8 Ways to Grow Your Small Restaurant Business

The restaurant industry is highly competitive and most small restaurants go out of business within a year of opening. But there is a way to maintain and even grow as a small restaurant owner. You can attract more customers, and increase your restaurant sales, even if you don’t have the space to add more restaurant chairs. Most of these suggestions should start with the words “If you haven’t already…”

Host Events and Workshops

Why not give cooking classes in your restaurant kitchen or make your space available for events such as birthday parties or wedding rehearsal dinners.

Start a Loyalty Program

Reward loyal customers with regular discounts or special offers. There are many advantages to doing this. You can use the data collected from the loyalty program to discover favorite dishes and customer habits.

Add Entertainment

Have an open-mic night, or one or two nights a week when there is a singer or band to entertain your customers while they dine. You can make a little extra profit by charging a cover fee or simply use entertainment to attract new customers.

Happy Hour

Offer a Happy Hour when meals or drinks are discounted or even buy-one-get-one-free. Happy Hour is always profitable because customers don’t stop at one drink and they usually turn a discounted dish into a whole meal.

Get Social

A restaurant simply can’t succeed today without an Instagram and/or Facebook account. And if you appeal to a younger audience then a TikTok account as well. This is where people go to see what your food looks like. It is a visual platform and requires beautiful photos, quality shots of the food, and a personal connection with your audience.

Ask For Reviews

Add a request to your menu asking customers to review your restaurant on any of the online review sites. This is where people take recommendations from. The more people who write positive reviews, the more customers you will get. 

Act on Customer Complaints

When customers complain, listen to them and take action. It’s as simple as that. Satisfied customers mean a boost to your reputation, and more people recommending your establishment. 

Stay Current

Even if you love your menu, you need to keep up to date with current foodie trends. More people are asking for vegan options, sustainable food, and healthy food. Take a look at social media to get an idea of what’s hot and what’s not in your restaurant niche. You don’t need to change your whole menu but perhaps add a trendy option.

Food Delivery Apps

If you have a small space then food deliveries are the perfect answer to increasing sales. To make this as easy and efficient as possible let customers order take-out online, by phone, and via the popular food delivery apps. With these apps, you can grow your small business exponentially.

Google Listing

If you have a good and accurate Google business listing then when customers are near your restaurant, and they search online for somewhere to eat, your establishment will pop up. Spend time getting to know Google My Business. Today the most popular form of searching online is using voice search and Google Maps. And one of the most frequently used search terms is “near me”. Optimize your listing with your address, phone number, and the type of cuisine you serve.

Website and Blog

These days it goes without saying that every business big or small must have a website. Get a quality website built by professionals so that it lasts, and remains useful for the duration. To make your website more than a static page, add a blog. Keep your blog regularly updated with restaurant news, neighborhood news, and recipes.

Run Promotions

Everyone likes a special deal. Whether it is a promotion to mark a special event or holiday or whether it is an ongoing promotion, it will bring in more foot traffic. Even if the discount is minimal or if you are just offering a free cup of coffee or cake, customers will appreciate it.

Cater To The People 

Why not expand into catering? If your restaurant is already at capacity, and you can’t expand physically, then offer to cater events and parties. It doesn’t have to be huge events, but any form of catering will increase your income. Not only that but catering requires less overhead than a physical location.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.