Restaurants that have survived the pandemic are now threatened by recent inflation. People are quickly feeling the price increases among everyday items affect their decisions.
Now restaurant owners are faced with the effect inflation has on the industry. Inflation can cause an increase in costs in all aspects of the restaurant industry. That includes rent, food, labor, utilities, and insurance.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wholesale food costs were 17% higher in March than last year. Along with a rise in hourly earnings for employees than the prior year.
Establishments deal with rising costs of goods while seeing fewer customers walk through the door. Some people are eating out less and finding it more affordable to cook at home. Cutting back is the first thing people begin to do when prices rise. Diners are more hesitant to dine out because their everyday expenses rapidly increase. With interest rates rising, people find it more challenging to borrow money or lines of credit as well.
Here are 5 tips to help you fight inflation, save money and keep customers in the door.
1. Find Ingredient substitutions
Restaurant owners can agree that food costs are one of the biggest challenges, especially when it comes to inflation. Taking a closer look at your inventory costs can be beneficial by revisiting your cost analysis. Is there any ingredient that you use a lot of that’s seriously cutting into your budget? Or maybe a hot-selling dish brings significant revenue but includes pricey ingredients which impact your profit.
By exploring ways you can swap ingredients for something less pricey, you will begin to see savings.
2. Audit your menu
To do a proper menu audit, take all the factors into account in your menu and the profits you make on each dish. Sort the menu items out from the most highly profitable to the least. When you’re finished, evaluate what you can cut off your menu and save for something more critical, or put the money elsewhere into another dish.
To do this properly, you’ll have to take a good look at your menu and know the profit you make on each dish. Segment your items into four groups and make adjustments based on their performance. Take into account which dishes really work and which one’s dont.
3. Consider Price Changes
Increasing your prices may actually prove to be more beneficial to your establishment. Consider adding ingredients to make the cost more valuable, or try including a premium side to bundle and spend more.
4. Reduce food waste
If you’re not on top of monitoring your inventory, you may risk a big part of your budget by not accounting for food costs. Don’t just count inventory; dig into your numbers and understand where exactly you are losing money due to waste and over portion sizes. If you notice that guests are finishing their plates, you may need to look into smaller portion sizes. Optimize your recipes and use the most out of all your ingredients.
5. Try to Reduce Food Costs
Profitable restaurants usually incur 27%-36% of their revenue on direct food costs. In the current inflationary environment, keeping a close track of our direct food costs is more important than before. Accurate and consistent ordering from reliable vendors should also help. Do not hesitate to ask for price break volumes and freeze food if it makes sense. We occasionally see local merchants and wholesale clubs like Restaurant Depot, Costco and Sam’s Club offering limited-time deals on quality food products. A lot of small independent restaurants we have talked to do not hesitate to buy through such retailers, especially the products which they have tried before.
ChowEasy is a free app that helps restaurants attract new, quality customers from their local area. Restaurants attract passionate foodies with easy-to-setup promos. No upfront costs or commitments!
As technology is growing
every day, sometimes it feels like you can’t keep up with the latest app trends
for your business. It seems like there’s always a new app trending, and you
find yourself always asking the question, “Is there an app for that?” Business
App development has been booming so there are a lot of options out there
available for restaurant owners and diners.
This can make it hard to
narrow which App fits best for your needs.
So, which apps are really the best for restaurant owners?
Here are the apps that we
believe you can best benefit from and utilize to influence and grow your
Here are 5 of the best apps to generate more business and
make your life as a restaurant owner a little easier.
Want to attract the perfect customer? ChowEasy is an easy and efficient way to grow business by offering a marketing tool that provides promotions for diners looking for your type of restaurant cuisine. Unlike other sites, ChowEasy allows you to directly set up promos on your terms and conditions. This marketing tool allows your business to grow by offering promotions that define your brand. Allowing diners to bid for the food and type of restaurant can match diners with bids that fit them and what they are looking for. Diners save money, and restaurants attract and retain new customers. It’s a win-win for both parties.
It’s crucial in today’s
age to have an active social media presence. Platforms like Facebook and
Instagram can gain you exposure and customers that may not know about your
restaurant. So being there is a must for any restaurant but keeping up can be a
difficult and daunting task.
