While third-party delivery platforms certainly play a part in connecting businesses to customers, this new wave of convenience doesn’t come without a cost - something that hospitality businesses know all too well.
There’s no question that since the onset of the pandemic, hospo’s have been doing it especially tough. And the constant struggle to balance everyday business needs with the increasing commission charges from third-party delivery platforms only adds more pressure.
But while there’s no sign of third-party delivery apps slowing down anytime soon, one of the best ways to balance the added costs of their sneaky surcharges is to shift your marketing focus to attracting some more good old-fashioned walk-ins!
Here are a few tried and tested methods to help you get more customers back on the ground and in-store:
✅ It’s what’s inside that counts!
All hospitality businesses know the importance of professional, high-quality food photography, but did you know that the same mantra applies to the inside of your restaurant. Don’t underestimate the impact that sharing photos of your cafe/restaurant online can have on attracting more foot traffic.
With the rise of online and social media marketing, customers often will check out your business prior to visiting to see what kind of ‘vibe’ you offer. Is it a quirky little cafe that’s perfect for catch-up with the girls? Or is it a kids-friendly dining space? By giving locals a sneak peek into the interior of your cafe/restaurant, you’re allowing them to get a ‘feel of the place’ before deciding, and this kind of transparency makes customers all the more likely to click on that ‘book now’ button.
✅ Keep your Google trading hours updated - on the regular!
Have you ever Googled a place to check their trading hours, only to arrive and find them closed? The disappointment is REAL; but it also goes further than that. Simply put, customers who find themselves frustrated at your storefront are less likely to return, even when you are open for business again. But the good news is that this scenario is highly avoidable, and by keeping your Google Business trading hours regularly updated, you’ll be able to do just this.
✅ Make reservations easy again
In this day and age, the majority of your potential customers will have checked you out online before making a booking - and just like the saying goes, first impressions matter! By ensuring that your business has a convenient and accommodating online booking process, you’ll be highlighting to customers that their in-person experience at your cafe/restaurant will be similarly enjoyable.
Take stock of your website, social media and Google platforms and make sure that the ‘make a booking’ option is clearly accessible for web visitors. And if you’re wary of cancellations and/or no-shows with online bookings, why not add a two-factor verification process to bookings by sending a confirmation SMS or email the day before - it enhances the customer experience even further.
✅ Set up mobile Order & Pay
If you haven’t done so yet, implementing apps such as me&u or Mr. Yum is a highly recommended move for hospitality businesses. These apps allow patrons to use QR codes to order and pay for food directly to their table, and not only does this help maintain social-distancing measures within your restaurant, but it also improves overall customer experience! As highlighted by recent research, 67% of people prefer self-service over traditional ordering methods. After all, self-service apps such as these increase efficiency, reduces waiting times and helps avoid order errors - and an added bonus is that the digital menu format can be easily updated as seasons and/or stock levels change.
✅ Reward your loyal customers
We all know that it’s so much easier to sell to repeat customers than attracting new ones, that’s why implementing a rewards program/system for your loyal customers simply makes sense. You can encourage customers to join too by offering an ‘instant’ reward on sign-up, e.g. a first-order discount or free upgrade. Not only do your customers get a little reward just for choosing you, but you also win the trust of a repeat customer! And the best part is that repeat customers promote your business without costing you a cent on marketing. It’s a win-win!
✅ Start that Facebook event
Nothing drives customers to your doorstep quite like a freebie - no matter how small! Whether it’s a Free Coffee, $2 Tuesdays or a Kids Eat Free kind of promotion, you should never miss an opportunity to spread the word on Facebook! And no need to spend any money on advertising, simply create an event, invite your friends and followers and ask them to share the love! Free advertising that’s just a few clicks away? We’ll RSVP ‘Yes’ to that.
We’d love to hear how you’ve used these tips and tricks (or others) to help boost your business! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your marketing inspirations and get a shoutout (i.e. free promo!) on our blog today.