Marketing A Fast Food Restaurant Or Cafe Business
Fast food is one of the most sensible and cost effective ways sell food and hot drinks. By specialising in fast food you can in many cases save on overhead. This because you can buy in quality pre-prepared food. You save a lot on labour because you don’t need as many people to carry out this function in your restaurant. Marketing need not be expensive either, but it must be well thought out. It does take diligence and perseverance to continually market, and even starting a takeaway restaurant is no easy achievement.Everything you do should be geared towards marketing in one way or another.
On Site Signs & Curb Appeal
One of the most important marketing strategies must occur right outside your fast food restaurant, because frequently that is the place where customers decide to purchase food from your restaurant or another nearby restaurant. Even if they decided to come to your restaurant and drove or walked to your door, they may still change their minds right before they go inside if something is amiss outside.
Why People Don’t Go In
Worried about the price – Post either a menu or a list of affordable specials in the front of your restaurant, where it can be seen by passers by. This assures your customers that lunch and dinner are both affordable at your restaurant.
Worried about sanitation – Make sure your restaurant looks clean and neat outside. Make sure several times a day that the pavement and car park are clean and free of litter.
Wondering if the food is good – Depending on your location it may be a good idea to send a staff member outside to give out small samples of your desert or a popular main course, on toothpicks or in little paper cups. Make sure your employee wears plastic gloves for sanitary distribution. Also make sure you choose one of your most personable staff members, so that they will make friends of passers by rather than annoy them.
The sense of smell is a powerful decision maker in any purchase. Even clothing stores use scent marketing, but in a restaurant you have the means at your fingertips to do powerful scent marketing. Therefore make sure your restaurant is clean, and smells good inside and out with great cooking. Use fans and ductwork to distribute the smell of fresh food right to both sides of your front door. Police your restrooms to make sure they smell fresh.
Décor and First Impressions
The décor is very important, but that doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Make sure your takeaway restaurant doorway makes the nature of your business clear. If you sell fish and chips, have a nautical theme. If you have a Chinese takeaway restaurant, make sure to share a bit of your culture near the doorway. Let them know what you do, and create an impression which they will pleasantly recall. Displays need not be expensive. Hand made displays are often most effective, but they should be memorable, and illustrate what your restaurant is about. They should also be kept fresh and clean. For that reason your displays should be washable. The displays in your coffee shop or fast food restaurant should create atmosphere. It has to be something to set you apart and make your business memorable.
Logos and Branding
Display your Logo Prominently on Everything – Have a Graphic Designer create a Logo that expresses your business. Use that logo on all your brochures, and all your signage. Your logo should appear on a sign above your door, on your door, and inside your cafe or takeaway restaurant as much as possible. Always use the same colors for your logo.
The Menu, Flyers, Promotional Gifts and Business Cards
Most small businesses get more mileage for the money from promotional printing than any other marketing strategy. It’s very cost effective, and leads to substantial repeat business.
Menu- Have your menu printed as a bi-fold, or tri-fold brochure.
Flyers- Print out flyers with coupons, promotional information, and even fun facts about the theme of your cafe or fast food restaurant. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be a small sheet of colored paper with black print on it, but it has to look interesting, and that is up to your designer. Hire the graphic artist who did your logo, to create these promotional flyers.
Coloring Sheets – Also have the artist design coloring sheets and puzzles for the kids. It’s a good idea, if customers have to wait for their orders to have a few packs of crayons so that kids can color while they wait.
Promotional Gifts – Select a small promotional item to give away seasonally. Think of your theme, usefulness, and the children.
When take out customers leave your fast food restaurant with food they could also take a menu, a promotional flyer, a coloring sheet and perhaps a small promotional gift. This keeps customers thinking of your restaurant.
Place your Promotional flyers and menus, in hotels, motels, and visitors centers, and any other place they are allowed. Make sure people can find your menu in as many locations as possible around your city. Take your menus to local colleges. Hand them out on the street, and in the malls. Use inexpensive promotional printing to sell your fast food restaurant.
Use the Kids
Children will often keep promotional gifts in the home, take them to school and use them more than adults will. Children are powerful little marketers. If they like your cafe or coffee shop, they will not only strongly encourage their parents to come back frequently, but they will also tell their school friends, who will encourage their families to go. Always be extra nice to children because they can really help your business.
“Cater” children’s birthday parties and prominently display posters and signage explaining that you cater parties. Price those parties with bulk prices on your food. This could result in huge restaurant orders made in advance, as well as walk in traffic. Your service could be as simple as preparing food, special party napkins, and a few promotional gift toys, but make sure it will seem like a lot to the children.
Face painting, stickers, balloons and other small things will impress children. Offer free face painting while you wait once a month, or give out helium balloons. These extras will cost very little but it will bring in business.
Build a colorful and pictorial site for your restaurant. Have professional photographs taken of your food (it is notoriously difficult to photograph attractively) and day parties that you cater for. Use pictures from your theme as well, to create a fun site. Have your menu and prices on your site. Remember to keep it updated. For more traffic include a lot of information about the topic of your theme. Sponsor a forum about your theme, whether it is Chinese culture, or fishing, or just an aquarium fish site for kids. Make sure your URL and information about your site are on your printed information which you give out to your customers.
Use a “things to do” newspaper in your city and advertise with them if it is affordable. Use other media as you can afford it. Often small newspapers will do a story on your restaurant if asked. This can be extremely helpful. Make press releases about your restaurant regularly, and offer them to the media. You could also create your own publication together with other non competing businesses in your area. This could create interest in your local area’s activities, and increase traffic near your fast food restaurant.
Marketing a profitable high margin coffee shop, cafe chain or takeaway can be fun, cost effective and useful to your community as well. Make your services known to the public in whatever way you can. Make sure your front door is always inviting, and that your restaurant smells nice. Remember the secrets of using cheap promotional printing, promotional gifts, and even recruiting kids to promote your restaurant. Those things alone will create a lot of new and repeat business.
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