How do I get more customers?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.You have asked a question that indicates you are ready to move to the next level. Your signs are advertising. Now you are ready to move into marketing, which is establishing a relationship with your current and potential customers. This is not necessarily quick, but is powerful. Here are several ideas:
1. Capture as many of your customers' email addresses as possible -- perhaps with the promise of a coupon in return.
2. Whether you have servers or counter staff, have them ask customers if they would like to receive valuable coupons in a monthly newsletter and have a neat looking form for them to fill out.
3. Use these addresses to send out a monthly newsletter with a coupon -- could be for a free beverage, dessert, fries or whatever works in your restaurant. There are easy, inexpensive programs to help you do this. In the newsletter, you can also highlight new items, include a picture of a family having fun in your restaurant, etc.
4. Have a "Family Special Night" once a week with a featured menu. Once your customers get used to seeing it once a week they will begin to remember it.
5. Host an event in your restaurant -- partner with the chamber of commerce or a nearby store.
6. Develop a special name for a logo character -- but make it a contest with a free meal for the winner.
7. Let the local newspaper know about your contest and when you pick the winner get a picture in the paper.
Get the idea? Find reasons for potential customers to think of your restaurant when they aren't in the mall.