Apps like Hootsuite allow you to manage posting and engagement, along with being fully involved in your community. Managing all your social media accounts on one easy-to-use platform, and allows you to schedule posts months in advance. Available for Apple and Android products, you can create the online presence you want for your restaurant with help from the App’s tools.
generates revenue for restaurants because the markup is high and it’s easy to
upsell it to your customers. The average revenue that comes with selling
alcohol is anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of a restaurant’s income, sometimes
This App is a life save for restaurant owners serving alcohol and all you need is an iPhone. Partender helps owners manage and track liquor inventory in their bar by measuring their liquor and sales data. Creating this type of data lets you know what is being sold and calculate how much your bartenders are pouring correctly. It’s really an easy, must-have that is worth the monthly investment.
Social proof can make or
break a restaurant. Managing that is an important part of marketing your
Many diners wouldn’t
even consider a restaurant until they have checked the reviews on Yelp. That’s
because sites like Yelp are powerful and more influential than any other for
the restaurant business. Yelp allows you to build customer loyalty and gain new
customers with loyal customer reviews. This FREE tool has 132 million monthly
visitors; that’s why managing a Yelp account is essential for your restaurant
Stay in the know!
There’s so much going on every second, and there’s information being shared
that can sometimes feel overwhelming. Don’t be left out on all the latest and
greatest industry trends. Now you can stay up to date with Feedly.
Feedly is a power news
aggregator, compiling information from sources all over the internet. Choose
publications, blogs, and set up keyword alerts for content related to your
restaurant. This App is full of helpful information, super user-friendly, and
easy to read because of its minimal layout design.
What apps will your restaurant use?
Maybe you’re already using some of these.
When you stumble onto a new app, research it, find its value and determine if you can implement its use in your day-to-day restaurant business. When implementing any new tool for your restaurant, determine your end goal then find the best app to help you accomplish that goal.
Working with influencers can be so beneficial to your restaurant’s marketing strategy. Thanks to the massive impact of social media, restaurants can increase awareness and grow their business through a large audience, driving more traffic to their doors. There’s no doubt that the influencing market is booming right now. The industry grew from a $1.7 billion market in 2016 to $9.7 billion in 2020. For every dollar a business spends on influencers, they earn $5.20.
That being said, it may be frightening to look at all the options and how you can utilize influencers to spread your restaurant’s messaging. Here are some common questions about food influencers, answered.
What are Food Influencers, and what do they do?
Food influencers have a wide range of social media followers that can help you boost your restaurant’s customer base. Influencers are often celebrities and bloggers who have gained popularity through photos, videos, and personal engagements. They can promote any of your products by sharing it with their followers and what they like about your brand. More specifically, food influencers are constantly increasing and trending throughout social media websites. The idea of food culture is a scene in the media, and people love looking and browsing through food options and food tags.
What are the benefits of working with a foodie influencer?
The benefits of working with food influencers are overwhelming. Over 70% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase a product based on a social media referral. Referrals are more effective when they come from another person rather than the actual company. That’s why the results of working with influencers have become a valuable tool for customers’ dining decisions.
The benefits of endorsements through influencers outweigh the drawbacks. The influencers have worked to build a trusting relationship with their followers. Brands want to make sure they are exposing the content that best fits them.
Is it worth it? Why should I consider an influencer?
Influencers make powerful partners because of their existing relationship with the audience. Influencers have advantages that are hard for brands to replicate, such as their large community of followers, personal connections, consumer trust, and social network expertise. Social influencers effectively start, share, and spread online conversations, which is incredibly valuable to brands.
Food and beverage brands often have more success with influencers than other business types. The reason for that is because food is the most popular subject that trends on social media like Instagram and TikTok. Not every consumer participates in certain activities like fashion or fitness, but everyone in the world eats food. Eating is often culturally connected to occasions like celebrating and sharing, and that’s why everyone from different parts of the world can come together on relating to food. Not only is food relatable, but visually appealing. Visual content like food and cooking is appealing to viewers and generates 94% more engagement online than text alone. Food and recipe influences are a source of marketing that is growing rapidly every day.
How do I find the best influencer type for my restaurant?
You want to choose the best type of influencer for your restaurant, and they are things to consider. Ask yourself the following questions;
Do they meet your restaurant’s ethics and values?
Is their engagement at Influencer Level?
What is your influencer budget?
Established Food & Drink Influencers
To be considered an established influencer, there should be 10,000 + followers. Established influencers work really well within the restaurant industry.
Micro-Influencers in the Food & Drink Industry
Micro-influencers range from 1000 to 10,000 followers. Don’t let the name fool you, micro influences can have a high engagement rate with followers. The bonus of working with micro-influencers is they tend not to be as price-oriented as experienced ones because they are still trying to grow their brand.
How much do influencers charge?
