Whether you're preparing for your QSR or fast casual restaurant's grand opening, or if you're re-opening after a remodel, you want to generate as much buzz as possible. How do you draw attention to your restaurant without busting your budget? Consider these tips to help you get people in the door on your big day.
Tip #1: Utilize Geo-Targeted Ads
A geo-targeted ad is delivered to a user based on their geographic location. Facebook's paid ads are an inexpensive way to utilize the advantages of geo-targeting. You can specify an area as close as 10 miles from your address or as wide-ranging as the entire country, and request that your ads be displayed to people who live in that location as well as people who have recently been in the designated area or even people who are traveling within that selected area.
This will not only increase your advertising ROI, but it will ensure that you're reaching the people who are most likely to be in the vicinity of your QSR or fast casual restaurant. You won't be cluttering the feeds of people who aren't in the area or who have no plans of being in proximity of your business.
Tip #2: Harness the Power of Social Media
If your fast casual restaurant doesn't already have a social media presence, it's time you took the plunge. It's a fun and free way to engage customers, particularly the coveted Millenial demographic who are frequenting restaurants more often than their Gen X or Baby Boomer counterparts.
How do you lure potential customers to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest account? Make sure that you tack your social media handles on all of your advertising and signage. A clever hashtag can get you some mileage, and it doesn't take up a lot of space on your QSR or fast casual restaurant's signage.
Additionally, many people flock to the Internet to check reviews and preview menus prior to checking out a new or unfamiliar restaurant. Encouraging your patrons to leave a review on Yelp, Facebook, or Google should be a big part of your strategy.
Tip #3: Take it to Instagram
Food should taste good, of course, but in the age of Instagram, the appearance of your restaurant's dishes is just as important as the taste. While it might seem strange to some, diners today love to snap photos of their food before they dig in and share it with their followers on Instagram. Creating an Instagram account for your restaurant is a simple way to connect with today's diners and show off your restaurant at its best.
Offering your patrons Location page to tag your restaurant is a quick and easy way to encourage them to share their experience at your QSR or fast casual restaurant with all of their followers. Additionally, take advantage of Instagram's video feature to create short videos of your team in action. If you can make your business look fun and vibrant, it's going to bring in more visitors.
Tip #4: Place Festive Window Decals, Wraps, Exterior Banners, and Signage
When you're planning the grand opening of your QSR or fast casual restaurant, you want to generate a lot of excited anticipation among the people who live near your place of business. What better way to do that than with colorful signage outside the restaurant?
When locals pass the site every day, it can start to be part of the scenery. Shake them out of their usual routine with bright and intriguing window decals, exterior banners, and wraps displaying information about what you'll serve as well as your branding.
Tip #5: Direct Mail to Surrounding Areas
The best way to get the most bang for your buck is to send direct mail offers specifically targeted to the people who are most likely to visit your restaurant due to their geographical proximity. For instance, if you focus on sending direct-mail advertisements to residents within a five-mile radius rather than papering your whole town with ads, you're spending less money to bring in the people who are probably going to be checking out your QSR or fast casual restaurant. You and your printing partner can work together to determine if you'll be best served by a standard letter, a postcard, or a self-mailer— just stick to the folks who are geographically close to your business, and you'll see a lot of soon-to-be-familiar faces at your grand opening.
Tip #6: Share Staff Profiles
As you hire your staff before your grand opening, take a moment to snap a photo and share a little information about the folks who your future customers will encounter when they visit your restaurant. Familiarizing people with the people who will be serving them will help patrons to feel more connected to the business.
Additionally, share videos of your staff while they're training before your grand opening— getting a sneak peek of the restaurant is enticing to potential customers. Keep it light, and be sure that everyone's adhering to health and safety standards before you post something— the last thing you want is to turn people off!
Tip #7: Seek Out Food Blogger Reviews
While the local paper's restaurant critic used to make or break restaurants, now food bloggers wield the power to bring customers in or keep them away. How you get the attention of the food bloggers in your area?
You could do a quick internet search for food bloggers in your area and invite them to enjoy a meal at your establishment on you. Whether it's at your soft open, or at an event specially set up for them, it's an easy way to get on their radar. Of course, you can't control what they say, but put your best foot forward and hope that they're impressed. Regardless, food bloggers mentioning your restaurant, whether they say good things or bad, can boost your SEO (search engine optimization), improving your searchability online.
Tip #8: Create a Functional, Professional-Looking Website
You've probably experienced the frustration of a poorly-performing website. Whether it's slow to load, cluttered, or it plays music that sends you scrambling for the mute button, when a business's website is less-than-stellar, it leaves you with a negative impression of the business.
Mobile optimization of your QSR or fast casual restaurant's website is a must. As of 2016, more people are using mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, than desktop computers. If it's difficult to access your website via mobile device, you're going to lose customers.
Additionally, ensure that your website is uncluttered and neatly organized. You want your prospective customers to be able to access the information they need intuitively. If they have to spend more than a minute or so digging around to find your hours of operation, for instance, it's likely that they'll give up and go somewhere else. Use your site as a means of engaging customers before they even walk into the restaurant.
Tip #9: Consider Online Coupons and Groupons
Online coupons and Groupons can bring more folks in the door, which is of primary importance for a restaurant facing their grand opening. While some QSRs or fast casual restaurants might be reluctant to accept a reduction of their already low prices, it's certainly a valid way to garner attention.
That said, it's important that you're ready for the onslaught that all-too-often comes with a deal. If your staff isn't prepared to offer excellent service even if there's a big crowd, you could end up alienating the very people you hope to attract.
Tip #10: Connect with Local Influencers
Every town or city, regardless of the size, there are people who are considered to be influencers. The power of good word of mouth is undeniable, and that power is increased significantly when it comes from the people who are considered to be influential. While these recommendations used to come in the form of a friend or family member phoning you or running into you at the grocery store, now they're more commonly passed along via social media.
The most influential people have followers numbering in the thousands, and these followers all trust their judgment implicitly. If you can coax these influencers to see what you've got to offer, and hopefully leave them with a positive impression, they'll share their experience with all of their followers, who will be interested in checking it out for themselves.
If you're eager to see your QSR or fast casual restaurant's grand opening greeted with enthusiasm, these tips will help you get the attention you want. Working with an experienced printing partner like the Vomela Companies will ensure that the signage and direct mail pieces you order will be of the utmost quality, at a fair price, and delivered on time. Click here to contact us today!