4 Ways to Draw Customers Into Your Restaurant

An experienced 'Top Chef' restaurant owner shares some of his secrets to success.

learn more about Stefan Richter

By Stefan Richter

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A lot of factors divide successful restaurants from those that don't last. While there is no easy answers, there are several things owners can do to give their businesses a competitive edge. Here are four tips for restaurant owners to keep their customers coming back for more.

1. Be Present.
While quantity has it benefits, quality will give you a connection with your customers, staff and community. I have several restaurants but not too many that my signature involvement in each is diluted. I have enough time to be involved in the daily operations of each restaurant, ensuring that they are a positive representation of my brand.

I check in with my staff and make a point to stop and chat with as many tables as possible as they enjoy their meal. Customers are there to see you, the chef, the owner, the creator, so it is important to make time to say hello. Small donations of your time show that you care and keeps customers coming back.

2. Pricing.
It's always important that your pricing is reasonable, while still maintaining quality. When pricing your menu, consider the local economy and lifestyle. In Los Angeles, a good goal is an average of a $40 ticket per person. Depending upon your location your pricing will vary.

3. Give Back to Your Community.
If you are able to, use local products. For one, you will guarantee much fresher ingredients if you buy from your local farmers market, fish market, etc. rather than purchasing from a major distributor who has to package and ship to you. I often bring in spices and vegetables from my own garden, not only does this cut costs but they are the freshest I can get! I garden in the morning and they are served that evening. More importantly, by utilizing your local markets and farmers, you are investing in and helping to improve your local economy.

Related: 3 Ingredients to a Kick-Ass Restaurant

#insert related here#

4. Ambiance.
While you want your restaurant to be a representation of you and your brand you also want to appeal to individuals of all types. One method is to create a few different "vibes" in one space. For example, I have an outdoor patio with have live music and fire pits that is rustic and hip. Inside there is a private wine room for guests who are looking for an intimate evening. Be creative with your space and don't be afraid to change things around. I did a complete renovation of Stefan's at LA Farm and it helped business significantly, because everyone wanted to come see the "new" restaurant.

Related: How Bacon in Your Ice Cream and Peanut Butter on Your Pizza Can Mean Money in Your Pocket

Stefan Richter

Stefan Richter is a television personality, world renowned chef, and
restaurateur. Chef Richter currently owns and operates several restaurants
around the world including Stefan's Steakhouse in Finland, in three
locations, his catering company, Stefan F. Richter's European catering, and
Stefan's at LA Farm in Santa Monica.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Money & Finance

What Is a Good Credit Score and How Do I Get One?

Is bad credit holding you back? This article explains what constitutes a good credit score and how to raise your score if it's low.

Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Business News

The 'Airbnbust' Proves the Wild West Days of Online Vacation Rentals Are Over

Airbnb recently reported that 2022 was its first profitable year ever. But the deluge of new listings foreshadowed an inevitable correction.

Business News

Amtrak Introduces 'Night Owl' Prices With Some Routes As Low As $5

The new discounts apply to some rides between Washington D.C. and New York City.