To attract new customers and stay competitive, restaurants today must not only offer great food and excellent service, but maintain an informative and engaging presence across digital channels. 

Here are some recommendations to help your restaurant reach new customers and thrive in today’s environment.

Boost your online presence

Having a strong online presence is important for any business, but it’s critical for restaurants. As a first step, make sure your website is compelling, easy to navigate, mobile-friendly and contains crucial information about your menu, hours, and location. You should also fill out your business information on Google My Business, a tool for local searches — i.e., when customers search for a certain cuisine in their area. Inaccurate business information can be a turn-off for potential customers, so help them find your restaurant by keeping your page up-to-date. 

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Gott's in San Francisco, for example, claimed their Google My Business profile so searchers can see their dine-in, takeout, and delivery policy and browse the menu or order for delivery with one click.

Cultivate positive reviews

Once you establish your website and Google page, engage with customers via online review platforms. Encourage existing customers to review your business on Google, Yelp or TripAdvisor in exchange for a free item or coupon. Another key strategy is to make a habit of responding to reviews and queries (especially negative ones!) with a positive, on-brand message. 

Offer promotions for first-timers

try me freePromotions and discounts are a great way to attract new restaurant customers. For example, offer a 15% discount or a free appetizer on their first order, or give them $5 off if they tag your restaurant on social media. DoorDash’s Try Me Free feature enables restaurants to entice new customers with free food delivery on their first order. Since every restaurant has different needs and offerings, experiment with several promotions to determine which are most successful. 

Create a loyalty program

Restaurant loyalty programs can have a major impact on customer retention, and even increase overall revenue by 5-10%. They can also help you reach new customers, as 73% of loyalty program members are more likely to recommend a brand if it has a good loyalty program. Your loyalty program can have customers earn points toward a future purchase, or can be as simple as a punch card. Another option for DoorDash partners is to join DashPass, our delivery subscription service that provides free delivery and reduced service fees for 1.5M loyal customers. 

Build a mouthwatering menu

While diners value attentive service and a nice ambiance, your food will always be your biggest draw. That means your menu is one of the most powerful marketing tools to attract new customers. In fact, 86% of all diners scope out a restaurant’s menu before choosing to eat there. Think about your most popular menu item — what makes people love it so much? Whether you use a secret sauce on your breakfast sandwiches or infuse home fries with truffle oil, highlight your biggest crowd-pleaser menu item as a way to stand out from competitors. 

Cooking Up a Mouthwatering Menu

For your delivery strategy, create a streamlined menu featuring items that will travel well. Take steps to prevent sogginess, such as packaging sauces separately, placing hot and cold items in separate bags, and piercing hot food containers with a small hole.

Offer online food delivery

A recent report predicted that by 2021, nearly 50 million people will use a food delivery app in the U.S. One of the most effective ways for restaurants to reach new customers is partnering with a technology platform to offer food delivery. DoorDash reaches 80% of U.S. consumers and has a growing presence across Canada and Australia. That means your restaurant will be seen by a wide range of demographics from millennials to baby boomers, and can even open doors to new opportunities like catering services. Take advantage of DoorDash’s massive online reach and become a partner today. 

Drive social media engagement

gift-cards-food-ordering-instagram45% of diners have tried a restaurant for the first time because of a social media post, and 30% of millennial diners actively avoid restaurants with a weak Instagram presence. Restaurants can use this valuable channel to reach new customers and grow their business. 

As a first step, make sure your social media profiles are up to date with your restaurant’s hours, address, website, and online ordering platforms. For content, create short videos of a sizzling entree or your head chef in action — since videos generate 48% more views on social. Instagram Live is a popular feature that enables restaurants to share content like a cooking class with a live audience. Finally, restaurants can now use gift card and food ordering “stickers” to promote delivery orders right on Facebook and Instagram. For more ways to boost your social media following, check out this blog post

Take a data-driven approach

In order to truly understand your business, take the time to review and analyze your restaurant data for food trends and customer insights. You can use this information to adjust operations, update menu items, and develop a targeted marketing strategy that will attract more customers and create a steady stream of revenue. DoorDash’s Merchant Portal, a free service included with a DoorDash partnership, allows you to export detailed sales reports for specific time periods and understand the habits and preferences of both new customers and your loyal regulars. 

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DoorDash has helped restaurant owners around the world embrace and capitalize on today’s growing convenience culture. With built-in marketing tools plus the ability to reach new, hungry customers, DoorDash can help your restaurant reach its full potential.

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