Busy Mexican restaurant to illustrate the idea of "grow your restaurant"
Maria Arnedo
By: marnedo
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15 Ways to Grow Your Restaurant Business

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“How can I grow my restaurant?” If you’re an owner or associate of a restaurant, big or small, it’s very likely you’ve asked yourself that question.  There are many different components in the functioning of a rentable food business, and it’s very important to dominate each one of them to have success. To produce constant and solid sales, and in this way to grow your restaurant, we leave you with some tips to stand out from renowned restaurants and other food shops.

15 Ways to Grow Your Restaurant

The good news about owning a small restaurant is that the sky is the limit. There are always opportunities to grow! The following tips and resources will help you:

1. Be innovative when it comes to your marketing strategies

Unfortunately, you can’t expect old marketing strategies to work for your flaming restaurant. You need to invest your efforts in finding innovative marketing strategies that will lead the traffic of clients to the physical location of your restaurant. Is your current plan not driving the sales you were hoping for? Then this is the moment to go back to the planning table. Try new methods, like Facebook ads or Instagram. Once you’ve tried different techniques of marketing, evaluate what works best to grow your restaurant.

Learn here how to market your restaurant to millennials

When it comes to being innovative, don’t stop in your marketing efforts. The last thing you want to do is mimic other restaurants in your area, even if their concept is a proven success. Stand out from the crowd and offer a unique experience. Think out of the box in every aspect of your management. Consider adding new, exciting items on your menu, spicing up the decor, or even organizing unexpected events that surprise your customers. When it comes to creativity, the sky is the limit!

2. Participate in local events

Create strong relationships with the people in your community by getting involved in local activities. Put up a stand in a local event or organize different activities in which the client can learn about the product you offer. They would be valid alternatives to making your small restaurant known in the community. These opportunities will let you meet your client face to face. If they feel they know you and your product, you will have a higher probability of having them as regular customers, and the mouth-to-mouth will do the rest. All these initiatives in your community will help you grow your small restaurant.

3. Host events

In a similar way to the point above, you can associate with organizations in your area to host community fundraising events or charity events. You’ll be doing something good for your community while creating a positive image that can bring more customers through your door. But the events can extend to cooking classes, sports games on TV, or speed-dating meetings: again, be creative. If you have an extra room or an area in your dining that can be enclosed for privacy, offer the possibility to host birthday parties or any other type of private celebration, with a group discount.

4. Reward your client’s loyalty

Use a customer loyalty program to recognize the clients that come back to your restaurant. By offering this, every time your clients come back, you will have more chances of having good opinions about your restaurant. It’s a simple way to help you grow your restaurant: your clients will be more likely to eat in your restaurant when they know they have a discount to take advantage of.

5. Make yourself active in the use of applications

How to grow your small restaurant when you only operate in a physical location? Simply put, you don’t. Generate additional sales by creating various profiles in applications oriented to the retail market like Amazon, Boxed, Fresh Direct or Buy Whole Foods Online. These applications will give you a platform to promote your product, and that way it can get to clients who don’t know your restaurant. Make sure to keep those profiles updated so your clients will always have content up to date from your restaurant.

There are other applications and software that are growing in popularity among restaurant owners. They can help you manage your business more efficiently improve your sales, so give them a try.

6. Consider the location of your restaurant

Without a prominent and convenient location, you can have problems attracting new clients and helping you grow your small restaurant. When you look for a location for your restaurant make sure to pick a building that’s visible to nearby highways, that’s accessible, and not hard to find. This, of course, will increase the probability of people seeing your restaurant and deciding to visit it.

Learn here how to set up your business on Google maps so it can be found online

7. Hire the appropriate employees

When clients visit your restaurant, they must receive a personal experience. This is something a lot of famous restaurants and other local food shops don’t offer and will make clients return to your place. With the intention of offering a first-class service, you will have to acquire qualified associates. Having and keeping competent employees will make your clients always feel taken care of when they visit your restaurant, and with this, you will help you grow your restaurant. 

In addition to the excellent restaurant service, don’t forget about the online service. Hire enough people so at least one of them can administrate the orders online. The clients online are just as important as the local ones and they deserve the same quality of assistance and service.

