Article by Ryan Cohen from Merchant Capital
If you own a fast food business or small restaurant, you’re likely to understand the concept of multitasking. To produce solid, consistent sales you need to tick off many boxes every day and constantly think ahead of the pack. It’s not simply about managing your operations and satisfying customers in real-time, but it’s also about growing your business and attracting new customers. So to help you manage this ambitious growth, here are some important ways that you can stand out from the foodie crowd and can grow your business in simple, attainable ways:
Think outside the marketing box
It is essential that you work with different strategies and channels in order to understand what works and what doesn’t. Don’t rely on old ways or mimic what your competitor is doing. Make sure you are always offering something different be it in your décor, in-store events or specials on your menu.
Think ‘young’ and market to the Millennials
Have you tried marketing to the Millennials yet? It’s important to understand what makes them tick. Investigate social platforms like Instagram and Facebook because (as you probably already know) this is a living, breathing channel with instant feedback and measurable results. If it’s not working for you, you’re probably not doing it right so do your research or hire a professional to get you started.
Get involved at a local level
Have you actually met your customer face-to-face? If the answer is yes, then well done, you officially have a competitive advantage. By participating at local events like sports events, school gatherings and markets, you get to mingle with new faces, and share tasters of your products with potential customers. For example, if you have great coffee, why not open a morning stand at your local school to relieve the moms at drop off time? This strategy will also associate you with community and keep you top of mind at decision time.
Appreciate their loyalty
Loyalty programs are an easy way to make a personal statement and thank your customer for coming back. Buy 10-get-1-free cards and loyalty discounts show your customer that you have noticed that they chose to visit your store again. Not to mention that showing your appreciation is actually the norm, meaning if you don’t do it they will notice and might not come back for more.
Take your food to your customers
Mr D and Uber Eats are around for a reason – people like convenience. So use them but always make sure your restaurant or fast food business is equipped to handle quick and hot take out, that travels well. There is nothing worse than your sushi arriving upside down or your pizza with its cheese stuck to the box, so consider investing in slightly better take-away containers and find yourself catering to a host of customers who are nowhere near you.
Hire the right people
Customer experience begins and ends with the people you hire. If your staff is inefficient or unfriendly, return business is off the table. Take your staff through essential training programs and groom them on how to provide genuine customer service. Also make sure that the person answering your phone, taking orders and making reservations is articulate and polite. The customers calling in are just as important as the ones walking through the door of your restaurant.
Ask customers what they think of your fast food restaurant
If you don’t ask, then you won’t know? Customer surveys and suggestion boxes are an excellent way to understand what your customers think about your restaurant. Without feedback, you won’t know if there was a hiccup on your online ordering platform or if they prefer more of a certain dish. These can be done electronically, at point of sale or even the old-fashioned way; with the manager doing the rounds during service and asking some good old-fashioned questions.
Take out a cash advance
We know what you’re going to say, “Great suggestions, but how am I going to pay for them?” It’s true, while some of these improvements are free, others are going to require cash to make them happen. A merchant cash advance is a quick cash injection that can be obtained in as little as 48 hours. As a restaurant or fast food business owner, you have a card terminal. Which makes you the ideal candidate for a cash advance. These loans work on a bespoke repay-as-you-trade model, meaning for every swipe of the card machine, a small-agreed percentage goes back to the lender. It’s easy; it works in line with turnover and allows you to make quick decisions that will ultimately grow your business.
Get to it
Now that you have seen the top tips on growing your business, it’s time to begin executing, one step at a time. Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work, because growing your restaurant or fast food business is made up of many methodical transactions. Take inspiration from some of our other restaurateurs who are fighting the good fight and growing their businesses. And then get out there and grow your restaurant or fast food business, one meal at a time.