14 Ways to Increase Restaurant Traffic (2022)

Are you tired of standing around an empty restaurant wondering how to increase restaurant traffic? Well, you are in the right place! Many restaurants struggle with keeping full throughout the week, however, with these 14 ways to increase your traffic, you will be sure to see more people streaming in through your doors.

1. Hand Out Samples

Spark people’s attention as they pass by your restaurant by offering samples. Simply create small portions of some of your fan favourites and hand them out to people.

This is a great way to encourage people to try your restaurant because you are giving them a teaser of what they can order. Most people wonder if the food at a restaurant is worth their money, but you can just show them.

2. Get Involved With Your Local Community

A great way to encourage locals to stop by your restaurant is by building your presence in local happenings. You can do so by hosting a charity event, giving back to your community, hosting masterclasses for locals only, etc.

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The best way to know how to increase your local influence is by doing some research on what special occasions and events are happening in your area. You can also tune into what traditions are most common in your restaurant’s community.

3. Geo-Targeting

This refers to promoting different content depending on the location of your audience. This can be used to either target a local audience or reach for those who are not.

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter allow you to geo-localized your posts and advertisements to better reach a specific audience.

For example, Facebook allows you to specify the gender, age, location, etc. of your targeted audience.

4. Live Events

Hosting live events is great for attracting new people to your restaurant. Lock into trends and popular shows to know exactly what people want to watch. You can host a karaoke night, music shows, live bands, comedy, poetry, sports events and more!

To know which shows will do the best, do some research on which types of shows are most popular in your city and for your specific niche. This way, you are sure to attract lots of great traffic.

Also, don’t forget to promote your events through emails and social media ads!

5. Happy Hour

Hosting a Happy Hour is not new to restaurants with bars, however, you can take it even further than discounted alcohol. You can have a designated hour where you have specials or tasting menus that are easy for the kitchen to prepare. This is great because there are already plenty of people looking for a good time at happy hour, why wouldn’t they want to indulge in a little bit of food?

6. Start a Loyalty or Reward System

Loyalty and reward systems are a great way to increase your amount of repeat customers. Having repeat customers is a bonus because they are loyal to your restaurant. In fact, 76% of repeat customers spend more than a new customer. Now that’s a reason to reward someone!

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You can create a loyalty or reward system with punch cards, membership cards, or mobile apps. There are many cost-efficient ways to say ‘thank you’ to your fan customers.64% of restaurant owners claim they have made more money than it costs to keep up!

7. Have an Online Presence

Having an online presence is BIG nowadays because the consumer depends on search engines and their smartphones to help them make decisions throughout their buyer journey.

By spreading your restaurant’s name on the internet, you are not only increasing online visibility but also encouraging people to come and try your delicious food and experience your amazing ambiance!

8. Claim Your Google My Business

If you really want to improve your online presence, claiming your Google My Business (GMB) is a great place to start. As I mentioned before, consumers are relying on search engines to find their next best dining experience. Google has a very strict algorithm and if you want to rank well locally you will have to match their criteria.

By claiming your GMB, you are also creating a profile where people can go through Google to find information about your menu, address, open hours, telephone number, and prices.

Don’t let people miss out on finding your restaurant by simply claiming and creating your GMB profile!

9. Improve Your Social Media

Everybody is on some type of social media platform these days, and as a restaurant, this is a bonus! Your main products are delicious food and thirst-quenching beverages that look amazing in photographs! Join the trend of using visual content as the main source of promoting your brand and building your social media audience.

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When improving your social media game, here are some things you need to do:

  • Post consistently: If you want better results and more visibility through some social media algorithms the trick is to post consistently. It’s recommended to post once or twice a day.
  • Use hashtags: Using hashtags is like using keywords for search engines, it is how people find specific results. Use hashtags that relate to both your post and brand.
  • Create a hashtag for your restaurant: By doing so, you can encourage customers to take pictures, post them on social media, and use your hashtag.
  • Post your daily specials: This is a great way to attract people’s attention on the daily.

10. Encourage Reviews And Ratings

Do your customers give you great comments about your food and service? Do you wish you could share the positive feedback with other people to encourage them to try your food? Well, you can, with online reviews and ratings. With local directories and search engines, clients can leave a written review about their experience at your restaurant and/or leave a rating out of 5.

I recommend you encourage your customers to review and/or rate your restaurant for a few reasons. Google ranks businesses higher in search engine results if they have consistent quality reviews and ratings.

Also, many customers rely on these reviews and ratings to decide if they will try your restaurant. Many people trust these reviews just as much as if a friend or family member has told them the same.

Furthermore, part of your job is brand reputation management. This includes reviewing comments and ratings. Make sure you answer any questions and take care of negative comments.

11. Email Marketing

If you want to further engage with your customers, email marketing is a great way to do so. There are a couple of ways to get your customers’ email addresses and names. You can get them to enter giveaways where they must provide their email address, or you can offer promotions for the same results.

Through bulk emails, you can send your customers updates about upcoming events, promotions, and specials of the week. It is also a great way to encourage customer reviews and promote your loyalty or reward system.

Furthermore, to better manage your emails, a good CRM system is super beneficial. These systems keep a record of your previous emails, allows you to create and save email templates, and create different groups of email contacts. You can also look back and analyze your demographics and overall engagement with customers.

12. Online Promotions

If you want a higher amount of people entering your restaurant, online promotions are a perfect tool! You can use social media or bulk emails to advertise your awesome promotions.

For example, you could begin a promotion where every Friday your drinks are half-priced with the purchase of a meal. What’s great is that you are reaching your target audience online but it is a promotion that can only be used at your physical restaurant.

It really motivates people to stop by your restaurant and take a peek at what you have to offer.

13. Online Reservations

What’s great about the internet is that you can easily reach people and allow any type of person to feel welcome in using your services. Having a place online for people to make reservations is perfect because it cuts the awkward conversation between your restaurant and customer.

I know I have always dreaded making calls and being able to reserve online has saved me from feeling awkward (maybe that’s just me!).

You can also integrate a virtual tour onto your website. People can take a tour of your beautiful restaurant and even choose their desired table if you wish!

14. Instagram Worthy Exterior

As I have mentioned a couple of times, the online world and social media are crazy important these days. By making your restaurant’s aesthetic more ‘picture perfect’ you are inviting a whole new audience to come by your restaurant.

This is a great way to encourage people to take pictures and post them online. Food bloggers and influencers will be more likely to stop by and give your restaurant a shout out on social media.

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Author: Geoffrey Lueilwitz

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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