Ten Ways To Get More Foot Traffic To Your Business
Foot traffic. That very phrase seems irrelevant over the past year of lockdowns and delivery services. But luckily, with restrictions lifting, COVID cases going down, and the restaurant industry feeling somewhat normal again, foot traffic has once again become an effective and affordable strategy for getting more people to your door. But going from almost everything being done online to having flesh and blood human beings crowd (or at least gather) to your place may prove challenging. But don’t stop reading yet- we’ve compiled a list of ten ways to get more foot traffic to your business and hope that by implementing them, you’ll become your city’s new best-kept secret.
Establish Your Community
Now, before we get into the nuts and bolts of attracting bystanders to your restaurant, you’ll need to hone in on the audience you already have and use their loyalty to attract newcomers. Think of a few of your most frequent guests (about 5-10, to start) and ask them to start spreading the word about your business on social media, yelp, or even just by word of mouth.
Communicate Your Hours
There’s an old saying that goes, “Repetition is the mother of learning.”. And it’s true- however annoying it can feel to repeat information over and over, communicating that you’re open for business as well as your hours of operation will make the information stick in peoples’ heads, thus creating more customers and foot traffic. Don’t be afraid to advertise your services through Facebook groups, bulletins, and even in the local newspaper. More views equal more people in your door!
Offer Free Samples
In the business world, the rule of reciprocation states that when we’re given something to hold, we are much more likely to buy the product because we feel we are in debt. A lighthearted way to incorporate this rule into your business strategy and get more people to your door is to offer free samples to curious potential customers. Not only will the gesture be appreciated, but people are not often remiss of a friendly face and delicious freebies.
Make Your Space As Attractive As Possible
Let’s face it- humans are shallow creatures. We like cute dogs, picturesque beaches, and will favor a designer jacket over a knockoff brand any day. Now, not everyone can afford marble floors, priceless art pieces, or custom lighting, but most business owners can decorate their space in a coherent, inviting way. What about your restaurant makes guests want to take a seat? Does your coffee shop have lots of living, exotic plants? Does your diner feature authentic vintage touches, from the entrance to the restrooms? Making your space look and feel a bit like a step outside of everyday life is all but guaranteed to bring more people in the door.
Create An Ambiance
In the last section, we went over just how crucial it is for a place to look inviting. But to get people itching to come in, you’ve got to add a little je ne sais quois to pique their interest and win their business. Of course, music is a must-have, and a great, unique playlist that can be heard inside as well as outside is sure to draw a couple of stragglers. To go the extra mile, consider the weather and seasons and how your guests might feel more comfortable at your place. In winter, turn on the heat lamps outside. In summer, try investing in a misting machine outside your entrance to make guests feel cool and collected (or at least make sure the AC works).
Go To More Events
This tip is more about publicity than it is about immediate foot traffic- make sure to attend every local event that you can. This includes farmer’s markets, city hall meetings, and even things as simple as local voting stations. Use every opportunity to organically create connections and talk about your restaurant. Remember- the more common ground, the better. You could even find other local business owners and invite them over for a glass of wine and conversation about recuperating in the wake of a pandemic. A sense of familiarity in your community could be an excellent move for your business.
Create Your Own Events
While you should offer special deals or even menu options on special days like Christmas Eve, Easter, and the fourth of July, try to incorporate a sense of celebration into more mundane days, too. For example, use the first Friday of each month to offer an exclusive dinner for two or use personal dates of significance such as an anniversary to create an exclusive cocktail menu for one weekend only. Everyone loves a good deal and using both ordinary and meaningful dates to offer specials makes guests feel gratified. Besides, people are more likely to bring along their friends on a day when the drinks are dirt cheap!
Be Strategic With Your Seating Arrangements
This one’s more practical than creative- place your guests strategically outside and in your front window, if possible. This will make your space seem more crowded than it is, and will, at the very least, get bystanders asking you if they can make a reservation.
Accommodate Everyone’s Needs
A key thing to remember is that when your place is attractive and inviting, you’ll be welcoming all kinds of people to your venue. If your guests don’t feel safe or well-cared for, they may not be coming back at all, let alone with their friends and family. Try investing in high chairs, allergy-conscious menu options, and wheelchair accessibility. Keeping your guests’ needs in mind and catering to them will make them remember you and your business, not just how great the breadsticks were.
See What Works For Other Businesses
The final tip on our list comes from an understanding of the need for perpetual improvement- look to other businesses you emulate and see what works for them. What might they be doing differently? What’s making more customers flock to their door? Analyzing what works for other places isn’t vain, it’s strategic. Just keep in mind that business owners aren’t meant to be enemies, but rather entrepreneurs who can help each other in their respective successes. Reach out to business owners near you either in person or on social media, and offer to buy them a coffee to pick their brain, if you feel inclined. There’s always room to grow, and communication is key to clarity!
Foot traffic is one of the best ways to spark intrigue in bystanders and get more people in your doors. With an open mind, a fighting spirit, and a keen eye for the needs of your guests, you’ll be filling your restaurant with bodies in no time. Of course, every place is different, and every restaurant has something unique to offer. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a few different endeavors to see what matches your brand and what resonates with your target audience. At the end of the day, your business is a great one, and foot traffic is just one of the many ways it can receive the recognition it deserves.