
Bonus Tip: New Menu
So is there something that you can try to see how it works. It’s going to be really quiet which is the perfect time for trying out a new menu. I’ve seen restaurants that are saying “you know what we’ve got a completely new menu – we’re doing a degustation menu coming on a Saturday night. The house is full and the whole back of house and front of house don’t know whether they Arthur or Martha whether they’re coming or going because it’s the first time that they’ve done this. A quiet night is a really good opportunity to try it out because you’re not going to have a volume of customers that’s coming through that you would normally have. And also, it’s opportunity to reach out to your customers and say “you know what we’re going to try something new – we’d really love for you to come in.” and then they get a feeling that they’re actually working with you to develop a restaurant. And once again that’s a little bit more of an experience you know you around and personally ask everyone “so what did you think of this meal?” “what did you think of this dishes?” “Something that the chef’s trying out. Did you like it?” Were you happy with the size that came with it? Were you happy with the size of it?” People really like that experience and you can sell that as an opportunity for customers to come.
Now so, there you go we actually have nine there rather that the eight that we talked about. And that’s because at Marketing4Restaurants we always try to under promise and over deliver – so get a little one for free in there. With these and you will get sick and tired of me talking about this most of these things worked a lot better if you have a database.
So if you try out a new menu and you just stick it in the window, not many people are getting to know about it. If you send an email out to 5000 people you will only need one percent people to say “you know what I would like to try that new degustation menu” and you’ve got 50 people coming in. So the degustation menu, $75 a head, the average booking size 2.5, all of a sudden you’re making a significant money on a Tuesday night that you weren’t making but this is really the big problem that most restaurant face. You need a database of 5000 people. And I know a lot of people say “ah well you know what we’ve got our Facebook page.” Well what if the changes that have occurred over the last three years of Facebook and how well have you gone of getting organic reach.
A lot of restaurant hesitated to do Facebook marketing and realistically organic reach is becoming increasingly difficult to try so it’s the email addresses. And wasting time and time and time again. Restaurants with big databases generally take more bookings and use it. That’s the really big have it you. You got to put on that. There’s no point having 5,000 emails if you don’t send out emails. If you don’t come out with an offer. So we’re going to be covering that on a couple of podcast. How to build a database and also how to actually send out an email, put words that converts the drives traffic.
So look, I hope that you got something out there, please try them. Couple of things to do, check out the website marketing4restaurants.com/podcast you’ll find the show nights there with a checklist for Tuesday night marketing that you can download. Leave a comment or question or to know what you really like to hear – if you got something that you’ve used in your business to drive traffic on quiet days. All we do every day is talk to restaurant owners and we’d love finding out about new ways that people look at doing to marketing so if you got something then we’d love to hear from you. If you got any questions – reach out to us.
Lastly, we’d really appreciate it if you could leave an honest comment on what you thought of the podcast in iTunes. So we going to use this to make the best possible podcast to help you find new customers and turn them into repeat customers. So yes! Hope you got something out of it and until next podcast – we hope you had a really busy Tuesday night!
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