It’s pretty simple when it comes to understanding the cost of influencer marketing. Basically, the more followers those influencers have, the higher their cost to post about your restaurant. Prices rise somewhat proportionately until they reach a point of being a celebrity influencer (with over 500k followers).
Prices rise relatively proportional until reaching the point of celebrity influencers (with over 500k followers). In terms of formats, you’ll pay a large sum for a video – around 50% more than you would for a post. Stories are the cheapest, presumably due to their brief nature.
Influencer Rates* Worldwide, by Influencer Tier, March 2019
Type of content / Influencer Tier
Nano (500-5k followers)
Micro (5k-30k followers)
Celebrity (500k+ followers)
By choosing the right influencer style for your restaurant you can benefit from all that influencers have to offer. This style of marketing can create a huge impact on your business if you use it the right way. What are you waiting for? Find an experienced influencer that can help you get those customers straight to your door.
What else should Restaurants do?
In today’s fast-paced environment, it is important to try multiple marketing avenues for different customer segments. There are some customers who get swayed by the availability of promotions. Some customers pick a restaurant based on location and reviews. Above all, it is important for Restaurants to focus on the ‘Basics’ which are good tasting, fresh food offered in a clean and comfortable ambiance with the attentive service that all Diners expect.
Now, more than ever, it’s essential to focus on your restaurant’s marketing strategy to be successful and compete with top players. It may seem overwhelming trying to keep up with the latest trends in digital marketing and media.
There are challenges when trying to generate your restaurant’s business, especially if you are a new restaurant. Restaurants must compete for customers by going above and beyond expectations. During the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants begin to think of new ways to generate business and keep their loyal customers by being creative with their marketing strategies.
To help you better understand how to market your business, we have listed the most beneficial ways to improve your business’s marketing. These suggestions you will find most impactful to making your restaurant a success.
1.Try sending emails with meaning
We know that using email marketing is an essential tool when reaching out to customers and expanding your business’s brand. But creating emails isn’t just sending out general content once a month that will ultimately have no impact. It’s important to remember that you are competing with other businesses in your customers’ email. You want something that will catch their attention and make them open up your email over others.
If you want your restaurant to stand out, send emails targeted specifically to the person receiving it. Someone who has dined in your place of business the past 3 months compared to someone who comes once a week, the emails should be directly targeting them, their wants, and needs. Using your customer data and adding it to your emails is more relevant to the customer than just random stuff they don’t care about.
2. Try online reservation platforms
Online reservation platforms are essential to benefiting your restaurant’s business. Especially if you are a fine dining restaurant, giving easy access to your customers to book a table at your place of business can keep regular customers happy and gain new ones.
Booking platforms like OpenTable, Resy, and Reserve, are all excellent places to start. These types of websites and apps give customers the tools to easily book online. Giving your customers this lets them have a convenient option to discover what options restaurants have.
3, Make photos of dishes “instagramable”
By making everything “instagramable,” you can create leverage and use it as content to spread the word about your restaurant. By posting to Instagram is easy and FREE advertising for your restaurant. Social media is one of the best marketing tools, and if you are not using it, you’re going to need to if you want to be on the same level as your competitors. By mastering instagramable dishes, you will gain more followers and likes.
4. Offer online delivery
Online ordering has been more important than ever since the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants have maintained their business through online orders and take-out options.
Food delivery apps offer user-friendly options for customers. They can walk away with a good experience, and often you could see a positive review from someone who ordered online instead of dining in.
5. Respond to online reviews, especially negative ones
Online reviews can go different ways. Getting a negative review will have a negative impact on your business. Even the best restaurants can have a negative review from time to time, but it’s important to handle it properly and respond. Managing and replying to negative reviews can have a positive impact and is essential to your marketing strategy.
Now, you have to turn a negative online review into a marketing opportunity. By positively approaching the negative review, you can use it to your advantage. By acknowledging your mistake and empathizing with the customer, you can create a place that feels safe to come to if customers did have a problem with something. It’s important to write a message back that doesn’t feel automated and one that is genuine. Take responsibility for the negative feedback, and tell your customers how you appreciate their feedback and ways you will better your business.
6. Run smart coupon and discount campaigns
It’s always an excellent option to run coupon and discount campaigns when trying to get new people through the door. Bogos, discount codes, free offers, etc., will motivate people to try new things, and there you can build a recurring customer base.
It’s important not to offer flat discounts all the time, especially when you are a higher-end restaurant dealing with a different tone of branding. You do not want your promotions visible to your regular customers who generally pay full price. But there is a way to offer smart discounts by making them rare and exclusive for customers while protecting your brand image.
