How to get new customers through the door and keep them coming back for more

09 Apr, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

fun at restaurant

Getting new customers through the door is a large feat in itself, but keeping them can be just as challenging. There are many factors that play into the customer experience. We have put together the list of some simple and budget friendly ways to get new customers, and a list of reasons that weighs heavily on their decision to come back.

 

How do I attract new customers?

Getting new customers is the goal of all businesses; you cannot grow by simply maintaining your current customers, you need new customers. Trying a new restaurant is a big gamble for most people in today’s market, as they are very selective on where they spend their hard earned money.

Standout

You need to be known for something, it can be type/ethnicity of food you offer, special promotions or signature dishes.

Be social

 If people don’t know that you are out there, how are they ever going to walk in the door? Social Media is huge in today’s culture, not only can you share images, articles and experiences, but now with “check-ins” friends of your patrons can see that they came to your establishment.

Offer deals

A great way to get new customers to try your bar or restaurants is to offer special deals for new customers, such as a free appetizer or shared dessert.

 

How do I keep customers coming back?

Now that you have new customers coming in the door, let’s look at the flip side of keeping them coming back for more. There are many reason that you could experience slow nights (bad economy, it’s a week night or that there are no special events or holidays) that are out of your control. Here are the top 3 reasons within your control that make customers decide not to return to your bar or restaurant.

 Current Menu

Regularly check your menu to ensure that your pricing is aligned with your target demographic and that you are mixing in enough seasonal/trendy offerings with your signature dishes to keep customers interested and coming back for more.

  Loyalty Programs

 Loyalty programs can be as simple as deals based on the amount of money spent during each visit and/or the number of visits, and offer discounts on future purchases.

 Welcoming Atmosphere

 You guests have come to you not only for food and drink, but an enjoyable time with friends and family. Some of the top areas of importance include clean floors/tables/bar, clean bathrooms and the service that they receive.

 

How do I ensure employee satisfaction?

To ensure your customers will have a great experience, you must have a happy staff providing high quality service. The number one reason for employee dissatisfaction stems from scheduling. Scheduling includes ensuring that you have the right number of staff on for your customer level and ensuring that you fairly allot time-off and/or overtime shifts. What Time Do I Work.com offers easy-to-use and affordable online scheduling software designed to make scheduling a staff of any size a breeze with features like automatic staff communication about schedules, the ability to track and store employee time-off requests and scheduling conflicts and overtime alerts. Try What Time Do I Work.com for yourself today and get the first 30 days free.


Trend of the Month: April 2014

01 Apr, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Customer Facing Technology growing in popularity within the Food Service Industry

 

technology at the table

According to an October 2013 study by the National Restaurant Association, we are seeing the growth of consumers’ acceptance and use of customer facing technology within the Food Service Industry. According to the study 63% adults use restaurant-related technology to order, make reservations and pay their bill via smart phones. Some restaurants and bars are now going one step further to offer quests tech gadgets at the table to enhance their experience. Chili’s National Restaurant recently ran a 5 month test with table technology for guests to order, pay and play $0.99 games while they wait. The results — 20% increase in sales.

We have already seen some basic recent new technologies for purchasing with credit cards in small businesses. This trend will quickly trickle down to restaurants.

Forecasters from Forbes have put together a list of technologies that they expect to see gaining popularity in restaurants:

  1. Touchscreen kiosks for placing & customizing orders
  2. Mobile ordering applications
  3. Tabletop tablets for ordering and paying
  4. Digital games and entertainment at the table
  5. Mobile apps rewarding customers for loyalty and increasing social media interactions
  6. Mobile-pay apps to pay from a smart phone or tablet
  7. Mobile apps for loyalty/reward programs
  8. Apps for virtual giving and donations – allowing a portion of the guests bill to be donated to charity

As technology based applications quickly become the norm in providing a high level of customer experience in restaurants, we will also see an increase in technology to advance the behind the scenes aspects of your restaurants and bars. There are many options for scheduling employees that offer different benefits, however unless you are using What Time Do I Work.com online scheduling software, you are wasting time and money. What Time Do I Work.com online scheduling software simplifies the scheduling process by storing employee availability, preferences, skills and contact information in the program for easy access when creating schedules. Additionally the software offers real-time labor calculations, automatic overtime and conflict alerts, as well as communication features allowing your employees to own their schedules.

Try our scheduling software free for the next 30 days and see how much time and money you can save!


The Top 3 traits of the Most Successful Bar and Restaurant Managers!

26 Mar, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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Managers of bars and restaurants have a long laundry list of responsibilities that are integral to the success of their business; the most successful managers excel these 3 areas:

  • Relationship with coworkers
  • Customer service
  • Attention to detail

In this blog article we will review what makes a successful manager.

Your customers’ first impression of your business is when they first step foot into your business. However it is the full experience including the food, service and atmosphere that remains with the customer long after they leave. Managers play a very important role in providing your customers with the best experience.

