Improving Your Restaurant’s Website Can Increase Foot Traffic – 5 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Restaurant

Optimizing your online presence starts with improving your website. Your website, social media pages, blog, reviews, and online ordering system can help you reach a wider audience more quickly and build more brand awareness and loyalty.

Customers like to visit a restaurant's website before visiting or placing an online order. The most important part of your website may be the menu presentation. The menu is often the most important part of the website, and it should be easily accessible from the front page, include all relevant information about each dish, and be visually appealing to customers.

tips and tricks for improving SEO rankings for restaurant

Refresh your website on a reasonable cadence to highlight your brand. Making it easy to navigate, viewable on mobile devices, and making it visually appealing can help attract potential customers. Obvious essential information such as your location, an easy-to-read menu, your hours of operation, contact information, and some graphic elements including photos to give potential customers a first impression of what’s in store for their dining experience.

Local SEO for Increasing Visitors to Your Restaurant’s Website

There are many web browsers, but Google’s dominant market share of over 80% means the most bang for your buck will come from focusing on it. Most Operators know the value of local SEO optimization. Optimizing a website for local search engine optimization (SEO) is required to appear higher in location-specific queries when potential new customers are performing a local restaurant search.

The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Success: Optimizing Operations, Maximizing Profits, and Building a Loyal Customer Base

🔓 Unlock the secrets to restaurant success with actionable strategies for optimizing operations, maximizing profits, and building a loyal customer base.

Download Resource

How Local SEO Works for Restaurants

Google ranks 4 general factors to match hungry restaurant searchers with suitable local venues based on their search criteria.

  1. Relevance: the relation (or not) of the keywords or search questions a searcher uses in their web search. Think “local Italian Restaurant.”
  2. Distance: the data Google has on a user's proximity to a restaurant in that search.
  3. Prominence: how important Google thinks a business is compared to its competitors, and
  4. Quality and relevance of information about the restaurant

Then, Google displays two types of search results for these local searches: the 3-Pack and organic results.

Local SEO Restaurant Search: Italian Restaurants Near Me

You’re looking for an Italian Restaurant. Entering “Italian restaurants near me” in the browser delivers:

The ‘local 3-pack’ results are where you want to be. The organic results, which are still ‘page 1’ results and very positive, are just below.

Roughly, the top factors that Google’s algorithm takes into account to display the 3-Pack listings for this search are your Google Business Profile, online reviews, and relevant restaurant directory listings. So getting into the 3-Pack is the holy grail, and ‘page 1” should be a goal right behind that.

Updating Your Google My Business Listing, the 3-Pack, and First Page

Research shows that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

So… the first step to getting to the first page is optimizing your Google My Business page if you have not already done so. For those who have NOT updated their business profile, Google My Business is a free tool from Google that allows you to manage your online presence on Google. By claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing, you can increase your visibility in Google search results, improve your local SEO, and attract eyeballs to your website and more visitors to your restaurant. This can be achieved by using keywords and phrases that people would use when searching for restaurants in their local area.

5 Popular Local SEO Tools to Choose Your Keywords and Improve Your Local Search

Restaurant owner is reading about SEO strategy for restaurants


There are plenty of online tools and applications to improve your keywords, your local SEO results, and digital traffic to achieve the 3-Pack. Below are some of the most popular:

Semrush: Semrush is an online visibility management platform that enables businesses to improve search engine optimization, content, pay-per-click, social media, and competitive research. Semrush offers sophisticated keyword insights to optimize web, email, and social media marketing. Semrush has over 87,000 paying customers. Pricing: A free trial is available, with 5 tiers of pricing from free to $499.95.

Birdeye: Birdeye is a reputation and customer experience platform for local businesses and brands. Over 100,000 businesses use Birdeye’s platform to effortlessly manage online reputation, connect with prospects through digital channels, and gain customer experience insights to grow sales and thrive. Pricing: There are 3 levels of pricing, starting at $299 per month.

Yext: Yext is an ‘Answers Platform’ that leverages complementary listings, pages, reviews, and search to deliver relevant answers where customers look for your information. Yext helps customers create the right content across search engines, websites, mobile apps, and other potential customer touchpoints. Pricing: There are 4 price plans, ranging from $4 to $19 per week.

