Creating a customer base for your new restaurant can be a challenge. Advertising campaigns that involve TV commercials and radio or newspaper ads are quite costly. However, there are no-cost marketing strategies you can use to stimulate business.
Sampling is a good way for new restaurants to introduce their product to the neighborhood. It allows you to talk about the restaurant, too, and build a relationship with customers. Beware of introductory promotions, though. They position you as a discount restaurant, and if this is not your goal, it is best to avoid discount pricing altogether.
Promotions can be offered in the form of themed dinners, guided wine pairings, or course of the day offerings. These types of promotions help lure customers in on particularly slow nights.
Placing a bowl at the host desk for customers to leave either comment cards or their business cards allows you to view feedback and act progressively; it also allows you to build a customer database. Finally, do not ignore social media. You can provide incentives for customers who check in at your restaurant and post your promotions on the Internet.
About Justin Ayars: Justin Ayars is the founder and owner of 2113 Main Street, LLC, the first restaurant in Richmond, Virginia, to embrace the restro-lounge concept. Ayars is also the founder and managing member of Tinker, LLC, a Richmond woodshop, and J.J. Jitterzz Koffee Kompany in Williamsburg.