How do I get more customers?

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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.

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