SE Ranking: SE Ranking is SEO software that features a set of tools for keyword position tracking and keyword research, website audit, competitor analysis, keyword suggestion and grouping, backlink monitoring, automated professional reporting, and more. Over 700,000 users use SE Ranking. Pricing: There are 4 price plans, ranging from $4 to $19 per week.

Tips and Tricks for Improving Your Restaurant’s Local SEO

Create Social Media Pages: Creating and updating social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you find more customers by showcasing your restaurant, menu, and showcase upcoming events.

Online Ordering: Offering online ordering and delivery services can help make it more convenient for your customers to order, improves your local SEO, and increases overall business.

Online Reviews: Encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews on online review sites like industry favorite Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google can help boost your restaurant's online reputation and attract more business.

Online Engagement: Engaging with customers on social media by responding to comments and reviews, hosting giveaways, and sharing behind-the-scenes content can help build customer loyalty.

Local SEO: Optimizing for local search by using Google My Business, local directories, and ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly can help your restaurant rank higher in search results. Improving your restaurant's local SEO can help it appear higher in search results when people search for restaurants in your local area. As mentioned, here are some immediate ways you can improve your local SEO:

  • Claim and Optimize Google My Business: Optimizing your Google My Business listing by adding accurate and complete information such as your restaurant's name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and photos can help it appear higher in search results.
  • Get Listed in Local Directories: Getting listed in local directories such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable can help improve your restaurant's local SEO by increasing its visibility to potential customers.

Create Local Content: Creating local content such as blog posts or videos that focus on topics related to the local community can help improve your restaurant's online presence by increasing its relevance to the local audience.

Optimize for Mobile: Optimizing your restaurant's website for mobile devices will make it easier for customers to find and access your restaurant on their mobile devices.

Online Restaurant Directories To Improve Your Online Presence


There are many online directories that you can use to improve your online presence and attract more customers. Here are some of the best online directories for restaurants to use:

  1. Google My Business: Your best first step… Google My Business is a free tool that restaurants can use to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps. It's one of the most important directories for restaurants to be listed on because it's often the first place people use to search for local restaurants.
  2. Facebook: Facebook is another important directory for restaurants because it's often used as a social hub for local communities. Create a Facebook page to engage with customers, share updates, and promote events.
  3. Yelp: Yelp is a popular review site that allows customers to leave reviews and ratings for local businesses, including restaurants. Having a positive presence on Yelp can help restaurants attract more customers and improve their online reputation.
  4. TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor is another popular review site that you can use to improve your restaurant’s online presence. It's particularly important for restaurants that cater to tourists because many travelers use TripAdvisor to find local restaurants.
  5. OpenTable: OpenTable is an online reservation service that allows customers to book tables at restaurants. Listing a restaurant on OpenTable can help attract more customers and make it easier for people to find your restaurant.
  6. Zomato: Zomato is a popular restaurant directory that allows customers to search for restaurants by location, cuisine, and price.

The Importance of Loyalty Programs for Restaurants

Implementing a loyalty program can be an effective way for you to retain customers, increase repeat visits, and boost revenue. Here are some widely proven loyalty program strategies:

Points-based Program: A points-based program rewards your customers with points for every purchase they make. Once they accumulate a certain number of points, they can redeem them for rewards such as free meals or discounts on future purchases.

Tiered Program: A tiered program rewards your customers based on the level of their loyalty. For example, customers who make a certain number of purchases or spend a certain amount of money can be elevated to a higher tier, which offers more exclusive rewards such as access to special events or personalized offers.

Birthday Rewards: Offering your customers a special reward or discount on their birthday is a great way to show appreciation for their loyalty and encourage them to visit the restaurant on their special day.

Referral Program: Encouraging your customers to refer their friends and family to the restaurant can be a powerful way to attract new customers. By offering rewards for referrals, restaurant owners can incentivize customers to spread the word about their business.

Gamification: Gamification involves using game-like elements such as badges, leaderboards, and challenges to make the loyalty program more engaging for customers. For example, customers could earn badges for trying new menu items or for visiting the restaurant a certain number of times in a month.

Personalized Offers: Using data and analytics to personalize offers and rewards for individual customers can help make the loyalty program more relevant and appealing to them. For example, offering discounts on their favorite menu items or sending personalized messages on their anniversary with the restaurant.