7. Find Apps that benefit your business
There are tons of apps that can help you market your business. Allowing other companies to promote your restaurant can see the massive advantage of apps that offer different restaurant options.
Apps like ChowEasy offer the promotions your restaurant is running and allow you to grow your business by linking to people in your area. Unlike other sites, the ChowEasy App allows you to directly set up promos on your terms, without those hefty costs you deal with on other platforms. Learn more HERE about how you can join the ChowEasy community today.
We have seen the latest social media trend TikTok everywhere, and it’s another social media marketing tool to use to promote your restaurant. This new app is a GAME CHANGER for restaurant owners, and there are so many incredible ways to let your followers know what’s going on.
Here are some things we know about TikTok:
It has 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., with an 800% increase in users since 2018.
It has 50 million daily users in the U.S.
It has been downloaded over 2 billion times globally.
Now, it’s time for your restaurant to tap into the new social media platform. Restaurants and other places of business have been using TikTok to grow their advertising and marketing through this outlet, specifically after the pandemic when TikTok grew rapidly.
There are many cool features in TikTok that allow you to edit videos and share them with a wide range of people. Creators have access to effects, filters, and songs.
Video is a great marketing tool for your brand and business, and this outlet allows even more content for you to share. TikTok provides user-friendly tools to create short videos. Every user could be a potential ambassador for your brand and spread messages and campaigns about your restaurant.
Share Recipes and Ingredients
Sharing recipes and making cooking videos is a great way to launch your restaurant’s TikTok page. It’s easy to make a video together to create a step-by-step way to make a recipe of your choice; these videos get TONS of likes, comments, and shares.
Users on TikTok love food trends and it’s always something that’s trending on social networks. People love this type of content and hashtags like #food and #foodies will help give your video more views. There are currently over 116.2B views for #FOOD.
#AtlantaFood is also a trendy hashtag considering all the great food options Atlanta is famous for. Check out Atlanta-based cook on TikTok justlex.x showcase her soul food video content that has some serious drool-worthy food clips.
Tips and Tricks
Try chef tips, like demonstrating and teaching fundamental skills like slicing and cutting techniques, or any other technique that can be useful when cooking.
Your restaurant menu is continually updating and changing, and TikTok is an excellent way to showcase new or unique items.
Chefs are Trending
Showcasing your chef is the way to go. There are endless chef accounts; a good example is @maxthemeatguy, specializing in meats and creating video content to show off his skills.
Collaborate with Influencers
Teaming up with social media influencers is the new way of promoting your restaurant and business social media profile.
Reaching out to a younger audience is also a good reason to collaborate with TikTok influencers. Chipotle was the first major restaurant to launch on TikTok in 2019 and has had much success with gaining influencers to collaborate with.
Dunkin Donuts followed the trend last October and has been promoting its new drink with influencer D’Amelio, who has more than 90 million followers on TikTok. The partnership promoted its new cold brew, which after marketing on TikTok, sales rose 20% the first day.
Go Behind the Scenes
Take your TikTok audience backstage and behind the scenes of restaurant operations. Giving people a look inside your team and kitchen makes it more personable and a mini-view of your restaurant’s inside. Making your customers feel they are included in something is crucial to create that relationship between owner and diners.
Host a Live Event
It’s important to know that your TikTok account must have at least 1,000 followers to host a live event. Once you’re able to host live events, you’ll realize that it’s a great tool when marketing your brand. Having a class or a mini-lesson series is a fun way to create more content on your account, LIVE.
Now that you have their attention they will search for the desired cuisine via ChowEasy. Make sure they can find you! Learn more about what ChowEasy can do to successfully market your restaurant.
Unsure about using restaurant promotions to attract customers to your local restaurant? That’s understandable considering you can lose a little in profits initially but the returns can open up streams of continued business over time.
Rest easy with this comprehensive restaurant promotional guide freshly updated with the 2020-2021 climate in mind.
First, let’s quickly go over some general pros and cons of offering restaurant promos.
Why Are Restaurant Promotions Important?
Restaurant promotions can be manifested in many forms but the end goal remains – to bring in more business. Additionally, restaurants create an opportunity to attract new guests and win them over as regulars. With a great overall experience, they may want to spread the word to their friends and family, doing wonders for brand awareness.
So why do promos work for getting new diners through the door? We’ll let the data speak for itself:
30% of consumers will be swayed to try a new restaurant from their usual casual dining choices when presented with an attractive deal (Valassis)
80% of diners are highly likely to consider a new restaurant if there is a deal (RetailMeNot)
57% of millennials seek out restaurant coupons (Valassis)
These statistics show the psychology behind why they work and why restaurants successfully attract new customers with specials, all year round.
