Attracting Customers

A How To For Bars, Restaurants and Retail Shops!

Many bars, restaurants and retail shops struggle with getting enough customers, yet potentially have the makings of a very successful business. If you are struggling getting customers inside then there are a few basic things you need to get right.

First of all, who are you? What are you? You cannot be all things to all people. You need to clearly define what it is you are offering, and to whom. What does that particular target marketing want? If you know WHO your customer is, and WHAT you are offering, then you can decide how to attract them!

For instance, let’s assume you are catering to families on holiday. What do mum and dad want? Probably a relaxing time and that the kids enjoy it. They want to be happy and carefree, they don’t want nagging, bored kids. So why not provide some entertainment for the kids? Crayons and colouring paper is an old-time favourite. And if you’re offering that, promote it visibly!

A favourite trick of restaurants and bars catering to the English is providing TV’s showing Corrie, Eastenders and football. The investment is well worth it!

Next, it’s back to basics. The look and feel of your place is extremely important. Does it look run down? Do tables and chair match? Does it look clean? Is your window display attractive? If your place doesn’t look appealing you are facing an uphill struggle. Do NOT trust your own eyes – you are too used to seeing your place so you are more likely to have rose tinted glasses on. Instead, grab a clip-board and make up a simple form – and stop people in the street outside your place and ASK THEM! And pay close attention to their answers instead of getting upset – you may discover a problem which could be very easy to fix, but has a major impact on your business.

Is what you offer easy to understand? Is it laid out clearly and understandably? For a shop, is your layout clear and logical, with related items close together and visible? Do you state what you are or what you sell on the shop front? If you’re a bar or restaurant, is your menu or drinks list clear and easy to understand? And no spelling mistakes…? Ask your customers to rate your menu for clarity and user friendliness.

A key aspect of filling your premises with customers is making them want to come back. Getting a new customer is time consuming and costly – making them repeat customers is a LOT cheaper. Even if they’re only on holiday for a week. And many are creatures of habit and will come back to you next year as well.

How about offering 10% off on their next visit? Or a free gift? Give them a voucher to take away, something tangible to remind them that you are waiting for them. Not just a business card – it must remind them of the offer!

Take a close look at how you and your staff greet new customers. It’s simple things such as, how quickly does the waiter come to the table for drinks orders, or how customers are greeted when they walk into a shop. Does the customer have to struggle to get someone’s attention? How quick is the service? These factors make a huge impact on whether the customer comes back again, and is just as important for retail shops as for restaurants and bars.

If you can, use display boards outside to show customers what you offer. ‘Quality dining in family-friendly surroundings with children’s activities and friendly staff’, ‘Quality Chocolates For Special Occasions’, ‘Traditional English Bar With Your Favourite Brands’.

Can you provide tasters? For instance, your PR person outside could offer small pieces of your signature dish. This also creates psychological pressure on the prospect to say yes to come inside. If you do takeaways and people wait for a while, get them to try new dishes by offering tasters!

A lot of this advice is just common sense – yet that’s often what’s needed. And maybe a pair of fresh eyes to look at your business. See the ad on this page for a special offer!

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