Restaurants Increase Traffic with Specials, Promotions, and Special Events

restaurant owner welcoming people


Much of restaurant culture is ultimately based on the customer experience, and many potential customers are willing to try out a new restaurant if they can experience something new. An offshoot of this is that many potential customers will take a “risk” on a new restaurant if there’s an offered benefit or “first visit discount.”

So offering daily specials and promotions can help drive traffic during slower periods and incentivize customers to visit more frequently. Some common specials and promotions are:

Coupon-Based Discount Campaigns: Many potential customers are willing to try out a new restaurant if they can do so at a bargain price. Offering a significant discount for a meal or offering certain parts of it for free via your website or social media promotion can be initially costly, but they can generate new and loyal customers. You might also offer coupons via receipt after new customers dine in to incentivize them to return.

Event-Based Promotion: Hosting events and entertainment can be a great way for you to attract new customers and increase business. Here are some event and entertainment ideas that restaurant owners can stage:

  • Live Music: Hosting live music can be a great way to create a fun and lively atmosphere. Depending on the size of your restaurant, you can hire local musicians or bands to perform a range of music styles that cater to your customer's preferences.
  • Trivia Nights: Did you know the question “What is the smallest planet in our solar system?” is a question that might drive more traffic to your restaurant? Hosting a weekly or monthly trivia night can be a fun and engaging way to bring customers together and encourage repeat visits. Owners can hire a trivia host or create their own quizzes and offer prizes or discounts to the winning teams.
  • Wine Tasting: Hosting a wine-tasting event can be a great way to showcase your wine selection and educate customers on different varietals and pairings. You can partner with local wineries or distributors to offer a range of wines to taste and purchase.
  • Cooking Classes: Hosting cooking classes can be a unique and educational way to attract customers who are interested in learning new culinary skills. Your chef or local guest chefs can teach classes on a variety of topics such as pasta-making, sushi-rolling, or cake decorating.
  • Themed Parties: Hosting themed parties can be a fun way to create a festive atmosphere and attract customers who are looking for a unique dining experience. You can create themed menus, decor, and costumes to enhance the experience. Think about Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day – a costume contest can be a way to draw in new customers.
  • Charity Events: Hosting charity events can be a great way to give back to the community while also promoting your brand and attracting new customers. It’s also a positive way to create press about your restaurant. Inviting local charities or non-profit organizations to host fundraising events such as benefit dinners, auctions, or raffles is a great way to increase traffic.

Network with Local Businesses to Attract New Customers to Your Restaurant

Partnering and collaborating with other local businesses can be a powerful way for you to increase traffic to your restaurant. Here are some proven concepts for how restaurant owners can collaborate with other local businesses:

Engage Local Influencers: Influencer marketing is an increasingly effective way to promote a business, especially when customer satisfaction is crucial. Research your geographical area, find the most successful online influencers, and invite them to review your restaurant. Their followers and credibility can increase your brand awareness and bring in more customers.

Cross-Promotions: You can partner with local businesses to cross-promote your adjacent products or services. For example, a restaurant owner could partner with a local brewery to offer a discount on a beer flight with the purchase of a meal, or with a local dessert shop to offer a free dessert with the purchase of an entree.

Event Collaborations: Collaborate with other local businesses to host events together. For example, you could partner with a local florist to host a flower-arranging workshop followed by a meal at the restaurant, or with a local bookstore to host a book club meeting with a specially curated menu. Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day comes to mind for revenue-generating opportunities for event collaborations.

Co-Branded Merchandise: Collaborating with other local businesses to create co-branded merchandise you can sell. Partnering with a local coffee shop to create a branded coffee mug that customers can purchase, or with a local boutique to create a branded tote bag.

Social Media Collaborations: Think about the synergy created by collaborating with other local businesses on social media to promote your brands and drive traffic to your respective businesses. A common tactic is for a restaurant owner to partner with a local fitness studio to offer a free “healthy” meal to customers who post a photo of themselves working out at the studio and tag both businesses on social media.

Community Events: Think about collaborating with other local businesses to participate in community events, like street fairs, festivals, or farmer’s markets. By setting up a booth or food truck at the event, you can introduce your brand to new customers and promote your business to a wider audience.

Proven Restaurant Referral Programs to Increase Traffic

Offering incentives to customers who refer friends and family to the restaurant can help generate new business through word-of-mouth. Even staff can be helpful in referrals.