Even more of a reason to offer restaurant promotions is the active eco-system of coupons available on the internet. The internet is littered with coupons for just about anything and their convenience is pushing physical coupons to extinction. The expectation to find good deals online makes local restaurant promos an absolute necessity.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
If promos bring restaurants more business in the future, then the short-term loss from reduced prices becomes miniscule.
A concerning disadvantage however lies in the fact that online promos can be harder to regulate. Physical coupons are becoming less common as more promos are being distributed digitally. As a result, restaurants don’t know who sees their deals online and can’t restrict who grabs it in many cases.
The restaurant’s goal may be to attract a new customer but they can’t control it from getting into the hands of a long-time customer.
Additionally, offering too many promos can dilute a restaurant’s brand image by losing its value from being perceived as a “discounter.”
So to recap, the pros and cons of restaurant promotions are:
Solutions to Restaurant Promotion Limitations
Build real relationships with customers. Give them an amazing dine-in experience and have a loyalty program to give them a reason to come back.
Many restaurants are even launching their own apps for loyal diners to download. Having your own app will allow you to offer exclusive deals and send reminders through push notifications.
ChowEasy is also a solution that allows restaurants to attract new local diners with custom promos without the risk of looking like a “discounter”. With the ChowEasy app, restaurants anonymously enter a special deal on the app for local diners to bid on. Once the diner commits, the restaurant’s name is revealed.
Best Local Restaurant Promotion Ideas:
Don’t Let Events Go Wasted
Is your city hosting a big sports game? Is there a live show or major convention? Often times, big events like these bring tons of people from out of town and many are looking to dine at local restaurants.
Use these moments to your advantage by offering specials before the live concert, exclusive promos for ticket holders to a convention and many more. For example, 10% off for all season ticket holders.
Work with Influencers
Perhaps one of the currently top trending restaurant marketing strategies involve influencer marketing. Some local “foodies” have garnered unbelievable numbers of followers on their food blog or on Instagram.
A food blogger who runs their own Instagram page may visit your restaurant and take pictures. They will then post flattering photos of your food with an enticing caption for their thousands of followers to engage with.
Some food bloggers may mention your restaurant in a blog post that gets read by passionate enthusiasts of the cuisine you serve.
This is publicity at its finest without a huge budget. Often times, local restaurants will either pay an influencer or offer them a meal for free in exchange for a social media post or blog post.
Rewards for Gift Cards
Many restaurants during the 2020 lockdowns pushed gift card sales to stay afloat. After all, if a customer is a regular, they might as well spend more upfront and “save” their future meals for later.
To help boost restaurant gift card sales, restaurants started offering additional rewards with the purchase of the card.
Here is a short list of many examples we’ve seen:
Applebee’s – $50 gift card purchase gets you an extra $10
IHOP – $25 gift card gets you an additional $5 coupon
Joe’s Crab Shack – $25 gift card gets you a scratch-off ticket for a mystery prize
AMC Theaters – $30 in giftcard puchases gets you $5 in concession bucks
You get a car, and you get a car! Okay, you may not have cars to give away like Oprah, but maybe you have a new bike you don’t use. Whether you choose to invest in a giveaway prize or giveaway something you own, giveaways can get people in the door.
Set up a raffle or a competition for the prize. Bonus tip: with raffle tickets, you can easily acquire email addresses and add them to your restaurant’s email list.
Time of the Day
Is lunch from 12-2pm or Mondays your notoriously slow times for dine-in traffic? Instead of offering different deals all the time, create a lunch special to bring in more traffic for a reduced price. If used right, this can be very effective to combat slow days.
Examples: Reduced prices on drinks on Wednesday nights, lunch specials
Seasonal events and holidays create a unique opportunity to make diners feel like they are missing out on a great deal. Since seasons and holidays quickly pass by, diners will want to take advantage of limited time deals before they miss out.
Cinco de Mayo is one such example where you can you offer Mexican beers at half the price. Diners are also likely to visit in groups for holiday specials and that’s always great for business.
Everyday is a Holiday
Did you know that January 25 is National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day? Many businesses use everyday holidays to plan their social media posts. If you haven’t checked out the holidays before, you’ll be surprised to see so many days dedicated to cuisine. Take advantage of this to come up with endless promo possibilities any time throughout the year. Check out nationday.com for inspiration and get creative!
Examples: National Pizza Day, National Gumbo Day, National Gluten-free day, National Buffet Day, Drink Wine Day, etc.
