After a few months of restaurants being prohibited to allow patrons to “dine in”, most have been offering delivery or curb side pick up. These restaurants are still open for business but it looks like 90% of them have closed even though they are open. Here’s the deal. People are out walking more than ever now. The weather is turning and we are out and about, many of us dying to eat restaurant food. Just because people can’t sit inside your restaurant to eat doesn’t mean they won’t buy from you. Here are some tips on what restaurants should be doing NOW to get more business during the pandemic.
Put your Menu outside on a LARGE SIGN
I have passed several restaurants who are open for business but they have no menu posted on their door or on a sign. If they had, I most likely would have bought take-out from them that day. Maybe I didn’t have a mask in my pocket to go in, or maybe I didn't have my phone on me to search for them online or call them. If you have a lot of foot traffic outside your restaurant you will gain more customers by having your menu front and center as people walk by. Get a good quality large A-Frame sign for your menu that sits on the sidewalk and is clearly visible to people walking by. Make sure to put a call to action on the sign such as a phone number to order or an app to download etc.
Balloons get people’s attention. Purchase a $20 helium tank and fill up balloons every day when you open. Put them near your doors and windows of your restaurants and where your menu is posted to attract people. Kids love balloons and they will pull their parents to see them. This will give you more exposure and you’ll gain more customers because of it.
If allowed, put tables outside 6 feet away
When people see a patio they understand that your business is probably open, they are inclined to take a rest and they will most likely feel obligated to buy something from you if they do. Outdoor tables attract customers especially during this time when most streets are ghost towns from a business perspective. In the town where I live, normally every door is open, displays of merchandise are moved to the sidewalks, music is playing and foot traffic is hugely increased to these businesses. Right now no one is doing that. So be the first on your street to put some tables on the sidewalk and stand out!
Keep your door wide open
Some people go walking and don’t always bring their phones. (I know that sounds crazy but it's true!) They may pass a restaurant that interests them but can’t call in. If your door is open the customer can get your attention at the doorway. Many businesses during this time have missed out on revenue just from myself because their doors were not open. I don’t always have a mask in my pocket when walking or running but sometimes something may catch my eye that I want to buy. I can’t open the door and go in without a mask but if the door was open and the staff was accessible, I would have made the purchase. So keep it open and increase your revenue!
Play outdoor music
People love music! Especially during these dark times when most streets don’t have a lot of action. Be the first on your street to offer music to the foot traffic outside your door. People are drawn to music and will flock around the area to enjoy a few songs. This will draw attention to your brand, your store front and your menu! So pump up the outdoor tunes and draw more customers to your restaurant.
Other great tips to drive more traffic to your restaurant:
Questions or suggestions? Post your comments below!
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Desirae Haluk is passionate about marketing for startups and small businesses. For the last 15 years she has held marketing executive positions for organizations both large and small. She realizes that her true passion is helping establish, grow and evolve startups and small businesses to make them successful and help achieve their goals.