Creating a referral program is an effective way for you to increase business by encouraging existing customers to refer your restaurant. Here are some common strategies for creating a successful referral program:

Offer Incentives to customers to refer their friends and family to the restaurant, such as a free appetizer or dessert, a percentage off their next meal, or a gift card.

Make it easy to refer their friends and family by providing them with referral cards to hand out, including a referral link in email marketing campaigns, or using a referral app that allows customers to share the restaurant's information with their network.

Promote social media referrals to encourage customers to share their dining experiences and tag your restaurant. Offer incentives for customers who share the restaurant's information on their social media accounts, such as a free dessert or a discount on their next meal.

Networking with other local businesses to cross-promote each other's referral programs. For example, a restaurant owner could partner with a local gym to offer incentives for customers who refer new members to the gym.

Track referrals and offer rewards promptly to encourage continued referrals. Send personalized thank-you notes to customers who refer new business to the restaurant.

Make it personal and provide a personalized experience for the referred customer by offering a special welcome message, a complimentary appetizer or drink, or a personalized note from the restaurant owner.

Bottom line… creating a referral program is a great way for you to increase business by leveraging your existing customer base and customer advocates. By offering incentives and making it easy to refer, you can encourage your customers to spread the word about your restaurant, ultimately leading to increased traffic and revenue.

Increasing Profitability for Your Restaurant with Delivery Services

During the pandemic, restauranteurs found ways to increase business through third-party food delivery services. Some found it a way to generate more revenue by expanding their reach and offering delivery to customers. Important was the evaluation of how the different food delivery services available to them affected profitability and choosing one that best fits their business model.

Any Owner/Operator who launched a third-party delivery service during the pandemic can tell you to do your homework first. Choosing the best online delivery service is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. Much like a traveler seeking an Italian restaurant when visiting a new locale, there are some steps to do your due diligence and find the right delivery service for your business:

Research each one to determine which would be the best fit for your restaurant. Look for services that have a good reputation and are well-known in your area.

Check the delivery fees and commissions because each varies. Look for services that offer fair and reasonable rates that won't eat into your profits too much.

Make sure the online delivery service user experience is intuitive and has an easy-to-use interface to place orders. This can be a critical factor in attracting and retaining customers.

Analyze the available marketing opportunities offered by online delivery services to help promote your restaurant to its user base. Look for delivery services that offer these types of opportunities to help increase your restaurant's online visibility and local SEO presence.

Go online and search for reviews. Online reviews of the abundant delivery services available will give you an idea of how they perform. You should also consult your professional network and ask other restaurant owners for their experiences.

Once you've identified a finalist, negotiate the terms of the partnership. Ask about any discounts or special deals they can offer.

Here are some of the most well-known food delivery services that restaurant owners choose:

Uber Eats is a popular food delivery service that partners with restaurants. Restaurant owners can go online and set up their menus on the platform and pay a commission fee for each order that is placed.

Grubhub is another online option that allows customers to order from local restaurants.

DoorDash partners with local restaurants to easily expand delivery services to customers.

Postmates offers delivery from local restaurants, grocery stores, and more to help you reach more customers.

Caviar is another web-based delivery service that allows restaurants to offer delivery to customers.

Seamless is yet one more delivery service that can help grow your restaurant.

Conclusion

Ultimately, running a restaurant is running a business. In these competitive times, it makes sense for Owner/Operators to experiment with ways to increase both foot traffic and web traffic.

Improving your website and online presence are well-known cornerstones of increasing your traffic and increasing profitability.

But there is a wide spectrum of tasks that can improve traffic and profitability. Consider adding to the formula to improve your local SEO by using local directories and review sites. Be sure to update your Google Business Profile. Add new online tools to your marketing efforts to improve your keywords and local search results. Implement or improve your loyalty program. Up your restaurant's promotional, event, and local business networking efforts to draw in new customers. Create a referral program. Launch a third-party delivery service.

These are all proven steps to improve your traffic and improve your profitability.

About MarketMan

MarketMan’s roots in restaurants and foodservice are the foundation of our cloud-based inventory management and purchasing software. MarketMan simplifies all back-of-house operations, streamlining everything from inventory management to budgeting, reporting, supplier management, and food costing. For more info, visit https://www.marketman.com/

Improving Your Restaurant’s Website Can Increase Foot Traffic – 5 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Restaurant

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Optimizing your online presence starts with improving your website. Your website, social media pages, blog, reviews, and online ordering system can help you reach a wider audience more quickly and build more brand awareness and loyalty.

