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The 8 Best Ways to Attract New Diners

As fewer people are dining out nowadays, how does the average restaurant owner manage to keep attracting new clientele?

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Best ways to attract new diners
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The catering world is in trouble. It has been in trouble for consecutive years since the brink of Covid-19. With little help on the horizon and home dining the new norm, how can your catering company find new business? What can you do to attract new diners? This article explores reasons why business is slow and covers ways to bring in that business.

Covid had a Negative Impact on Catering

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The restaurant business was tough before 2020. That year, over 10,000 diners, grills, and steakhouses across America closed their doors for the final time. It was a huge loss to the industry and one which Western society has never fully recovered from. The rise of the dine-at-home experience and apps such as Just Eat and UberEATS have taken their toll on consumers still interested in good food.

If eating in is the new eating out, where does that leave a restaurant still dealing with the aftermath of COVID-19? It has been such an uphill struggle for the average restauranteur that it is amazing any eateries still exist today. 

Rising Cost of Living Affects Catering

However, those that are still treading water are not in the clear yet. Business is slow as the cost of living rises. The last two years have seen skyrocketing rates in everything from gas to green beans. The simple cost of paying utility bills has put some businesses out of trade already – and things only stand to get worse.

How to Attract New Customers in Catering

Among all these ongoing situations, how does the modern catering business keep its head above water? These 8 tips to get back on track could be the answer.

1 – Update Uniforms and Branding

Take a step back and look at how your business presents itself. In the foodie world, cleanliness is next to godliness. The cleaner, brighter, newer, and happier your employees present themselves as, the better the first impression. Consider new hostess uniforms, chef uniforms, and signage. If cashflow is a problem, a good scrub will do.

2 – Deep Clean or Paint

The best way to give your returning customers that refreshed, clean, bright feeling they want to know your building is hygienic, close for a day and deep clean everything, top to tail. When you walk into a restaurant and you smell cleanliness mingled with good food, you are immediately at ease. 

3 – Update Your Menu

Tastes change over time so that same roast beef you made in 2005 won’t meet the expectations of the 2023 diner – no matter how tasty it is. Roast beef will bring in the older crowd, but what about younger guests? They don’t want rump anymore, they want Wagyu. Look at your menu and have a shuffle. The best restaurants keep their menu seasonal and change four times per year or more. What can you introduce to attract new diners?

4 – Online Booking

If a restaurant doesn’t have an online booking service, then guests might not want to know. Millennials hate calling people. Give them an online booking option and watch sales rise.

5 – Grow Your Digital Presence

For some reason, industry 4.0 has taken a long time to filter down to the catering industry. Many cafes, diners, and restaurants don’t have a website these days. This is a huge, missed marketing mistake. Set up your website, update it with your menu changes, let people leave reviews, and answer questions through your site. It’s another tool to harness new clientele. 

6 – Social Media Marketing

It is not enough to have a Facebook account and barely use it nowadays. Your bigger competitors are on every site there is. TikTok, Instagram, and even LinkedIn are the better options. Facebook attracts your older customers, Instagram your Millennials, and TikTok your Gen Z. Gen Z are now at the age where they are spending their student loans, so keep them in mind as a new marketing opportunity

7 – Collaborate 

Every eatery needs a cab to take the diners home at the end of the night. Hotels need restaurant details and offers to entertain their guests. Every tourist information office wants details of what to do in town – and you could fill those needs with teamwork.

8 – Host Local Events

Don’t just facilitate community meetings that already take place. Instead, create your own events and invite guests of honor from the local community. For example, run a survey where locals can nominate a local hero to dine for free one night, then turn it into a celebration of their good deeds and invite others. Your locality is your support system. Remind them you exist.

Also Read:

New Diners are Waiting to Discover Your Restaurant

If you follow the tips in this article, you should attract younger customers into the restaurant business – which is becoming an older customer’s game.

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Emenike Emmanuel is a multiple award-winning blogger, CEO of Entrepreneur Business Blog, Chief Evangelist of Ebusinessroom Ventures, and the Lead Coach of an online community of over 12,000 business owners called, The Excellent Entrepreneurs' Network. He’s here to help you start, manage and grow a profitable and sustainable business using digital marketing strategies. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & Pinterest with this handle, @emenikeng. Telegram group - t.me/yourfirst1000 | Email: [email protected]

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