Yes, this classic marketing term is still used by many restaurants today for it’s effectiveness. Offer discounts on alcoholic drinks, menu items, and free appetizers during strategic times in the day like right as people get off work.
Day of the Week Special
Offering specific deals based on the day of the week really does stay in the mind of consumers. Some classic examples include: margarita Monday and taco Tuesday. When old Joe is feeling indecisive and sitting at home on Tuesday night, he’ll remember that it happens to be taco Tuesday.
Here are some more catchy examples:
Fish’n Fries Friday
Offer combos that consist of appetizers, the main meal, side dishes, dessert and a drink for a reduced price.
Upsell by launching multi-buy promos like buy 1 get 1 free or buy 2 get 1 specials. For example, offer free soda with order of two large pizzas.
The incentive doesn’t always have to be free. You can offer something like $1 on draft beer for two orders of buffalo wings.
Now…Time to Maximize Profits From Promos
The purpose of offering restaurant promotions and discounts is to get more business in the end. Just because you’re offering deals doesn’t mean you have to act cheap.
Here are some ways to maximize profits from restaurant promotions:
Train Staff to Upsell, Upsell, and Upsell Some More
The reason why dine-in customers bring in the most profits for a restaurant is because of upsell potential. The customer may have walked in to get a burger with fries but maybe he/she orders an appetizer or dessert alongside it.
There are always upselling opportunities and guests need help deciding. Training servers to form the habit of consistently recommending menu items, combos, and drinks to customers could raise margins drastically.
Leverage Social Media
Share your promotions on social media for your dedicated fanbase to see. If they follow or like your restaurant page, they most certainly would love to see great deals come from you. They may even bring a friend who just might be your next loyal customer!
Build a Loyalty Program
Start a loyalty program if you don’t already have one. Let’s face it, not everybody who visits the first time through a promo will return. A loyalty program will help plant a seed for the diner’s next visit well after their first time.
Example: Starbucks loyalty program
As you can see, restaurant promos are an essential tool to attract customers and can be offered in many ways. If you have some promos in place or are at least thinking about it, good for you! This indicates that you are growth-focused and are planting opportunities that will yield more business over time.
If you would like an easy way to grow your local restaurant business, please consider the ChowEasy app. You can offer promotions to diners in your local area who are in the mood for the cuisine you serve. Unlike other deal sites with hefty costs and brand dilution, ChowEasy enables you to offer promos on your terms in as little as 60 seconds. Try it now!
Whether you are a consumer or business owner, you have likely heard of Groupon. Since 2011, Groupon.com has billed itself as a site for thrifty consumers that are looking for a great deal and merchants that want to drive traffic to their stores or build awareness for their brands. Many restaurants have jumped at the chance to offer promos to the site’s nearly 44 million active users. However, before you decide to enter the fray, make sure you know the real costs of using Groupon for restaurant promos.
Groupon Restaurant Promotions Can Hurt Your Bottom Line
Customers looking for a deal are likely to find one. But the cost to merchants can be staggering. While there is no cost for restaurants to create an account and share a deal with the Groupon user base, the real damage to the wallet arrives after you make a sale. Though commission rates do fluctuate, Groupon will always take at least 50% of revenue from each sale. Let’s look at this simple example:
You run a local pizzeria and the business is doing fairly well. You’re interested in broadening your customer base and decide to give Groupon a try to see if you can get customers outside of the local area and maybe even tourists in town. You decide to offer a deal on your medium pepperoni pizzas, which typically cost $20, at a 40% discount to compete with other pizza shops on the site. Customers purchase the deal for $12. Your revenue? $6.
This Groupon restaurant promo for pizza that you would typically sell for $20 just cost you 70% of revenue. You can calculate the profit yourself since this depends on your mark up, but it’s likely just shy of breaking even. Or, worse still, you might be losing money on the deal.
The poor pizzaiolo or pizzaioli who put effort into making the delicious pie just had his/her work devalued so significantly.
Groupon Can Diminish Your Restaurant’s Brand Image
Have you ever visited a restaurant that markets itself like this? “We are a middle of the road eatery that uses discount produce and values quantity over quality. We don’t really care if you come back.” Ridiculous, right? You don’t need to be a marketing maven to recognize the pitfalls of discounting your product or service. By listing your restaurant on Groupon, you run the risk of diminishing your brand. Your high quality standards for service and food will not be recognized as such. The perception will turn to: how can it be that great when it’s so cheap?