8. Ask for your clients’ opinion

Constructive criticism can help make your business prosper and can grow your restaurant. Send client satisfaction surveys and see why your clients appreciate your business. Also, clients can have suggestions about how you can make improvements. Perhaps they want to see more of one certain kind of dish, or they have noticed problems when making orders online. This feedback will help your business grow constantly, and your clients will be thankful that their opinion is being taken into account.

9. Create and maintain high sales by big orders

Have you ever noticed how even the smallest restaurants offer their most delicious dishes for parties or business reunions? You can also implement this strategy. Choose between your dishes the one you can offer in orders of big quantity, and offer it in beautiful and practical presentations, and at competing prices. Encourage your clients to visit your restaurant’s location or online page to buy your unprecedented offers. These sales will help you make your product known, make additional sales and, hopefully, satisfy the needs of your clients, making your business grow.

10. Offer entertainment

This is a proven strategy to get more customers through your door. One rule here: it has to be free entertainment. This investment doesn’t have to break the bank since many performers will agree to be on stage for free in return for exposure and advertisement. If you are not sure what route to follow, try to mix up the type of entertainment you offer your clientele (from magicians to stand up comedy or a local band) until you find a formula that works. Then you can work on a regular contract with the artist or artists of your choice. It doesn’t hurt to ask, either. Simply ask your regular customers what kind of live entertainment they would enjoy the most.

11. Offer happy hour

Customers attracted to happy hours at restaurants (that usually extend from 2 pm to 7 pm, depending on the establishment) don’t come just for the cheaper drinks. Consider that smaller portions of food and eating at non-traditional hours are new trends among customers, so take advantage of this. Along with reduced prized drinks, offer a simple happy hour menu. The food items here can be a selection of the same you offer at lunch or dinner, but in smaller portions and at more affordable and attractive prizes. Try to select those dishes that can be prepared quickly and easily shared without the need of using cutlery (or, in other words, finger food).

12. Offer food delivery options

Another great option to increase your sales. Your customers may already love your food but they may prefer to stay home most of the time. A food delivery app can solve this easily. Offer discounts and specials especially when you’re launching this service.

13. Offer free wi-fi

It’s no secret that more and more people these days work from home or remotely. Offering free wi-fi and properly displaying this (a simple sign in the storefront will do the trick) will create a base of loyal customers seeking for a different scenario to work on their laptops.

14. Be organized with your finances

If you wish to grow your restaurant, you must follow a strict budget. Make sure you are not wasting excessively in inventory, hiring too many employees or investing too much in services that are not worth it. By reviewing your companies spending, you may eliminate unnecessary cost, therefore, you can use that money in something better. In other words, you can make your business grow without carelessly wasting your profit and much less wasting your capital in a bad manner.

15. Take a business loan

Sometimes, it is necessary to spend money to make money. But if your business doesn’t have any extra money at hand to make some improvements, then this will be a struggle. This is the reason why you should consider asking for a loan for additional working capital. A lot of loaners will offer retail companies options for working capital to make their operations; this is an excellent opportunity to grow your restaurant. Once you have this additional business capital, you will be able to pay costs like hiring new employees, increasing inventory, or expanding the location of your restaurant. The improvements in your spaces are a good strategy to catch the client’s attention: a renewed space or a change in the facade makes clients want to visit you.

If you think this is the right time to apply for a business loan, just submit your online application. It will take you only a few minutes and it doesn’t involve any commitment. If you are prequalified, a business loan expert from Camino Financial will contact you to explain your options.

Now that you have reviewed this content about the ten ways to grow your small restaurant, it is time to apply them in your practice and get to work. Execute each of these strategies. Making your business grow may be a challenge, but it’s not impossible to achieve. Don’t get discouraged! Get inspiration from other restaurant owners that started from scratch, like Rosalía from World Empanadas or María from Taco Rico. They are the living proof of this fact: with hard work, planning, and organizing, your business will strive.

Want more tips? Learn here how to set your restaurant apart and beat your competitors!

Related Read: How much money do restaurant owners make? What is the Profit Margin in Restaurants?

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