Operating a successful restaurant is no small feat, and the fruits of your labor are dependent on a variety of factors. Quality food and constantly good service coupled with the incentivization of loyalty and a good location should be enough to get you your share of local customers. But what happens when you’ve hit your local ceiling? What about acquiring new customers? Below are three tips to find new customers for your restaurant and bar.

1 . Prioritize Alternate Audience Locations

Simply opening up an additional location may not always be feasible, but there are opportunities to target prospects in select geographic areas. Begin with a little research. Prioritize a group of locations and identify the potential size of the audience and the competition in those areas.

Once your priority locations or zip codes have been identified, consider the following:

  • Location Pages – Creating specific landing pages with a map, call to action, and copy tailored to respective geographic locations can help your website rank for those related keywords without sacrificing the focus of the rest of your website. Make sure to submit your website for a recrawl so Google can better find these pages.
  • Add Locations to Google – Your Google My Business listing has a section dedicated to service areas in which you can plug in some of these additional locations. This will help your listing to come up in search results for IP addresses in those areas.
  • Take a road trip – If you have the means, consider hitting the road with a food truck or participating in food events, like local Chamber “Taste of” opportunities, where you can highlight favorite menu items. This can go miles in getting your brand name out there. Leverage social media to let prospects know you’re in their area.

2 . Position Your Restaurant for More Reviews

New prospects are going to Google “food near me,” and one of the factors that help your local ranking capability is reviews. Google’s best interests are those of searchers, and they are much more likely to display restaurants and bars with positive reviews than compared to establishments with a mediocre total rating. Make sure you’re managing and improving your reputation by doing the following: 

  • Solicit More Reviews – While you cannot incentivize reviews, you can certainly make the process easy. Make sure you have links to “Review us on Google” throughout your website and marketing materials. Have your staff encourage satisfied customers to leave a review. Don’t be content with simply what you have in regards to positive reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the more you can buffer out the bad ones and save your overall rating. QR codes are making a comeback. Consider a QR code at each table that customers can scan to leave a quick review.
  • Monitor All Reviews – While negative reviews can be infuriating, gut-dropping day-ruiners, a negative review of a restaurant is virtually inevitable. Have negative review responses ready. It’s best to thank the person for the feedback (even if you don’t want to) and nudge the conversation off of the review platform. Ex: “We’d love to hear more about your experience. Please contact us at…”
  • Don’t Forget About the Positives! – Responding to positive reviews is just as important as the negatives. Doing so in a timely manner not only makes the reviewer feel valued, but also let’s others reading your reviews (potentially new customers) know that your establishment is engaged and grateful.

3 . Incentivize Sharing

Your best restaurant marketers are the customers themselves. According to a Referral Rock article and a study conducted by Talk Triggers, “83% of Americans say that word-of-mouth recommendations from friends or family members make them more likely to purchase that product or service.”

Make sure to explore all capabilities for incentivizing your customers to share their experience via social media and email marketing. Here are some incentive examples:

  • Giveaway for those who tag a certain number of friends in a social media post
  • Coupons for email subscriptions
  • Engagement opportunities in which users post about their favorite memory at your restaurant
  • Monitor any tags for your restaurant so you can post and share, promoting a culture of engagement

Restaurant Insurance Customized Just For You

At Society Insurance, we know that your business is your livelihood and we’re here to help you protect it. Our comprehensive restaurant insurance  and bar insurance is tailored to the unique needs of your operation. To learn more, get in touch with your local Society agent.

Additional Resources