Bringing in new customers is just as important for bar/restaurant owners as retaining loyal patrons. Not only does this result in more business, but it helps build community by bringing together like-minded people to achieve the ultimate goal of any hospitality-orientated business: to sustain an environment where people can have a good time, socialize, drink tasty beverages, and eat great food.
Here are 5 cost-effective tips to help you maximize your resources and generate business exposure to bring new faces to your bar or restaurant.
1. Have an Engaging Social Media Presence
For those businesses that aren’t already online, create business accounts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to generate an online fan base and increase your business’ public exposure. Today, many people find new bars/restaurants to visit exclusively through online search tools/apps. They use products like Yelp, Foursquare, TapHunter, or even a quick Google search to find new places to try. By establishing an online presence, you can increase your business’ visibility in your community and expose your business to potential customers who are surfing the web or using business locator apps, just waiting to stumble upon a bar or restaurant like yours! And by staying up to date on social media, you engage your customer base, both old and new, further building up your community and telling fans about upcoming events, specials, and new drinks on tap.
2. Host Events for your Community
If your bar has TVs, make good use of them! Spread the word when you play popular televised events at your establishment, considering what current and potential customers in your community will want to watch while out enjoying a pint or a cocktail. Post to social media that you will be showing these events at your business. For example, the upcoming Superbowl on February 1st is a great example of a major televised event that you can broadcast at your establishment, creating a community event that is fun for your patrons and good for business. Promoting your bar/restaurant as a gathering place for games or shows can quickly make your business the go-to place for these types of events.
3. Prepare Food/Beverage Tastings
Food and drink pairings aren’t just for wine anymore. Whether you serve wine, beer, or spirits, food pairings with these beverages are on the rise. People enjoy the expertise that bar/restaurant owners have in regards to these pairings. Also, it is an opportunity for you to switch things up or reorganize your menu in a way that is unique to your business. People enjoy the excitement of something new, and you can provide that excitement by hosting a beverage and food pairing event. Post to social media about your event, and get ready to meet and greet new faces in your community! Engage new and current customers alike by sharing your beverage expertise, and understanding of why certain libations go well with certain foods. Your customers will appreciate the information and be impressed by your prowess, which encourages them to come back.
4. Review Sites/Apps + Customer Testimonials
Keep an eye on review sites/apps like Yelp, and beverage review apps like TapHunter and Untappd to stay in the loop with what your patrons are saying about their experiences at your business. Note the positive reviews, keeping track of what your customers liked about your service, menu, or space, and continue those practices. Conversely, note any negative reviews/comments. Take negative customer feedback as constructive criticism. Respond on social media, in a timely way, with gratitude for the feedback and request that the customer come try your business again for an improved experience. How does this help you gain new customers? As mentioned above, potential customers who are checking reviews and ratings to find somewhere to grab a drink will read your business’ reviews, and could base their decisions to visit your location on those reviews. Awareness of both positive and negative feedback helps you make business decisions that please your customers going forward, which should result in positive reviews for you. And positive reviews about your business will bring in new customers!
Just like review sites, existing customers who have continually enjoyed their visits and had good experiences at your business can lend helping hands in garnering new business. Customer opinions can be shared throughout the community in a couple different ways. Like mentioned above through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. But also through word of mouth, so make sure your loyal customers are leaving happy everytime they visit because this will prompt them to tell their friends, family, and post to their social media accounts all things positive about your business.