Got good food? That’s half the battle won for your restaurant when it comes to pleasing the discerning taste buds of your diners. Thankfully, the other half is much easier to win. Apply these simple tips and tricks!
1. Make your marketing efforts goal-focused
Even if it means not every action directly brings business to you – or, if some actions bring business to others.
According to a social media report, while a good majority of users are willing to, and do follow brands, over 60% of them get annoyed when brands push out too many in-your-face marketing promotions that scream, “It’s all about me, me, me!”.
Take for instance: A giveaway contest on social media to urge customers to share your restaurant’s post – say, an image of your most Instagram-worthy dish – for a chance to win a $50 voucher for your restaurant. Compare this to one that’s offering a $50 shopping mall voucher as a prize. What you’re trying to achieve is to spread the word, and the latter promotion is more likely to hit your goal since everyone would love to spend at a shopping mall, while not everyone loves your restaurant (yet!). Never mind that a shopping mall voucher doesn’t directly bring business to your restaurant. When the likes and shares on social media start pouring in, you’re reaping much more marketing value.
2. Redesign your menu
The average time a customer spends reading your menu is a mere 100 seconds, so make it count.
Making your menu look nice is one thing, but menu design is as much of a science as it is an art. Menu engineers (yes, that’s a thing) have cracked the code of customer psychology and found that customers tend to spend the most time looking at the first and last items on your menu. Another sweet spot: The top right-hand corner of your menu, which is why it’s advisable to place your most profitable dish, or the dish you want customers to order the most, at this prime real estate.
3. And put it online
Curry, anyone? The full menu of each of Thai Affair’s 3 outlets are easily viewed on their website.
Why put your menu on your website? The question should be: Why wouldn’t you? It’s key marketing material that’s otherwise just lying around, gravely underutilised. Reports found that about almost 70% of restaurant-goers regularly check out a restaurant’s menu online before deciding whether or not to visit. If information about your restaurant isn’t readily available online, you’re losing a lot of potential customers without even knowing it.
Another golden rule: NEVER upload your menu as a download file. It’s not only a hassle for users to have to download a file in order to see your menu (First world problems are still problems, ok?), it’s also not search engine-friendly. Your menu may hit all the keywords to rank highly organically, but it won’t count for anything as Google can’t crawl for text in the file.
4. Migrate your back-of-house operations online, too
Here’s what else should go online: You.
More and more players in the F&B industry, from restaurants and cafes themselves to suppliers to the logistics folks, are coming to see the value in bringing F&B operations to digital platforms. In the recent Specialty & Fine Food Asia 2018 trade show, we brought together industry experts to discuss the impact of a technology-empowered way of managing back-of-house restaurant operations (Zeemart is one such tool!). Traditionally manual ways of ordering ingredients, keeping inventory and managing food costs arguably work, but going digital is all about making good things better.
Read more about it here!
5. Make cohesive decisions
Dining out in a restaurant is an entire sensory experience, to which every element of your restaurant counts. If you’re a dim sum spot that wants to attract the Swee Choon-loving millennial foodies, blaring Top 30 English Hits probably wouldn’t work in your favour. The disjointed ambiance becomes distracting instead, contributing to a less pleasurable overall dining experience.
The better path to take would be to create an enveloping mood that’s consistent with your brand. Staying one step ahead in Singapore’s competitive F&B industry means paying close attention to the non-food elements as well. The proof is in the pudding: dynamic, concept-based restaurants form a growing trend in Singapore. The AutoBus, a bicycle-themed cafe along Shenton Way, goes for a simple, no-frills space with self-order kiosks, suited for sporty office workers looking for a healthy lunch before continuing about their day. It’s nothing like the dimly-lit, playful 8 Korean BBQ, which replicates an authentic exuberant, lively Korean barbecue experience. But both work in different ways to bring out a certain character that’s consistent with their brand concept.
Of course, the food is the star of the show at any restaurant. But every other little thing, from your menu layout to the napkins on the table, plays a huge supporting role. Never underestimate the power of that role!