Because we work in the Internet industry, a lot of restaurant owners ask us how they can increase the number of their followers online. Some of them use promotional activities to attract followers and fans. These promotions do indeed increase their numbers, but once each event is over, businesses find that there really is no long-lasting impact.
This made me think of an article I read a while ago. The main point was that people just want to be known in real life. Twitter and Facebook are all good, blogs, email is fine. Of course you should work on attracting more followers. But even once you get them, they are still just strangers. They might visit your restaurant once, but you have no idea if they will stick around and become regulars. You might put a lot of effort into online promotions, but in the end sell only two or three items per person.
Traditional or online promotions are ultimately the same. It doesn’t matter how much attention you grab or how much effort you put in. If they are just one-time visitors, then you can’t count on a long-term return for your investment.
The important thing is to focus on cultivating return customers. You can use email to keep in touch with them, call them, or otherwise figure out a way to keep reminding them of your restaurant. That’s one way.
You have truly succeeded if, after a decade or so, you still enjoy growth and a good reputation. The amount of people you serve today is not important. What is important is how many of them return. Focus on turning strangers into customers. Don’t waste your resources chasing after a temporary result. Figure out a way to cultivate regulars.
Sometimes restaurants make appearances in magazines or on TV and they end up enjoying massive overnight success. But once they are no longer trendy, they can only count on their repeat visitors.
Don’t be deceived by the number of your fans (it’s just a Facebook page). You have to think of a way to turn people who click “like” on your page into longtime customers.
Figure out a way to make these customers feel like they want to return to your restaurant over and over again. Make sure they’ll want to recommend your business to their friends.
That’s the only way to ensure long-term success.
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