9 Ways to Make Your Restaurant More Appealing to Locals

Owning a restaurant can be one of the more challenging professions. Patrons are sometimes unpredictable and will leave permanently at the slightest mistake. This means you must always be on your toes and provide patrons with the experiences they desire. This career can be cutthroat.  

According to a recent survey, 64% of restaurant-goers have intentionally chosen local restaurants over chains. This highlights just how much patrons want a unique dining experience. So you have to stand out from the pack if you’re going to increase your local market share.

Listed are nine things you can do to bring in more traffic for your restaurant from the area you serve.  

1. Take a Customer-Centric Approach

Owning a restaurant means you recognize that customer service is critical, almost more important than the meals you serve. So even if you only offer traditional meal options but provide above-board customer service, you’ll likely do better than a restaurant with mouthwatering meals and terrible customer service. 

It takes a single bad dining experience to lose customers forever. Avoid this scenario by training your staff to treat people courteously and professionally. Respect goes a long way in making your patrons feel welcome and securing your customer base.  

2. Partner with Local Businesses

Patrons will appreciate your business more when they realize you support other businesses in the area. For example, patrons love it when restaurants buy locally. So, if you serve BLTs, make sure to acquire the lettuce and tomatoes from nearby farms. This is a great angle to mention on your social media or in your marketing.

3. Be a Unicorn

It is often the case that restaurants allow their menus to stagnate and become commonplace too quickly. This problem can cause guests to become disinterested in your brand. 

One solution is to offer unique menu items to your patrons. For example, you could try an exotic dish at an event hosted at your establishment. If patrons were to enjoy this new fare, you could add it to your menu as a regular item! If you don’t have any new recipes up your sleeve, try adding a new dimension to an old favorite. 

Let your imagination run free! Your customers will appreciate all your efforts! 

4. Create a Social Media Profile

Social media can provide a wealth of exposure. It is easy to reach a wider area of people using these platforms versus traditional channels like newspapers and radio advertising. Upcoming events should be marketed through your online business page on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This method is the best way to keep your customers abreast and eager about what you have to offer. Show off pictures of your newest recipes, share how certain dishes are made, and post-behind-the-scenes moments of running your restaurant.

5. Give Incentives for Diners to Visit

Getting first-time foot traffic through your door is a major goal. Fortunately, everyone loves a freebie! Giving a little extra with milestone purchases helps secure patron brand loyalty. Offering products such as a free coffee with every five breakfasts or a free dessert after every seven meals makes people want to do business with you. 

Another way to pull in more diners is to offer digital coupons and incentives. For example, free Wi-Fi access for customers means you have created additional convenience which encourages customers to return. You could exchange special deals for customer names and addresses through a loyalty program, too. 

6. Create a Wonderful Dining Experience

Your restaurant’s atmosphere, whether indoors or outdoors, is essential when trying to make an impression on your customers. Patrons may skip out on tasting your tasty food if the lighting is terrible, the floor is nasty, and the tables are dirty.  

You want to create a buzz with diners and have them enthusiastic about dining with you. Keep everything about your restaurant in top condition. Clean floors and furniture and ensuring you have a well-lit kitchen and dining area are important. Always be sure to exterminate any bugs, pests, and foul odors that arise.  

7. Carry a Comprehensive Business Insurance Policy

Whether a storm knocks out your restaurant’s power and spoils the inventory or you plan to expand into delivery services, business insurance is crucial in keeping things running smoothly and safely. Your patrons want access to your delicious menu when they need it most. So protecting your business against events that could interfere with your operations is the best way to keep the orders flying in.

Below are the best insurance policies for your restaurant:

  • General Liability Insurance: This type of insurance ensures that your legal responsibility to others is taken care of if you cause harm to someone else. It could be bodily harm, property harm, or advertising harm.  
  • Business Interruption Protection: If your restaurant has to close due to storm damage, for example, this policy can be a lifeline that helps you keep staff paid and resupply when it’s time to reopen.
  • Workers’ Compensation: Worker’s Comp insurance is a policy that pays for lost wages and medical costs if one of your employees gets hurt on the job.  
  • Commercial Property: You never know when the unexpected will happen. Business property insurance covers the price of recovering equipment and furniture in your restaurant, including the building itself, when unexpected accidents or storm damage occurs.  
  • Spoilage Protection: Food spoils. Spoilage insurance helps cover when there’s an accidental loss.
  • Food Contamination Insurance: Food can be mishandled, improperly stored, or infested with a foodborne illness. Should this problem happen, Food Contamination Insurance will help cover financial losses.
  • Employee Dishonesty Protection: Unfortunately, people, your employees, can be dishonest and steal. If this were to happen, Employee Dishonesty Coverage would have your financial losses covered.
  • Liquor Liability:  If one of your customers were intoxicated and caused damages to someone or something, this coverage will cover your legal, medical, and property damage costs. 
  • Hired and Non-Owned Commercial Auto Coverage: Were someone from your restaurant caused damage to a vehicle not owned by your business, hired and non-owned auto liability will protect your assets. 
  • Business Owner’s Policy: A BOP, or Business Owner’s Policy, is a bouquet of small insurance coverages that will save you from many different kinds of liability. 

8. Become Part of Your Local Community

Getting noticed means participating in your community. Be aware of local events and ensure your team wears your restaurant’s logo on a hat or shirt if you decide to attend. By allowing folks to taste your food at local festivals or conventions, you can convert people who have never heard of you into customers! As a bonus, you will potentially impress loyal patrons.

9. Keep Things Simple

It’s a common practice to try to make an impression by presenting a complex menu. However, no one wants to spend a lot of time mulling over what every item on the menu means when they’re ravenous. Even if you offer a variety of dishes, keep things short, neat, and organized. You may think your menu needs to be extensive, but this is incorrect. Keeping it short and to the point makes it easier for patrons to choose their meals and keep your kitchen’s order load balanced. 

You’re Starting an Amazing Journey

As an aspiring restaurateur, creating a dining experience that attracts repeat diners is crucial to your success. There are many ways to make your business appealing, many of which take place behind the scenes, such as being adequately insured, so there isn’t any interruption in your service. 

Many liabilities could potentially interfere with your operations, leaving your patrons hungry and looking elsewhere for their meals. So before opening your doors and dishing out delicacies, be sure to include a comprehensive business insurance policy as part of your risk management program.