A delightful ambiance paired with a quirky menu isn’t really all it takes to run a successful hospitality business, not in this day and age of so many options, competing brands, and changing trends. Marketing a cafe or a restaurant today requires you to consider the customer’s pace of life, their habits, their buying preferences, but also your competitors, their offers, and what they, pardon the pun, bring to the table. Boosting your own sales means combining that knowledge into actionable strategies that will ultimately help you not just increase your bottom line, but that will also improve your reputation in your community, and make sure that you truly stand out.

From improving your business’s efficiency, operations, web presence, and customer service, all the way to introducing innovative menu items, you can certainly give your restaurant a fresh look and feel this year, and bring more people your way. Here are a few ideas that you can put to use within your existing marketing strategy, and certain innovative solutions to keep in mind when you need to enhance your productivity and brand image as well.

Enable and Encourage Online Orders

Visiting your snug cafe nook with a Kindle in their hand is certainly one of your customers’ favorite winter scenarios. Then again, enjoying the jazz pianist’s performance in your restaurant is more than enough to get more people to book a table. Alas, sometimes, in this age of convenience and immediate gratification, we want to stay in and order in: so, give your customers the chance to do just that, and they’ll stop perceiving your business as a place they can only experience outside of their comfort zone, also known as their home.

You can join different ordering platforms, but you can also create your own dedicated mobile ordering app that will enable online orders as well as loyalty programs and integrate it into your existing system. Make sure that your app is easy to use and consistent with your brand, so that your customers can enjoy the same experience when they choose to order in. 

Tech Up Your Business

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Technology has empowered every single sphere of our lives, and hospitality is no different, especially with point-of-sale systems (also known as POS). With that in mind, restaurants and cafes alike need to step up to the tech growth that is disrupting the industry, in order to grow and reach more people. Add to that, tech enables these establishments to run smoother operations, reduce errors, and make the ordering process simpler. To make all of this happen, introducing a POS system for cafe can make all the difference in eliminating delays, simplifying the ordering process, and keeping the menu clean and flexible. 

This single integration helps not just your staff that communicates with customers, but also simplifies the payment for the customers directly, and enables you access to data analytics so that you can spot and utilize different customer trends within your business. 

Craft Clever Loyalty Programs

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Customer loyalty takes time to build, but it also doesn’t happen “just because”. As a business, you need to continuously give more reasons to your customers to come back to your restaurant, to stop by your cafe on their way to work or to order food from your place online. To entice them to such high levels of loyalty, you need targeted campaigns to achieve just that. Why? Because loyal customers can spend up to 67% more than new customers in your restaurant, meaning that they are ideal for boosting your profits.

Loyalty programs have the opportunity to increase visits by 35%, so you should get creative and make them personalized to appeal to each individual customer. For example, sending unique coupons they can then use in your POS system after every fifth purchase is a great start. Giving them a free muffin with their coffee from time to time, a free umbrella with your logo or a birthday surprise are all segments of the same loyalty system you should create. 

Use Reviews to Your Advantage

Even though everything you do should be in favor of making your customers happy, sometimes they’ll need more reassurance if they’re about to book a table to propose to their significant other, sign a business deal, or simply make an impression. Your previous customers are the best people to provide that assurance through their own reviews. Plus, various online platforms such as TripAdvisor and Yelp provide a perfect space for customers to make or break your reputation one comment at a time.

It’s vital that you inspire and encourage customers to post reviews, and you should ask for permission to publish them on your site, as well. Also, don’t miss out on the chance to respond to criticism to clear your name when it’s necessary, as well as express your gratitude for praise. 

Final Thoughts

The hospitality industry is certainly on the rise, and with more cafes and restaurants popping up everywhere, the need to market and sustain your own business is greater than ever. To boost your sales, but also increase your brand relevance, use these marketing and innovation solutions that will help you inspire loyalty in your existing customers and attract new ones on a regular basis. 

Featured image credit: Unsplash.com

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Sophia Smith

Sophia Smith is beauty and lifestyle blogger, an eco-lifestyle lover, graphic designer and a DIY enthusiast. Design plays a huge role in her personal expression. Sophia loves sharing meaningful content that educates and inspires people. She has contributed to a number of publications including: Women Love Tech, Cause Artist, Carousel and Viva Glam Magazine.

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