Consumer Trends

4 ways to attract new customers in 2019

What’s tipping the scale for some operators this year?
Photograph: Shutterstock

Getting new customers to visit a restaurant can be a challenge. If they don’t physically see the restaurant often, they might not think of it at all, so it’s up to operators to build a strategy for attracting them. Here are four straightforward activities that can be effective traffic drivers.

  1. Reassess social media and apps

Many diners find restaurants online—whether it’s via Yelp, Facebook or Instagram—so restaurants need to make sure they present themselves well on social media. That means utilizing best practices such as monitoring posts, having an active profile that interacts with customers and, of course, posting great photos to entice diners. Show off that decadent chocolate cake, that bronze roast turkey dinner or that stretchy-cheese pizza.

Consumers also place importance on the ease of use of restaurant apps. According to Technomic’s 2018 Generational report, 32% of consumers overall (more among younger diners—47% of Gen Z and 44% of millennials) say that they use mobile apps more frequently when they have a clean user interface and are easy to navigate. By ensuring apps are easy to use and have all the information a potential diner would want, restaurants are more likely to draw in customers.

  1. Put solid off-premise services in place

According to Technomic’s 2018 Takeout & Off-Premise Dining report, 32% of consumers say they are ordering carryout more often now than they were two years ago, and 21% say the same about delivery. As for why, 33% say they are doing so because it’s easier to order food now with new mobile apps and amenities, which presents another reason to strengthen mobile app interfaces.

Consumers order takeout and delivery for myriad of reasons: people have less time to cook, they want to eat their favorite restaurant foods in the comfort of their own home, more of their favorite places offer delivery, etc. Operators should be sure to promote their delivery and takeout offerings, as well as invest in the proper carrying bags to ensure food gets delivered at the proper temperature.

  1. Highlight new and interesting menu items

Although some consumers seek familiar foods by visiting their favorite restaurants over and over again, others seek new and trending flavors and formats. In 2019, this can mean serving ethnic cuisines (including regional cuisines), plant-based foods and more. For instance, serving turkey gyros can attract diners who like traditional beef or lamb gyros but also want to try something new.

Post photos of new menu items on social media, promote them on restaurant apps and be sure to advertise them onsite as well to ensure more potential customers see the innovative choices.

  1. Emphasize new definitions of health

With more consumers focusing on natural ingredients and foods that are free from things such as artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, operators have the opportunity to showcase their participation in this trend. Serving and promoting hormone- and antibiotic-free meats and poultry, sustainable seafood and locally grown produce is a great way to attract diners who are increasingly concerned about not only what’s in their food, but also where it comes from.

To increase the appeal of a restaurant, offering in-demand options is crucial. In 2019, that means offering better-for-you options, ensuring trendy items are available, offering delivery and takeout services and keeping social media up-to-date. With these four tips, operators are set for success.

This post is sponsored by Butterball Foodservice


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