It can be tough running a small business in the tourism and hospitality sector, there are a lot of choices out there for consumers.
However, you don’t have to have a massive budget to create a buzz or publicity for your business. Here are my Top 10 Tips for small restaurants, based on my work with THE 1875 Restaurant.
1. Send out press releases. Nobody else is going to shout about what you are doing so don’t expect things to magically appear in the press unless you tell them! Don’t be afraid to send them in, especially to local press who are always looking for stories.
2. Utilise any free listing sites such as those provided by your local council’s tourism department, which will enable you to effectively advertising for free. Respond to ALL TripAdvisor reviews and take a step back before you respond to a negative one. Remember your responses are like PR in themselves and can be turned into a positive but can also give you negative PR if you are too prickly and defensive.
3. Do something a bit different and stand out from the crowd. The 1875 was based in a train station so we tied in the train links and came up with a ‘Valentines Love Train’ for Valentines weekend, which generated local interest, press and helped to fill the restaurant over all three nights. Other ideas could be to try to beat a world record.
4. Network! Locally and within markets that you are attracting business. Don’t expect immediate results but long-term relationships and referrals.
5. Partner with key businesses and ask them for referrals, links and joint offers. We asked local Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts to provide links to our website and recommend the restaurant to their guests. You can also provide special discounts to local businesses who have similar customers such as local Health or Golf Clubs.
6. Offer to write an article in the local paper that may be of interest, include a recipe from your Head Chef.
7. Utilise Social Media fully – Twitter is a great reactive tool. Give followers exclusive offers to use if they dine with you on certain evenings. Join in on local Twitter networking groups such as #hours. Post daily specials and interact with your followers asking questions such as ‘What new dish would you like to see on the menu?’
8. Host a showcase event that highlights what you have to offer to local businesses and residents. Provide samples of the food on your menu. We did authentic Indian themed evenings with quiz, mini master chef classes in the kitchen and how to wear a Sari or Turban. Local businesses have returned with their teams or clients and have talked about it to others.
9. Put together a database of regular clients and mail out news, updates and exclusive offers. Ensure you do this properly through an official email marketing service provider.
10. Be a constant advert for your business, talk about it to everyone you meet, offer referrals, get involved with local initiatives such as with schools, carnivals and food festivals.
For more information on how ‘People Buy People’ can help your small restaurant become more confident and efficient in Sales give me a call on 07711999123 or drop me an email.