Let’s start with your existing customers. You run the risk of annoying your current clientele by offering your meals to a select few at a discount price. Using the example of the pizzeria, a repeat customer who consistently purchases your pies might wonder why they’ve been getting “ripped-off” this entire time if your food could be had for half the price. And if they knew that you were only taking home half of the revenue from the deal, they would sour on your brand even more. Sure, that’s unlikely, but all it takes is one annoyed customer and your break-even Groupon deal just sent a sure thing to your competitor.
As for the prospective clients who found you through Groupon, you’ve now been introduced to them as a discount seller right from the start. Groupon customers are rarely repeat customers. Those on the site looking for a deal will look for another when your bargain window runs its course. “That $12 pizza was delicious, but I won’t pay the full $20. Let’s see what other pizza deals I can find.”
When the goal of any business is to build sustainable revenue streams, and the cost of acquiring customers is much greater than keeping them, using Groupon to promote your restaurant becomes a brand risk you cannot afford to take.
Can Groupon For Restaurants Be Beneficial at All?
As with any strong marketing plan, diversity of channels is the key to success. The reality is that the pizza example is oversimplified and Groupon can be a part of your restaurant promo strategy. The two most important things to remember are to not put all of your marketing efforts into Groupon and to be smart about the bargain you are offering. Groupon clients are, more often than not, one-time clients and should not command a significant amount of your restaurant marketing spend. Yes, the math starts to make a lot more sense when the 40% discount is 20% or less, but investing in promotions for existing clients is even more cost-effective. Remember, too, that Groupon is not the only restaurant deal site that is out there. Be smart, do your research, and plan for long term success rather than short term marginal gains.
Looking for a fun way to grow your restaurant business? ChowEasy is a restaurant marketing app that helps locals discover your restaurant by matching their appetite and mood. Get full control of your promos by offering them on YOUR schedule and YOUR terms with your restaurant name revealed ONLY to committed diners. No upfront costs or commitments! Learn more now.
All colors matter. They are everywhere and they play with your emotions without saying or doing anything to you. You, as a restaurant owner, can incorporate the power of color to grow your business strategically. Read to equip yourself with industry insights on common restaurant color design tactics.
But first, there is something to keep in mind: like cake, too much of one thing isn’t always a good thing. Too much of one color can backfire by causing reduced appetite.
Don’t go for just 1 emotion, learn these color design practices so you can bring out a range of desired emotions!
Restaurant Color Design and the Influence it Has on Customers
Listed below are common color schemes used in restaurants and how they affect customers.
Light, Bland Colors: Beige, White and Light Grey
Colors like white, beige, and light grey may be bland but work like magic when used the right way. Bright colors like white and beige for instance, give a spacious impression. As a result, walls and ceilings with these colors can put the clusterphobes at ease.
If your restaurant is small, you could alleviate the feeling of tightness by painting your walls and ceilings with these colors. Otherwise, these colors are still ‘magical’ for inducing relaxation, which will keep guests held captive (by their will!) for longer.
Nature Colors: Green and Brown
Green symbolizes nature which helps promote feelings of harmony and tranquility. Along with green, brown also instills feelings of comfort and a sense of stability like roots grounded in the earth. Compounded together, these colors create an enchanted forest that encourages guests to linger and potentially order more food.
Is your restaurant health-conscious? If so, using green in your interior design is the best way to place emphasis on your healthy and balanced menu.
Before you decide to paint your walls green…make sure you have good lighting or else risk giving off a ‘swamp’ vibe instead of lushly forest. Also, too much brown can create an unappetizing mood, so use it sparingly.
Fast Colors: Red and Yellow
Speed, excitement, high-energy, and superhero Flash. These describe environments that are red and yellow.
Studies show that when people see red and yellow, their heart rate and blood pressure escalates. This stimulates conversation and speedy, impulsive eating which is ideal for high-traffic restaurants.
Fast-food chains utilize these effects perfectly as their model is based on customers leaving as quickly as they came in. How many red and yellow fast-food restaurants come to mind in 1 minute?
Unappetizing Colors: Blue and Purple
What is your favorite blue or purple food? If grapes and eggplants are the only foods that come to mind, then the point is made. These colors don’t encourage an appetite because they don’t remind us of any food.
What these colors do however is evoke thirst which makes it ideal for cafes, bars, or lounges. Blue also has a calming effect which entices guests to enter leisure mode and order ‘another’ last round of drinks. These effects work well in hookah bars or even the liquor spot in the corner of your restaurant.
If you have a seafood restaurant, blue can encourage consumption of seafood and can help create an immersive ocean-themed ambiance.
