How to Get More People Into Your Bar or Restaurant: 3 Tried and True Ideas

You’ve got good food, a killer atmosphere, simple-to-follow prices, and the uniforms on your staff look snazzy. Whether your establishment has had some success or it has just opened its doors, many people find out that the dream of a bustling bar or restaurant is more complicated than it looks. Whether you want to get more people in the building or ensure that you have the strategies for when your team is ready for more people, you need to follow some of these ideas.

The best part is, that at the end of the day, these ideas work and will bring people into your bar or restaurant. So pick one or try them all, and you will see an uptick in customers!

1. Market To The Customers

Many times, restaurants try to operate on their schedule. They have the foods they serve when they serve them, and that is that. However, if you want customers to come into your establishment and eat, you must ensure that you meet them halfway. So try to figure out when the most customers are walking around available in your part of the neighborhood.

If your area caters to the morning crowd, have most of your deals and sales in the morning. If most customers leave work hungry and walk by your restaurant, have a lunch deal waiting for them when they walk by. If you are in an area famous for the nightlife, get the midnight oil burning and bring the customers to it.

Determine when your desired customers are available and tailor your marketing to them.

2. Have A Happy Hour!

Everyone loves happy hour. A time when the drinks are cheap, the food is cheaper, and the atmosphere can’t help but be happy! Happy hours have existed for as long as bars and restaurants have existed, and they will continue to be around because they work.

But you can’t just create a happy hour menu and call it a day. You need to make sure that you can employ some effective happy hour strategies to make sure that you differentiate yourself from the other restaurants. Maybe have different happy hour themes on different days, or make each day have the same foods but paired with different drinks. Or if you want to spice things up, have the happy hour be during a different hour every day of the week.

3.  Make Your Restaurant or Bar about More Than The Food or Drinks

It sounds crazy to focus on something other than food and drinks at your establishment, especially since that is what you want to be known for. But often people go to restaurants and bars to do something. Maybe have your bar fitted for televisions and make it known that your place is the best place to watch the big game or the next massive sporting event. Or have your restaurant host a trivia night or a night themed around certain foods.

You can even have your restaurant or bar open on the holidays for people who want somewhere to go, and it can be fun to decorate or make themed foods and drinks for the special occasion. But the point is, you need to make your establishment about more than the food and drinks you serve. It should have an environment customers want to return to and feel comfortable in.

Bonus Round: Elevate Your Game with These Extra Moves

Turbocharge Your Tech

Smartphones at the Ready: In this digital age, having a mobile-friendly website or an easy-to-navigate app isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Include features like online reservations, to-go orders, and maybe even a virtual tour of your venue.

Tip: A simple yet impactful idea—use QR codes on tables for easy menu access or to link to your loyalty program.

DIY Foodie Paradise

Be Your Own Trend: Don’t just follow food trends; create them. Whether it’s a limited-time “secret menu” or a DIY cocktail station, giving patrons something they can’t get elsewhere can turn them into loyal advocates.

Tip: Collaborate with local food bloggers or influencers to showcase your unique offerings. A little buzz can go a long way!

Authentic Storytelling

Your Brand, Your Narrative: Every restaurant or bar has a story to tell. Maybe it’s the history of your location, the journey of your head chef, or your commitment to sustainability. Share this narrative through decor, social media, and even your restaurant menu.

Tip: A well-told story not only attracts but also retains customers. It gives them something to connect with beyond just a great meal or drink.

Get the Community Involved

Local Love: Partner up with local businesses for joint promotions or events. This not only increases your visibility but also strengthens your ties within the community.

Tip: Consider hosting a local artisans’ night, where nearby craftspeople can display their wares, or a “Taste of the Town” event featuring locally sourced foods.

Feel free to blend these bonus tips with the tried-and-true methods already mentioned. After all, the best strategy is one that adapts and evolves. As you see those reservation books filling up and that line out the door, don’t forget to savor the moment. Your dream of a bustling venue is coming true, and that’s something to celebrate!

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