Customers like to visit a restaurant's website before visiting or placing an online order. The most important part of your website may be the menu presentation. The menu is often the most important part of the website, and it should be easily accessible from the front page, include all relevant information about each dish, and be visually appealing to customers.

tips and tricks for improving SEO rankings for restaurant

Refresh your website on a reasonable cadence to highlight your brand. Making it easy to navigate, viewable on mobile devices, and making it visually appealing can help attract potential customers. Obvious essential information such as your location, an easy-to-read menu, your hours of operation, contact information, and some graphic elements including photos to give potential customers a first impression of what’s in store for their dining experience.

Local SEO for Increasing Visitors to Your Restaurant’s Website

There are many web browsers, but Google’s dominant market share of over 80% means the most bang for your buck will come from focusing on it. Most Operators know the value of local SEO optimization. Optimizing a website for local search engine optimization (SEO) is required to appear higher in location-specific queries when potential new customers are performing a local restaurant search.

The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Success: Optimizing Operations, Maximizing Profits, and Building a Loyal Customer Base

🔓 Unlock the secrets to restaurant success with actionable strategies for optimizing operations, maximizing profits, and building a loyal customer base.

Download Resource

How Local SEO Works for Restaurants

Google ranks 4 general factors to match hungry restaurant searchers with suitable local venues based on their search criteria.

  1. Relevance: the relation (or not) of the keywords or search questions a searcher uses in their web search. Think “local Italian Restaurant.”
  2. Distance: the data Google has on a user's proximity to a restaurant in that search.
  3. Prominence: how important Google thinks a business is compared to its competitors, and
  4. Quality and relevance of information about the restaurant

Then, Google displays two types of search results for these local searches: the 3-Pack and organic results.

Local SEO Restaurant Search: Italian Restaurants Near Me

You’re looking for an Italian Restaurant. Entering “Italian restaurants near me” in the browser delivers:

The ‘local 3-pack’ results are where you want to be. The organic results, which are still ‘page 1’ results and very positive, are just below.

Roughly, the top factors that Google’s algorithm takes into account to display the 3-Pack listings for this search are your Google Business Profile, online reviews, and relevant restaurant directory listings. So getting into the 3-Pack is the holy grail, and ‘page 1” should be a goal right behind that.

Updating Your Google My Business Listing, the 3-Pack, and First Page

Research shows that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

So… the first step to getting to the first page is optimizing your Google My Business page if you have not already done so. For those who have NOT updated their business profile, Google My Business is a free tool from Google that allows you to manage your online presence on Google. By claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing, you can increase your visibility in Google search results, improve your local SEO, and attract eyeballs to your website and more visitors to your restaurant. This can be achieved by using keywords and phrases that people would use when searching for restaurants in their local area.

5 Popular Local SEO Tools to Choose Your Keywords and Improve Your Local Search

Restaurant owner is reading about SEO strategy for restaurants


There are plenty of online tools and applications to improve your keywords, your local SEO results, and digital traffic to achieve the 3-Pack. Below are some of the most popular:

Semrush: Semrush is an online visibility management platform that enables businesses to improve search engine optimization, content, pay-per-click, social media, and competitive research. Semrush offers sophisticated keyword insights to optimize web, email, and social media marketing. Semrush has over 87,000 paying customers. Pricing: A free trial is available, with 5 tiers of pricing from free to $499.95.

Birdeye: Birdeye is a reputation and customer experience platform for local businesses and brands. Over 100,000 businesses use Birdeye’s platform to effortlessly manage online reputation, connect with prospects through digital channels, and gain customer experience insights to grow sales and thrive. Pricing: There are 3 levels of pricing, starting at $299 per month.

Yext: Yext is an ‘Answers Platform’ that leverages complementary listings, pages, reviews, and search to deliver relevant answers where customers look for your information. Yext helps customers create the right content across search engines, websites, mobile apps, and other potential customer touchpoints. Pricing: There are 4 price plans, ranging from $4 to $19 per week.

