Even if your ambition is only to boost your existing restaurant business or start a new food service business from scratch, your goal is to use new strategies to gather new customers. According to a survey by NEXT, 64% of restaurant-goers have intentionally chosen local restaurants over chains. This fact means your small restaurant has plenty of opportunities to draw in this market.

Unfortunately, many modern methods of growing your business are too time-consuming and expensive. Outwardly ideas like radio spots or newspaper ads seem great, but these channels cover too wide of an audience. This means you may not get the best return on your investment in advertising expenses because you can’t be sure you’re getting in front of the right audience. Luckily, this article will share some excellent information for attracting customers without being overly expensive.

Partner Up with Local Businesses

A roadblock many restaurants bump into when using discounts or other specials to push sales is the cost. One way to fix this is to pair with others in the nearby business community and create publicity. You, as a food service venue, are ideal partners for fun places like escape rooms and movie theatres.

Offer Free Wi-Fi Access

A big mistake is undervaluing the strength of the internet. It’s a great idea to share the internet to promote your specials and regular menu items. Offer Wi-Fi access to your patrons! Doing this simple thing can get people to your tables and keep them there longer.

Create E-mail Incentives

Limiting your marketing because you are a brick-and-mortar business and not accessing online avenues is terrible for sales. The quickest and least complicated way to build a customer base is to gather signatures and e-mails via a sign-up sheet. You could also include a sign-up link on your social media, like Instagram, Facebook, and your webpage.

Get the Most Out of Your Business Hours

If it’s not already a steady habit, you should track your sales and note when your profits are highest. Finding and tracking macro trends in your customer’s habits will help you get the most out of your earnings. For example, offering specials and coupons during the slowest times of the week can transform those times into some of your most profitable.

Ensure Your Restaurant Is Always Ready for Business

Providing steady and excellent service is the best way to keep patrons coming to your business. This level of service means that you are ready to deal with challenges that would keep your business from operating at its top performance. One thing that protects your customers, employees, and operations against surprises is investing in business insurance.

As an illustration, living in an area that often falls victim to inclement weather with power outages could cause you to lose an entire inventory to spoilage. Getting back to business again and saving your restaurant may only be possible with the help of insurance.

The following are the best coverage options for your restaurant:

General Liability Insurance: Liability insurance assures that you’re protected from any harm you or your business may cause someone other than yourself. This harm could be property damage, bodily accident, or even injury from advertising.

Commercial Property Insurance: If the unexpected were to happen, having commercial property insurance would replace not just the cost of all your stuff in the restaurant but the building itself.

Liquor Liability Insurance: What if you or one of your staff were to serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person? Then that person causes some sort of accident to someone or something? Liquor liability insurance will cover the cost to make things right.

Spoilage Insurance: Spoilage is a concern in the restaurant business. However, spoilage insurance can protect you from losing everything if your inventory spoils.

Business Interruption Insurance: If your business ever has to close up shop for a covered reason, business insurance will pay you a benefit.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Employees will inevitably get injured on the job. Worker’s compensation insurance pays for lost wages, hospital, and doctor stays if a worker has a work-related injury.

Food Contamination Insurance: There can be financial losses if your food is wrongly stored, mishandled, or if you get a shipment carrying a food-borne illness. Food contamination insurance can cover these financial losses.

Business Owner’s Policy: A BOP, or Business Owner’s Policy, is a grouping of small insurance policies that protect your business from all types of liabilities at a lower cost.

Usually, insurers include general liability, commercial property, and business interruption in these bundles. However, you may be able to have additional coverages included.

Invest in an Online Ordering App

While not the cheapest option to encourage diners to order from your establishment, online order apps are almost an expectation in the food industry. They’re convenient and make delivery possible for your business without having to hire additional staff. This technology has revolutionized how families get their food.

Luckily there are many already established apps that will fit in with your business for food delivery and online ordering. Companies like Uber and Grubhub are popular food delivery services you can tap into and keep your patrons coming back for food.

Use Your Restaurant to Host Major Events

You want to create warm memories of your restaurant with the locals. One way to do this is to host special events. For example, if you have T.V.s available, consider hosting a sports night, like Monday Night Football.

No T.V.s? You can still create events that draw the locals to your watering hole. Holidays such as Valentine’s Day offer the opportunity to create an exciting menu with special pricing. Events such as this can have call-ahead seating that might sell out weeks in advance.

Consider Restaurant Give Aways

Giving away appetizers or desserts for free to any person who crosses your threshold will cost you lots of money. A better idea is to hand out gift cards. The cost of these can be better controlled and still promote your business effectively.

If you hear of a local charity or school holding a fundraiser or auction, offer a $20.00 gift card. Be the surprise a 10th caller gets by donating gift cards to a radio station. Your business will benefit by putting your name out there, and these small gifts will bring in patrons that might have passed up your restaurant.

Begin Your Restaurant Business on the Right Foot

As the owner of a newly opened café or fine dining establishment, you’ll quickly learn it takes more than good food and excellent service to attract diners. Finding success in a highly competitive industry like food service requires out-of-the-box thinking and a desire to connect with the community you serve.

It also requires your restaurant to be reliable and always ready for business. You can achieve this goal and never leave patrons hungry by carrying comprehensive business insurance to ensure your operations run smoothly and weather difficult times successfully.

If you don’t already have coverage, be sure to speak with a knowledgeable small business insurance representative that is familiar with the restaurant industry. They can offer helpful insights into the available coverages and how these risks might affect your business.