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Incentivizing customers back through your doors

Key Points

  • Now is the time to ramp up your marketing activities and entice customers back through special offers, meal deals and new menus.
  • Scaling back your menu is a must for many businesses, and while it’s important to focus on your tried and true favourites, you can also use this as an opportunity for innovation.
  • Take-home meal deals and family packs are a great way to boost sales as business begins to pick up.
  • Capitalise upon customers’ support of your business by making it easy for them to sign up to a ‘your 10th meal free’ loyalty program or purchase gift cards for their friends.

WHILE SOME CUSTOMERS will be keen to return to their favourite eateries, others are likely to be more cautious – especially those for whom money is tight due to work downturns brought on by the recent restrictions.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to ramp up your marketing activities while also providing extra incentives to entice customers back through your doors – such as special offers, meal deals and new menus. Here are our five top suggestions to help:

* Let customers know you’re back. Make sure your website, Facebook page, Instagram feed or other relevant social media platform is updated with the latest information about the fact that you’re once again open for eat-in. This is especially important if, like many foodservice businesses, you’ve changed your operating hours. It’s also important to let customers know of capacity restrictions and the need to book in advance – which for most businesses has become essential in the current environment. You can make the process easier by providing an online booking link to one of the many platforms available.

* Create a new ‘welcome back’ menu and share it.  Scaling back the menu is a must for many businesses keeping an eye on costs while having to ‘guesstimate’ likely numbers of orders and how many ingredients to keep on hand. Focus on your core offerings and tried and true favourites, or innovate the menu to showcase variations of existing favourites or something entirely new. You can also create new signature pizza and pasta dishes.

* Offer take-home meal deals and family packs. This is a great way to increase your sales as business begins to pick up – offering a combo of menu favourites in a take-home pack which customers can eat over several days. By offering a combo pack at a cheaper price point than it would cost customers to order each meal individually, you’re providing added value and balancing sales volume against cost per unit.

* Encourage customers to sign up to loyalty schemes. Your customers know that foodservice has been doing it tough, and their continued patronage is a show of their support for your business. You can capitalise upon this goodwill by making it easy for them to sign up to a ‘your 10th meal free’ loyalty program or purchase gift cards for their friends. And by using virtual cards which customers can download and which you can scan from their phone, all transactions can be contactless ones.

* Thank customers for their ongoing support. A simple thank you card added to takeout or home delivery orders, or stapled to the invoice at the end of the meal, shows customers your appreciation of their patronage and that you recognise their importance to the continued viability of your business.