SE Ranking: SE Ranking is SEO software that features a set of tools for keyword position tracking and keyword research, website audit, competitor analysis, keyword suggestion and grouping, backlink monitoring, automated professional reporting, and more. Over 700,000 users use SE Ranking. Pricing: There are 4 price plans, ranging from $4 to $19 per week.

Tips and Tricks for Improving Your Restaurant’s Local SEO

Create Social Media Pages: Creating and updating social media pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you find more customers by showcasing your restaurant, menu, and showcase upcoming events.

Online Ordering: Offering online ordering and delivery services can help make it more convenient for your customers to order, improves your local SEO, and increases overall business.

Online Reviews: Encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews on online review sites like industry favorite Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google can help boost your restaurant's online reputation and attract more business.

Online Engagement: Engaging with customers on social media by responding to comments and reviews, hosting giveaways, and sharing behind-the-scenes content can help build customer loyalty.

Local SEO: Optimizing for local search by using Google My Business, local directories, and ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly can help your restaurant rank higher in search results. Improving your restaurant's local SEO can help it appear higher in search results when people search for restaurants in your local area. As mentioned, here are some immediate ways you can improve your local SEO:

  • Claim and Optimize Google My Business: Optimizing your Google My Business listing by adding accurate and complete information such as your restaurant's name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and photos can help it appear higher in search results.
  • Get Listed in Local Directories: Getting listed in local directories such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable can help improve your restaurant's local SEO by increasing its visibility to potential customers.

Create Local Content: Creating local content such as blog posts or videos that focus on topics related to the local community can help improve your restaurant's online presence by increasing its relevance to the local audience.

Optimize for Mobile: Optimizing your restaurant's website for mobile devices will make it easier for customers to find and access your restaurant on their mobile devices.

Online Restaurant Directories To Improve Your Online Presence


There are many online directories that you can use to improve your online presence and attract more customers. Here are some of the best online directories for restaurants to use:

  1. Google My Business: Your best first step… Google My Business is a free tool that restaurants can use to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps. It's one of the most important directories for restaurants to be listed on because it's often the first place people use to search for local restaurants.
  2. Facebook: Facebook is another important directory for restaurants because it's often used as a social hub for local communities. Create a Facebook page to engage with customers, share updates, and promote events.
  3. Yelp: Yelp is a popular review site that allows customers to leave reviews and ratings for local businesses, including restaurants. Having a positive presence on Yelp can help restaurants attract more customers and improve their online reputation.
  4. TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor is another popular review site that you can use to improve your restaurant’s online presence. It's particularly important for restaurants that cater to tourists because many travelers use TripAdvisor to find local restaurants.
  5. OpenTable: OpenTable is an online reservation service that allows customers to book tables at restaurants. Listing a restaurant on OpenTable can help attract more customers and make it easier for people to find your restaurant.
  6. Zomato: Zomato is a popular restaurant directory that allows customers to search for restaurants by location, cuisine, and price.

The Importance of Loyalty Programs for Restaurants

Implementing a loyalty program can be an effective way for you to retain customers, increase repeat visits, and boost revenue. Here are some widely proven loyalty program strategies:

Points-based Program: A points-based program rewards your customers with points for every purchase they make. Once they accumulate a certain number of points, they can redeem them for rewards such as free meals or discounts on future purchases.

Tiered Program: A tiered program rewards your customers based on the level of their loyalty. For example, customers who make a certain number of purchases or spend a certain amount of money can be elevated to a higher tier, which offers more exclusive rewards such as access to special events or personalized offers.

Birthday Rewards: Offering your customers a special reward or discount on their birthday is a great way to show appreciation for their loyalty and encourage them to visit the restaurant on their special day.

Referral Program: Encouraging your customers to refer their friends and family to the restaurant can be a powerful way to attract new customers. By offering rewards for referrals, restaurant owners can incentivize customers to spread the word about their business.

Gamification: Gamification involves using game-like elements such as badges, leaderboards, and challenges to make the loyalty program more engaging for customers. For example, customers could earn badges for trying new menu items or for visiting the restaurant a certain number of times in a month.

Personalized Offers: Using data and analytics to personalize offers and rewards for individual customers can help make the loyalty program more relevant and appealing to them. For example, offering discounts on their favorite menu items or sending personalized messages on their anniversary with the restaurant.

