Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? This well known business rule stipulates that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clientele. This rule can generally be applied across all forms of business and should tell you that your creative restaurant marketing strategies should be aimed towards your existing customers.
When we hear about the 80/20 rule we might initially question it. However, word of mouth is by far the best form of advertising and people generally look for some kind of “social proof” before they choose to eat at a particular location. Television, newspaper and Internet advertising may be one thing, but people want to know that they are going to have a good experience and turn to others for their opinions.
If you choose to focus on your existing, good clientele, you can apply some creative restaurant marketing strategies to help spread the word. You just need to focus on some relatively small ideas and remember that it is those neat touches that people remember.
If you know that a very regular party is coming in for a special occasion, determine what this is and go the extra distance. For example, if it is a significant anniversary consider a special bottle of wine at the table when they arrive. If it is a Valentine dinner, a red rose for the lady would be great.
Look at the small costs of providing something free as an investment in your business future. People remember the little things and will undoubtedly tell their friends. This “knock on” effect is what you’re looking for when you employ creative restaurant marketing strategies.
Use every opportunity you can to place suggestive messages in front of your guests. Business owners often forget that people need to use the bathroom and as this is literally a confined space a strategic, subtle message displayed on the wall or on a mirror will be productive. Again, be subtle and think of how you can sow the seed of an idea with such a message.
These days social media is very important. You must have your own Facebook page for your restaurant and should also open a Twitter account. Publicize your site address on your check or bill receipt and suggest that people who sign up as members of your various sites may receive a special discount of some kind against a future purchase.
Always try and get the e-mail address of every visitor. If you can, determine their birth dates, month and day. Establish an automatic messaging system called an auto responder, sending out invites to the birthday boy or girl, offering a free meal. They will invariably arrive with others to celebrate and you will probably, once again, be introducing your great service to new prospects.