QSR focus: quick marketing hacks to grow your restaurant at pace

By Melissa Haywood

Quick service restaurants are growing rapidly and competition can often feel like a feeding frenzy.

With all restaurants – big and small – wanting to take a fair portion of the pie, it’s important to make sure your business is top of mind. Luckily for your quick service restaurant, everyone needs to eat, but mastering ways of staying noticed and at the top of the table will ensure your restaurant shines above all others. By trialling some of these quick marketing solutions from Melissa Haywood, head of Vistaprint Australia, you can soon become the cream of the crop.

1. Faithful feeders: There are a lot of ways you can set up a loyalty program, but one of the easiest to execute (and manage) is to create a membership card that allows customers to work towards earning a free item of your choosing.

This requires little long-term planning and can be a simple as a business card format. Customise a simple template with your logo and business information using one of Vistaprint’s online design formats, and keep a stamp at the till, to award customers for multiple visits. Offering a free coffee, snack or discount is a great, cost-effective way to keep old and new customers coming back, or choosing your establishment over another.

2. #Foodie: If you’ve logged into Instagram recently, you’ll understand that the concept of ‘food porn’ is alive and well. From flat-lay ingredient shots to time-lapse videos of your favourite lunchtime meals and cakes in creation, this content is hypnotic and above all, shareable.

If you have a social media presence on Instagram, ensure you’re regularly sharing the food you’re creating in your kitchen. Keep the visual aesthetics consistent, whether this is via creative labelling or subtle tweaks to your content editing process. Can you add your logo to each snap? Take this concept one step further by turning some of your best shots into your restaurant’s very own calendar or wall art. This way, customers can stare at your kitchen favourites every month or of the year.

3. Fast Food: Serve great food, but faster with an efficient, customised menu! Limiting the number of items on your menu during peak times (the lunch-time rush, for example) will make for quick decision making and service.

Accompany this with a ‘lunch time’ deal, which can communicated on a simple menu at the tables is a quick and easy addition to your usual offering. Customers appreciate simplicity in conjunction with their service and providing a clean, slick menu with limited options makes their life easier.

4. Table touches: Adding a ‘personal touch’ to your customer’s visits will go a long way in building a strong relationship, which will equate to repeat bookings. Simple updates such as noticing your regulars’ preferences, greeting them by their first name or sending the manager or chef to their table to check on their experience will solidify this bond.

Remembering key dates (such as birthdays and anniversaries) can also be a nice touch. Create a back stock of branded compliment slips or cards should you want to show your appreciation for their loyalty and gift this when they arrive. Ensure that all of your staff are well versed on who is who when it comes to your repeat customers.

5. Do you deliver?: If you’re not quite ready to bite the popular food delivery service bullet but you’re toying with the idea of door-to-door service, then why not start small?

Identify local businesses and approach them with a lunch-time delivery offer, or catering options for any upcoming meetings they might have. Dropping in a simple flyer or postcard with a ‘catering discount’ can be a welcome feast to any corporation who might find themselves chained to their desks during peak times. A nice, professional addition here would be to consider a uniform. Whether these are branded T-shirts for your delivery staff, or branded polos for your restaurant staff will ensure you’re recognised wherever you go.

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