 

Relationship with employees:

  1. Treat employees with respect and remember to give good feedback – without a dedicated and supporting staff, your manager and business cannot be successful
  2. Give staff clear instructions – managers maintain the consistency in customer experience and clearly instruct employees about processes and policies. If there are changes that your staff is not aware of, customers can get a bad impression of your business
  3. Maintain a high quality staff  –   managers must support and praise the hardest workers, while weeding out the employees that aren’t performing (most importantly a manager should never discipline an employee in front of customers)
  4. Be a leader and set an example – managers must follow the same set of rules and policies as your entire staff without exceptions

 

 Relationship with customers:

  1. Meet and greet – businesses can only improve if they solicit customer feedback and respond immediately to all feedback to ensure that customers feel as though their feedback is valuable
  2. Respect that each customer will have their own opinions – while it might not be true that the customers are always right, managers should look to resolve any situations without argument or insinuating that the customer might be wrong
  3. Ensure that all customers leave happy – word of mouth marketing is very powerful, especially when the feedback isn’t too great, managers must remember this and strive to ensure that no customers leave unhappy

 

Attention to Business:

  1. Attention to detail in all aspects of the business – managers must have an understanding of what is going on in the back and front of house, to set expectations and handle any potential problems before they become a problem
  2. Do not ignore problems – managers should know inventory levels as well as any issues with equipment to ensure that speedy repairs to help provide each customer with the same high level service
  3. Efficiently manage day to day tasks – managers are responsible for all scheduling of their staff, and the pros use online employee scheduling software like What Time Do I Work.com, that records time-off requests and provides automatic alerts for scheduling conflicts and overtime hours to help manage labor costs.

 

Try What Time Do I Work.com today and get your first 30 days free with our no obligation free trial (you don’t even have to enter a credit card to start scheduling).


How to host a successful Game/Trivia Night

20 Mar, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Fun at Bar

Recent trends are showing that people are no longer just going out with friends to hang out, but that they want something do when they head to the local watering hole. So what are you to do? The answer is simple: host Game/Trivia Nights to keep people coming back and increasing length of stay (which also results in higher sales). This is also a great way to get new customers through the door not only for the activities but through word of mouth marketing.  To make these events successful we have put together a list of the top 5 tips.

 

Select Event

The first place to start is looking around your bar. The set up and resources in your bar will determine the events/activities that you can offer.  Do you have pool tables, darts, etc. and/or do you have a stage area or room for patrons to participate and watch the events? You need to match the activity to your bar, and remember that people will also come to watch the fun.

 

Select a Theme

 If you bar has a theme (sports, tropical, etc.) you should incorporate that theme into you activities. So for sports fans you could host trivia nights that are based on sporting facts. Little touches will make a big impression and keep people coming back through your door. Another great option for a theme could be based on the local area.

 

Promote Your Events

 You can’t have successful events without promotion. This does not mean that you need to take an ad out in the daily news, but posting information on social media is a great place to get started. If you have outdoor signage, that is a great place to promote upcoming events. You can also include flyers around the bar and on the tables for a few days leading up until the events.

 

 Special Offerings

 A great way to increase sales during these events is to offer special appetizers or drinks at discounted rates while the activity is happening. You could also create some special menu items that can be shared during the events.

 

Scheduling

Don’t forget that you will need to increase the number of staff working to meet the increase in customers and sales. With scheduling software like What Time Do I Work.com you can easily create a conflict free schedule for these special nights. Schedules are then posted online for employees to view at anytime from anywhere. Additionally our software has advanced features such as real-time labor cost calculations, conflict and overtime alerts. To learn more about how your business can benefit from our online employee scheduling software, try our 30 day no obligation free trial.


What is a Signature Cocktail (and why you need them too!)

17 Mar, 2014 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

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According to Wikipedia a Signature Cocktail “is any unique or original drink that expresses the nature of the person or establishment creating it.” Signature cocktails typically incorporate local ingredients and culture; match a theme or color for the establishment; and represents the customs of the local area. A signature cocktail is a distinction from your competitors and gives you an opportunity to enhance the experience of your customers.

Before you start creating signature cocktails you should look at current trends. The new fad is all about juicing, try incorporating more juices into your signature drink to reach this portion of the population. We are also seeing a lot of bars and restaurants offering bacon in the drinks, adding a new flavor. Try experimenting with these trends to offer drinks that appeal to a large audience.

When you go to start making your signature cocktail you will find that there are many ways to make a drink your own; you can even make your own liqueur by infusing fruits, herbs, or edible flowers into your favorite liquor to create a truly original drink. You should try combining complementary flavors like sweet & sour or sweet and salty. Another great way to create a signature drink is to substitute some ingredients and play with the recipe of other drinks, inevitably your drinks will come down to trial and error, but these steps will help until you find the perfect balance.

To find the extra time to experiment with your own unique cocktail, you can use online employee scheduling software. What Time Do I Work.com has helped many clients cut the time spent creating and updating schedules by more than 50%. This affordable scheduling software will make your scheduling a breeze and help you uncover unnecessary labors costs that you might not be aware of. With automated labor cost calculations, scheduling conflicts warnings and overtime shift notifications, you can significantly cut your labor costs. Try it today and get your first 30 days free with our no obligation free trial.