The Forecast for the Restaurant Industry in 2017 is Cloudy with Little Chance of Growth.
According to market research company The NPD Group, restaurant operators are “really going to have to step out of the box—be innovative” to convince customers to choose restaurant dining over cooking a meal at home this year.
Increasing sales in the current economic climate is a challenge. However, there are many ways smart restaurant owners can avoid becoming just another statistic in a tough operating environment.
Here are three clever ways restaurant owners can overcome the odds against them and successfully grow restaurant sales fast in 2017
1-When it comes to marketing, work smarter (not harder).
Easier said than done? Not with all the technology and innovation available to small businesses. It’s time for restaurant owners and managers to start growing sales through better, more efficient marketing.
Other customer service-based industries, such as retail, have already realized automated digital marketing is the way to go. One eMarketer study found 75% of retailers in agreement “that their digital marketing spend has a higher return on investment than traditional offline marketing.”
Remember, today’s restaurant guests (89% of them, according to the National Restaurant Association) are checking out restaurants online before they visit in person, making a strong digital presence essential for reaching diners. Frequent, valuable social media posts, event calendar updates, emails, and promotions all help hungry patrons find their next restaurant meal, and grow restaurant sales fast in the process.
2- Step up your take-out and delivery game.
To-go sales can account for up to 12% of a restaurant’s total sales (franchisedirect.com), so restaurant owners shouldn’t make attracting to-go guests an afterthought. In fact, current trends suggest the off-premise segment is growing. Smart restaurant owners must take advantage of the opportunity to grow sales through take-out and delivery.
In Nation’s Restaurant News, Red Robin CEO recently stated, “Today’s guest is defining convenience as the option to choose whether to enjoy food at the restaurant, carry it out, or have that same food delivered…. Today’s successful restaurant is both a preferred destination and a convenient source.”
Restaurant owners who want to attract more off-premise business should embrace takeaway and delivery meals. Make phone etiquette and upselling a priority when training staff on takeout orders. Ensure to-go boxes and bags are as eco-friendly as possible, durable enough to withstand a car ride and always in stock. With new third-party delivery services popping up constantly, restaurants can even outsource delivery and still remain a guest favorite.
3- Reward your loyal guests with personalized offers.
Ever heard the expression “It’s cheaper to keep them?” According to qsrmagazine.com, loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones. Yet most restaurants spend a huge portion of their marketing budgets trying to attract new diners.
Loyalty programs are a popular way to offer restaurant guests an incentive to return in the future. One of the top reasons why consumers participate in loyalty programs is they offer relevant rewards (Colloquy). Restaurant owners should find out what loyal guests want most and give it to them!
The only way to serve loyal guests the personalized offers they want is to understand them better. The most efficient way to capture the relevant guest data you need is via intelligent guest Wi-Fi A smart email marketing platform can organize and segment guest data so restaurant owners can send the right offers to the guests who want to receive them.
The restaurant industry forecast for 2017 may not call for rapid growth, but forward-thinking restaurant owners can still grow restaurant sales fast by adapting to guest expectations in the dining room and beyond.