Adventurous Colors: Orange and Yellow
Orange and yellow stand out in pretty much any setting. They are colors that represent boldness and a care-free attitude.
Cafes and dessert shops like yogurt bars are ideal for this enthusiastic color combo. It may trigger an adventurous indulgence in sugar land but that’s always good for the shop. The sugar rush will also get people talking and lounging around longer.
Choose the Right Color Design for Your Restaurant
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
The color combinations and their effects on customers listed in this post are only general guidelines. To determine the best colors for your restaurant, you will have to first remind yourself what you want your guests to feel and how it connects with the restaurant identity. Use this post as a guideline but never shy away from a little experimentation!
What colors will you use? Why? Comment and let us know!
Looking for a fun way to grow your restaurant business? ChowEasy is a restaurant marketing app that helps locals discover your restaurant by matching their appetite and mood. Get full control of your promos by offering them on YOUR schedule and YOUR terms with your restaurant name revealed ONLY to committed diners. No upfront costs or commitments! Learn more now.
According to Forbes, “millennials have over $200 billion in buying power and will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025.” This means that millennials are an important target for restaurants and learning how to reach them will be crucial. So how do you attract millennials to your restaurant? With endless dining options available at the fingertips, you need to stand out but also align with their values. Keep reading to learn 7 things you can do to keep them coming back!
Use High Quality Ingredients
Studies have shown that Millennials are willing to fork over more money for high quality food. Since healthy eating is a trend more than ever before, be sure to use wholesome ingredients for everything. These include organic vegetables and meats that are free of hormones/anti-biotics. It would also help to emphasize phrases like “sourced locally” and “non-GMO” in the menu.
Boost Social Media Presence
Since Millenials and Gen Z are tuned into the world of social media, grab their attention there. Your internet presence speaks volumes to these generations. Promote your restaurant and menu in engaging ways like posting a question or a raffle for a free giveaway. Also leave trails in your restaurant that lead to your social media. A couple ideas include inserting hashtags or your social media handle in menus or cups. Finally, update your directory listings and ask guests for 5-star reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Prep Food For The Gram
You’ve seen it. Pictures of food being posted by the millions. Food pictures are hot content for Instagram and Facebook feeds so why not use this in your favor? First, you’ll want to make sure the presentation of your dishes are worthy of a photo. Then, take a handful of snapshots yourself and experiment with various lighting edits and filters. Don’t be afraid to spend significant time on these. The photo you select needs to be captivating enough to stop people from scrolling. And you have lots of competition.
Build a Brand and Tell a Story
Your restaurant is a brand and should have a compelling story. Make sure your social media, theme colors, and logo all reinforce the story of your brand. Millennials love their brands and aren’t afraid to endorse them through purchased merchandise. Make T-shirts, stickers, and other merchandise to make them a part of the story. You can somewhat easily attract millennials to your restaurant but a cool story will keep them.
Host An Experience
To keep millennials coming back, you have to transcend beyond just providing a great meal. You have to provide an experience. It’s been shown that millennials prefer to live for new and unique experiences. This priority extends to eating out which you can thank the wave of pop-ups, food trucks, and food festivals for. If you don’t know where to start, just put some heart and soul in the atmosphere. You can use ambiance, art displays, music and aesthetic interior design to help create an experience. Additionally, you can keep them coming back through game nights, live music, art shows, and open mic nights. When in comes down to it, you want to envelop them in an immersive world they can’t to return to.
Have A Unique Menu
As mentioned in the paragraph before, Millennials live for experiences. This means that novel menu items will go a long way with this generation. This generation is the most diverse and open to new cultural cuisines. With that being said, offer something fusion and even quirky. To top it off, give your dishes distinct names that’ll catch their attention. You don’t want to only offer what millions of restaurants can. For instance, offering only pizza in a market where you can get pizza anywhere. This is why many restaurant chains are closing.
Be Socially Responsible
Being a restaurant that demonstrates corporate responsibility will go a long way. With the accessibility of information through the internet, any news of unethical or controversial actions can be found. Studies show that millennials would rather support businesses that do good and have no hesitancy to boycott. Due to this, establishing a good online reputation and supporting a good cause would be key for longevity. To start, you can make it known that you use biodegradable wear and consistency recycle. “Millennials don’t mind spending more money on things that are good for the planet.”
Take Your Restaurant To The Next Level
Going through the list, it can seem like a demanding task to attract millennials to your restaurant. Though it takes a lot to catch the attention of this generation, your restaurant will improve in many ways. Have fun with it while you become more than just a restaurant, but a brand!