Restaurants Increase Traffic with Specials, Promotions, and Special Events

restaurant owner welcoming people


Much of restaurant culture is ultimately based on the customer experience, and many potential customers are willing to try out a new restaurant if they can experience something new. An offshoot of this is that many potential customers will take a “risk” on a new restaurant if there’s an offered benefit or “first visit discount.”

So offering daily specials and promotions can help drive traffic during slower periods and incentivize customers to visit more frequently. Some common specials and promotions are:

Coupon-Based Discount Campaigns: Many potential customers are willing to try out a new restaurant if they can do so at a bargain price. Offering a significant discount for a meal or offering certain parts of it for free via your website or social media promotion can be initially costly, but they can generate new and loyal customers. You might also offer coupons via receipt after new customers dine in to incentivize them to return.

Event-Based Promotion: Hosting events and entertainment can be a great way for you to attract new customers and increase business. Here are some event and entertainment ideas that restaurant owners can stage:

  • Live Music: Hosting live music can be a great way to create a fun and lively atmosphere. Depending on the size of your restaurant, you can hire local musicians or bands to perform a range of music styles that cater to your customer's preferences.
  • Trivia Nights: Did you know the question “What is the smallest planet in our solar system?” is a question that might drive more traffic to your restaurant? Hosting a weekly or monthly trivia night can be a fun and engaging way to bring customers together and encourage repeat visits. Owners can hire a trivia host or create their own quizzes and offer prizes or discounts to the winning teams.
  • Wine Tasting: Hosting a wine-tasting event can be a great way to showcase your wine selection and educate customers on different varietals and pairings. You can partner with local wineries or distributors to offer a range of wines to taste and purchase.
  • Cooking Classes: Hosting cooking classes can be a unique and educational way to attract customers who are interested in learning new culinary skills. Your chef or local guest chefs can teach classes on a variety of topics such as pasta-making, sushi-rolling, or cake decorating.
  • Themed Parties: Hosting themed parties can be a fun way to create a festive atmosphere and attract customers who are looking for a unique dining experience. You can create themed menus, decor, and costumes to enhance the experience. Think about Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day – a costume contest can be a way to draw in new customers.
  • Charity Events: Hosting charity events can be a great way to give back to the community while also promoting your brand and attracting new customers. It’s also a positive way to create press about your restaurant. Inviting local charities or non-profit organizations to host fundraising events such as benefit dinners, auctions, or raffles is a great way to increase traffic.

Network with Local Businesses to Attract New Customers to Your Restaurant

Partnering and collaborating with other local businesses can be a powerful way for you to increase traffic to your restaurant. Here are some proven concepts for how restaurant owners can collaborate with other local businesses:

Engage Local Influencers: Influencer marketing is an increasingly effective way to promote a business, especially when customer satisfaction is crucial. Research your geographical area, find the most successful online influencers, and invite them to review your restaurant. Their followers and credibility can increase your brand awareness and bring in more customers.

Cross-Promotions: You can partner with local businesses to cross-promote your adjacent products or services. For example, a restaurant owner could partner with a local brewery to offer a discount on a beer flight with the purchase of a meal, or with a local dessert shop to offer a free dessert with the purchase of an entree.

Event Collaborations: Collaborate with other local businesses to host events together. For example, you could partner with a local florist to host a flower-arranging workshop followed by a meal at the restaurant, or with a local bookstore to host a book club meeting with a specially curated menu. Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day comes to mind for revenue-generating opportunities for event collaborations.

Co-Branded Merchandise: Collaborating with other local businesses to create co-branded merchandise you can sell. Partnering with a local coffee shop to create a branded coffee mug that customers can purchase, or with a local boutique to create a branded tote bag.

Social Media Collaborations: Think about the synergy created by collaborating with other local businesses on social media to promote your brands and drive traffic to your respective businesses. A common tactic is for a restaurant owner to partner with a local fitness studio to offer a free “healthy” meal to customers who post a photo of themselves working out at the studio and tag both businesses on social media.

Community Events: Think about collaborating with other local businesses to participate in community events, like street fairs, festivals, or farmer’s markets. By setting up a booth or food truck at the event, you can introduce your brand to new customers and promote your business to a wider audience.

Proven Restaurant Referral Programs to Increase Traffic

Offering incentives to customers who refer friends and family to the restaurant can help generate new business through word-of-mouth. Even staff can be helpful in referrals.

