5 Ways To Promote Your Restaurant Without Discounts

Everyone loves a freebie, that’s fairly established, but all too often they can put a serious dent in your revenue margin.

So how do restaurant owners keep the customers happy without resorting to offering discounted meals and beverages all the time?

Promotion is simply defined as the publicizing of a product, organization, or venture so as to increase sales or public awareness.

If we break down some of the things you can involve yourself in as restaurateur, it can be easier to come up with a plan to promote without jeopardizing all you’ve worked for.

Hand In Hand

The reason many restaurants look into and ultimately decide to have partnerships as a part of their marketing plan is quite a simple one. Mutual benefit.

This may be the simplest form of ensuring your restaurant is visible in particular search engines and online sites, right through to written contractual obligations where the responsibilities and expectations between you are your partners are quite clear.

Partnerships can exist between entities with entirely different markets and products, but when aligned, complement each other with a view to greater brand understanding and awareness throughout a community.

One of the most well know partnerships are the ones established with an online booking site like OpenTable and other social vehicles such as Google+ and Facebook.

Don’t forget your local business community, as a player in the bigger picture.

With commerce organizations, you can partner to create a mutually beneficial ways to gain exposure to your town, not just your restaurant.

This helps with creation of employment, town unification and wealth.

Community Sponsorships

In the same way as partnerships of a formal nature create opportunity, so do sponsorships.

Communities are made up of differing subset communities; people enjoying different activities and involvement that bring a betterment to themselves and their town.

Sporting groups are high on peoples priorities, especially if the towns are family oriented.

By becoming a sponsor of the towns Little League team, for example, you can bring a kind of brand awareness and familiarity to your restaurant with the offering to have uniforms for the team emblazoned with your establishment as the main sponsor.

It shows community spirit, which you may already have, but this kind of visibility cements it.

Roll Up, Roll, Up

Many towns and cities have regular and annual events scheduled. Consider becoming a part of the festivities and get your name out there.

Even if the event is slightly out of town, it’s still worth it.

Annual fairs are a great way to introduce new menu items to your existing and potential customers and having a food stall can be a great way to make yourself more known to the locals.

If you offer locally grown produce, ensure that people are exposed to them. How else will they know?

The type of events are pretty much open to your imagination.

Town events, spectaculars, parades, and business trade fairs are all your marketing oyster.

Why not create your own?

Let Me Entertain You

Bands, and entertainers can give people a reason to stay on your premises for longer. Staying longer can equate to more food and drink being consumed.

Most communities will have bands or individual musicians looking for exposure. They may even do it for free, in exchange for a rehearsal venue one night a week.

They supply their own gear so generally it is no great outlay for the restaurant owner.

You never know you may be the discoverer of a major new talent.

People love live music. It gives the dining experience a boost, even if it is only once in a while.

Value Add

We are all caught up in this busy world and most certainly welcome a helping hand at the best of times.

Offering a time saving convenience can be a God send to busy families.

If you see an avenue to offer packaged foods from your restaurant, then test the market. Why not? You’ve got nothing to lose.

Picnic baskets, special event or occasion hampers can spark interest and really get tongues working about the convenience and tailored nature of your restaurant.

There are other ways restaurant promote their business with perceived added value for the customer. Offering customer a Service level Agreement is one way, but are mostly seen with the larger type food chains who can sustain a promotion of this kind.

You’ve probably seen them. We all know of pizza places offering delivery promises to entice customers.

“Delivered in 20 Minutes or its Free”.

You have to be pretty on the ball and have the staff and transportation down perfectly, though, if this is going to work for you.

There’s not much sense in putting all that effort in only to lose 20 percent of your sales to an unrealistic goal.

The moral of this story is not to write checks your staff can’t cash. It just causes anxiety.

Entitlement And The Modern Day Customer

So, the question beckons. Are there really ways to provide customer happiness without the addition of a discount as incentive?

All of the above would suggest yes, but it does take a bit of courage if your customers are used to receiving these kinds of incentives.

The last thing you want to happen is that customers wait until your meals are discounted, and don’t patron your establishment until they are given what they want.

But is it unfair of restaurants to hold back?

Is it a natural trait that us as human beings want more, but do we feel entitled enough to assume it be given to us?

It is an interesting topic, and there are plenty of people happy to weigh in on the conversation, especially when it pertains to the youth of this modern day.

“It’s the parent’s fault that Gen Y kids have a sense of entitlement”.

If we transpose this claim to a business arena and its customers, does the same blanket accusation apply to your customers?

Do we really teach our customers how to behave?

Do we subconsciously allow the customer the right to ask for, or expect discounted meals before they even walk through the door?

At the end of the day there is a lot to be said about offering discounts and the way in which people react to them, but this is a competitive, service driven industry and there always needs to be other less monetarily draining aspects to a successful marketing plan to ensure continued growth for all establishments.

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