7 Quick Ways to Breathe New Life into Your Restaurant Business 07/12/2015 Tips & Advice A fairly popular dream is to open a restaurant, especially for those who are passionate about food. Being able to cook your favourite dishes every day, and have customers enjoy what you’ve made, sounds like a wonderful idea. The reality is that it takes a great deal of hard work, money, and business knowledge, to get a restaurant off the ground. You then need to make sure your restaurant business remains successful as the majority of restaurants tend to fail in their first year. It’s important for companies to adapt and change to continue to attract their customers and to keep it interesting. Change doesn’t necessarily mean completely changing your whole restaurant, sometimes you just need to breathe new life into what you’re already doing. Here are just a few small changes you can make to give your restaurant a new lease of life. 1. Create Signature Items If you run a restaurant in a large city you want your customers to visit you over other restaurants, so you need to create something for them to come back for time and time again. Aim to become famous for one or two items and ensure that they’re made to an exceptional quality. If you plan to do any advertising or marketing for your restaurant make sure that these items are mentioned in any press coverage to help spread the word. An example of a brand putting a signature dish at the centre of their menu is London’s Herman ze German in London. Their famous Bockwurst sausage contains high quality ingredients imported from a German butcher. If you read any reviews of Herman ze German they nearly all mention the Bockwurst proving that it’s a popular dish! 2. Update Your Menu As well as creating signature dishes for your restaurant you should make sure that you update your menu regularly. Most restaurants update their menu every six months by adding a few seasonal dishes to the already existing menu. This will help to attract new customers and keep your existing customers interested in returning to your restaurant. 3. Establish an Online Presence A great way to reach out to your customers, and establish relationships with new ones, is to use social media. Social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, allow you to get involved in building relationships with your customers. By using social media you can also update your followers on any special offers or events happening in your restaurant. As well as engaging in conversation with customers who have visited, and if you receive any complaints, you can assist customers by using your social media platform to respond appropriately. Fellini, based in Brighton, use their Facebook page to connect with their customers, announce promotions and display clear photographs of their food. Fellini also run a successful campaign called ‘Secret Wednesday’, where they offer customers a 2 for 1 deal on main meals, but only if they arrive with a password that they can only get from their Facebook page: By running purely online campaigns like this Fellini are ensuring that their customers are encouraged to return to the brand’s social media account to access the new code for their next visit. 4. Redecorate Why not update your restaurant’s look with a new décor or theme? If the inside of your restaurant seems to lack personality try adding some new features. Brighten up your restaurant’s décor with attention-grabbing table tops, or quirky paintings, especially as this is what customers will be looking at while they wait for their food! If budget is an issue you could look to sourcing Additional Finance For Your Restaurant; or simply toning down your plans and sticking to giving your restaurant a fresh coat of paint instead? Colour can make a bold statement at an affordable price. 5. Create Clear Branding It’s essential for your restaurant to have a clear sense of branding so your customers instantly recognise your restaurant. Although a brand may not mean much to one restaurant location, if your plans are to expand to different locations in the future, then it’s important to have established your brand. Ensure that all your menus, products and any merchandise you may have, all show your restaurant’s logo or branding clearly displayed. An example of clear branding comes from the restaurant Zizzi, whose menus; logos and wall murals all have the same clear branding: 6. Head Outside A great way to generate new business for your restaurant is to head outside and entice new customers. I don’t mean harassing passers-by, I mean try offering samples to those that walk past, to let them know about your restaurant. This will help to entice them to your venue and make potential customers aware of your restaurant who might have normally passed by without noticing you. 7. Reward Your Customers Of course don’t just concentrate on attracting new customers to your business; reward your regulars for their custom. Returning customers are the foundation of any successful business so think of ways to collect customers’ email addresses and offer them incentives to return with special offers and upcoming events.