Creating a referral program is an effective way for you to increase business by encouraging existing customers to refer your restaurant. Here are some common strategies for creating a successful referral program:

Offer Incentives to customers to refer their friends and family to the restaurant, such as a free appetizer or dessert, a percentage off their next meal, or a gift card.

Make it easy to refer their friends and family by providing them with referral cards to hand out, including a referral link in email marketing campaigns, or using a referral app that allows customers to share the restaurant's information with their network.

Promote social media referrals to encourage customers to share their dining experiences and tag your restaurant. Offer incentives for customers who share the restaurant's information on their social media accounts, such as a free dessert or a discount on their next meal.

Networking with other local businesses to cross-promote each other's referral programs. For example, a restaurant owner could partner with a local gym to offer incentives for customers who refer new members to the gym.

Track referrals and offer rewards promptly to encourage continued referrals. Send personalized thank-you notes to customers who refer new business to the restaurant.

Make it personal and provide a personalized experience for the referred customer by offering a special welcome message, a complimentary appetizer or drink, or a personalized note from the restaurant owner.

Bottom line… creating a referral program is a great way for you to increase business by leveraging your existing customer base and customer advocates. By offering incentives and making it easy to refer, you can encourage your customers to spread the word about your restaurant, ultimately leading to increased traffic and revenue.

Increasing Profitability for Your Restaurant with Delivery Services

During the pandemic, restauranteurs found ways to increase business through third-party food delivery services. Some found it a way to generate more revenue by expanding their reach and offering delivery to customers. Important was the evaluation of how the different food delivery services available to them affected profitability and choosing one that best fits their business model.

Any Owner/Operator who launched a third-party delivery service during the pandemic can tell you to do your homework first. Choosing the best online delivery service is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration. Much like a traveler seeking an Italian restaurant when visiting a new locale, there are some steps to do your due diligence and find the right delivery service for your business:

Research each one to determine which would be the best fit for your restaurant. Look for services that have a good reputation and are well-known in your area.

Check the delivery fees and commissions because each varies. Look for services that offer fair and reasonable rates that won't eat into your profits too much.

Make sure the online delivery service user experience is intuitive and has an easy-to-use interface to place orders. This can be a critical factor in attracting and retaining customers.

Analyze the available marketing opportunities offered by online delivery services to help promote your restaurant to its user base. Look for delivery services that offer these types of opportunities to help increase your restaurant's online visibility and local SEO presence.

Go online and search for reviews. Online reviews of the abundant delivery services available will give you an idea of how they perform. You should also consult your professional network and ask other restaurant owners for their experiences.

Once you've identified a finalist, negotiate the terms of the partnership. Ask about any discounts or special deals they can offer.

Here are some of the most well-known food delivery services that restaurant owners choose:

Uber Eats is a popular food delivery service that partners with restaurants. Restaurant owners can go online and set up their menus on the platform and pay a commission fee for each order that is placed.

Grubhub is another online option that allows customers to order from local restaurants.

DoorDash partners with local restaurants to easily expand delivery services to customers.

Postmates offers delivery from local restaurants, grocery stores, and more to help you reach more customers.

Caviar is another web-based delivery service that allows restaurants to offer delivery to customers.

Seamless is yet one more delivery service that can help grow your restaurant.

Conclusion

Ultimately, running a restaurant is running a business. In these competitive times, it makes sense for Owner/Operators to experiment with ways to increase both foot traffic and web traffic.

Improving your website and online presence are well-known cornerstones of increasing your traffic and increasing profitability.

But there is a wide spectrum of tasks that can improve traffic and profitability. Consider adding to the formula to improve your local SEO by using local directories and review sites. Be sure to update your Google Business Profile. Add new online tools to your marketing efforts to improve your keywords and local search results. Implement or improve your loyalty program. Up your restaurant's promotional, event, and local business networking efforts to draw in new customers. Create a referral program. Launch a third-party delivery service.

These are all proven steps to improve your traffic and improve your profitability.

About MarketMan

MarketMan’s roots in restaurants and foodservice are the foundation of our cloud-based inventory management and purchasing software. MarketMan simplifies all back-of-house operations, streamlining everything from inventory management to budgeting, reporting, supplier management, and food costing. For more info, visit https://www.marketman.com/

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