There are so many ways that you can boost your restaurant traffic without having to offer discounts to lure people in and get them to spend money.

Discounting is an extremely popular marketing tactic and is one that should generally be avoided. As soon as you lower your price, your customer will expect to see the same thing next time, and if they don’t, it could turn them away from your restaurant and leave you a customer down.

Another thing a discount does is it lowers the perceived value of your product. The lower the perceived value, the less a customer will willingly pay. While you may lure customers in for the short term by offering discounts, in the long term you may end up turning them away. Although, that’s not to say that discounts aren’t a great tool when used appropriately

The Many Ways You Can Increase Traffic in Your Restaurant

So, now we’ve discussed why discounts might not always be ideal for your business, let’s take a look at different ways that you can boost sales in your restaurant. Some of these ideas may seem incredibly obvious and some you may not have thought about before. All of the methods outlined below can help your restaurant entice new customers and retain them for the foreseeable future.

SEE ALSO: 25 Ways to Grow Your Small Business on a Bootstrap Budget

Good Photos of Your Food Can Impress People

Food is what brings people into your restaurant. Having professional looking photos of your restaurant’s food can help you to stand out from the crowd. Practicing your photography skills and trying to spruce up your menu and your website with new photos can do wonders for business.

Don’t forget to regularly update your restaurant’s social media accounts with pictures of your latest dishes. This is a good way to increase exposure. If you can work it into your budget, hire a professional food photographer to take the photos for you as these will undoubtedly look better than pictures snapped on your smartphone. Photos are often shared around online and can help to attract new customers to your restaurant.

Free WiFi Can Increases the Type of Customer That Comes In

WiFi is often very important to customers. Some people may view it as a necessity, especially if your restaurant is situated in a location where cell phone reception is lacking. Some customers will want to socialize online while they wait for their food and some might even want to get caught up on work while they stop for a drink on their way home. It’s important to give them that incentive to come in, sit down, and spend some money.

Keep Your Website Simple and Easy to Read

It’s common for people to go overboard when designing their restaurant’s website. It pays off to keep it simple, though, as fancy flash sites often won’t work on mobile. Most websites have a ton of distractions from the information that people are actually trying to seek out. Your menu, contact info, location, and opening hours should be front and center. Anything else is just filler that isn’t really necessary.

Email Marketing is Your Friend

Email marketing can seriously help you to improve customer loyalty. An opt-in form on your website can be a quick and easy way to collect the email addresses. Use these emails carefully, a newsletter promoting your new menu items, upcoming events, and specials will remind customers of your restaurant and will keep you in their minds when they’re planning on an evening out with family and friends. Resist the urge to send more than one email every few weeks as you’ll run the risk of annoying potential customers.

Hosting Events Can be at the Forefront of Excellent Marketing Campaigns

Letting people know about the different kinds of events you have can bring them into your restaurant and encourage them to try your food. A wine tasting, for example, would bring people together inside your restaurant for what could be a new experience. Wine could also be a good idea if you’re serving food that pairs well with wine. This gives customers even more incentive to stay.

SEE ALSO: 13 Tips for Marketing Your Restaurant Business

But remember, you’re not limited to wine. Have fun and change up your event ideas to bring in different kinds of people. It can be fun for your customers, staff, and yourself to branch out and try new things.

Show All the Big Sporting Events

A lot of sports fans will want to go somewhere nice to watch big games. You can generate some serious revenue if you decide to show them. You can use big sporting events to your advantage as it doesn’t take much to promote them. You’ll more than likely bring in large groups of people who are looking for a place to keep warm, eat, and drink for several hours.

How to boost restaurant traffic without discounts restaurant guest eating

Remember Your Regulars

Sometimes, it pays to focus on the customers that you have, as opposed to the customers that you want. Getting to know your regulars on a personal level can be brilliant for your business. You show them that you truly care about them and their experience at your restaurant.

Keeping a customer loyal can be great for you in the long run as over time they’re bound to introduce their family and friends to your restaurant, so they can enjoy the impeccable customer service experience too. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Provide them with a similar experience and it will snowball, and before you know it, you’ll have a restaurant full of happy customers.

A Delivery Service for Those Rainy Days

Sometimes, people just don’t want to leave their house. More and more people are opting to have restaurant-quality food delivered thanks to mobile apps such as Uber Eats. The ability to have your food delivered means that you’ll never lose out on a potential sale. It also enables you to expand your reach as some people might not be willing to travel as far as you are able to deliver. Bad weather, personal injuries, or simply just not wanting to leave the comfort of their home can stop people from visiting your restaurant.

Besides, everyone emails and texts these days. Sending a text is so much faster than a making a call. Online delivery services and apps are becoming more and more prevalent and enable you to bring your restaurant up-to-date and increase the appeal to your customers.

Gift Cards – A Tried and Trusted Method

While issuing gift cards may seem like an old trick, it actually works. So many people end up shopping or eating somewhere new simply because they have a gift card. The simple fact of the matter is, gift cards are a great option to bring people in. Once a customer is in your restaurant, it’s your job to turn them into a loyal customer with the quality of your food and service. If you do so, you’ll more than benefit from giving away a few bucks in free food.

SEE ALSO: How to Run a Successful Gift Card Program

Optimize Your Restaurant for Local Search Results Through SEO

SEO or search engine optimization pretty much means that you use things like keywords in your content online so it can be one of the top things people see when people use a search engine. So, let’s say you run an Italian restaurant. When making your restaurant’s website you would use words and phrases that have to do with Italian food, restaurants, Italy, food service, etc to make sure search engines know that your website has good information about Italian food on it. Plenty of people research before choosing to go to a new restaurant. SEO gives you the opportunity to make a good first impression before anyone walks through your doors.

Google Reviews Can Help Your Restaurant Look Good to the Public

Google reviews are an important way to increase the public’s perception of your restaurant. These reviews will also help you to be found on Google and will make your business look better to potential customers that come across your website. Reviews are good indicators of the quality of food and service available at your restaurant and people take them very seriously.

For some people, choosing a restaurant that they’ve never been to before is a big risk, especially if it’s for a memorable or special occasion. The more positive reviews that you have, the more likely people will trust your business and book a table with you.

Keep Your Queues and Wait Times Short With Modern Point of Sale Software

If customers see a long line at your restaurant, see queues at the bar, or hear about the awfully long waits from their family and friends, it’s likely that they’ll be put off before they’ve even looked at the menu or had a chance to visit the place themselves. The increased efficiency that is delivered thanks to the modern point of sale (POS) software can help your restaurant run smoother than ever.

It’s not just the front of house staff that will benefit from a POS system. The overall running of your restaurant can be revolutionized as POS software can help you to simplify accounting by allowing you to import data directly to your accounting software.

POS systems can also help streamline the way that you manage your employees and your inventory. You will be able to monitor your inventory and staff, save hours managing your stock, and have more time to focus on improving other areas of your business. They’re an easy solution to increase productivity while lowering the cost of operating your restaurant.

While offering customers discounts does seem tempting, you as a business owner have so many different options when it comes to bringing customers in. You can increase traffic and the quality of your restaurant by doing even one or two of the options given here. You may not see immediate results, but given time there will be a noticeable difference in your restaurant.

Ryan Gilmore is a writer at ShopKeep.

Ryan Gilmore

As Inbound Content Marketing Manager at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Ryan Gilmore uses his extensive experience in small business technology to create educational content that helps merchants run and grow their businesses more effectively.