Attracting a mix of customers to your cafe is good for business. But, how can cafes cater to both local and out-of-town customers.
In this article, we look at ways to appeal to both groups of customers. Perhaps you live in a tourist town, and you need to attract locals during the off-season and tourists during the season.
Or, perhaps you’d just like to attract locals and out of towners. In this article, we tell you how.
How to Cater to Out-of-Town Customers
For most people on vacation or the monthly business trip, eating out is a necessity and something people enjoy.
The question before us today is how you can cater to and attract these customers.
Build a Website
If you don’t have a website for your café, you must create a mobile-friendly, responsive website today.
When someone from out-of-town is looking for a place to eat, the first place they go is the Internet. They do a quick Google search, or they simply ask Siri for restaurants nearby.
With a website, you ensure you’ll be found.
Offer Takeout and Delivery
Allow your customers to enjoy your food in the comfort of their hotel room, vacation home, or their own home. Offering delivery and/or takeout options can open up a whole new market in your area.
There are some amazing tools out there to help make this easier than ever. One we recommend checking out is Oddle. Oddle is an online food ordering system for restaurants that aims to enable all F&B brands to grow and manage their businesses through an all-in-one, cost-effective solution. With a vision to create a sustainable ecosystem for the F&B industry, Oddle is a leading platform that allows F&B brands the flexibility to manage and grow their delivery and take-out business through their own online channel.
Get Added to Hotel Directories
You know those hotel books that list all of the hotel info and then include a grouping of restaurants?
Visit your local hotels, or at least hotels close to your restaurant, and find out what you have to do to be included in their notebooks.
This is a great way to get noticed sooner.
Hand Out Menus
Perhaps that same hotel has an area for local attractions where you can leave a menu or brochure for your café.
Or, they might have a bulletin board where you can leave a menu.
You can also visit car rental shops and ask if you can leave menus with them as well.
Get a Yelp Listing
Restaurants and cafes are the most searched for listing on mobile phones.
Many out-of-towners are searching for cafes on their mobile phone, and they often go to Yelp to find a place to eat.
Why? Yelp is the go-to place to look for good cafés and café reviews.
Get Listed on Allmenus
Another good place to get listed is on Allmenus. This superb directory includes listings for thousands of restaurants and includes the café’s menu.
Allmenus website is often found through Google, Yahoo and Bing searches.
Get Listed on Foursquare
Foursquare is a popular restaurant directory.
Café visitors like to check in and comment about restaurants, and visitors to Foursquare can gain valuable insight into your café.
Create a Google+ Business Listing
This is an absolute must for your business success. Google just might reward you in searches if you have a Google+ Business page.
When most people begin their restaurant search, their go-to is Google. Making sure you have a business listing increases your odds of being found. It also can link straight to your online menu and Open Table.
Create Open Table Account
If you take reservations, Open Table is a good place to be.
This is an especially great place for your restaurant if you have a lot of business travelers or cater to tourists.
How to Cater to Locals
Many of the ways you can cater to out-of-towners also works for locals, but there are a few more options for you to consider.
Create a Facebook Business Page
Facebook is all about creating relationships, and it’s where your locals are.
Social media is great for local marketing. Not only can you list your menu on this powerful social media platform, but you can also take reservations.
With Facebook, you can host contests, share photos, videos and tips and generate buzz for your café.
Use Loyalty Rewards
Reward your loyal customers with a rewards program.
Create this with the customer in mind. You might offer a free meal after so many purchased or a free appetizer after every five visits. Get creative.
Just be sure to offer something of value that encourages locals to return again and again for your food.
Host a Themed Event
Spice up the fun with a themed event at your café.
For example, if you live in a tourist town, and it’s the off-season, surprise the locals with something out of the ordinary.
Show them you care as much about them as you do the tourists.
Some event ideas include:
- Cooking Class
- A View of Paris
- Summer in Venice
- A Trip to the Alps
- Taco Tuesday
Get creative and come up with some fun ideas to highlight your kitchen staff and your unique menu.
Leverage Email Marketing
Assuming you collect email addresses from your customers, stay in touch on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.
A good rule of thumb – offer a deal along with something of value such as a cooking tip or funny story.
Make Your Menu More Inclusive
Do you live in an area with a lot of vegetarians, vegans or gluten-free types? Be sure and offer menu alternatives for these groups of people.
While many people self-select their dietary restrictions, other have to eat a certain way for medical reasons.
Cater to your local community (and in turn your out of town diners) and offer a wide-range of menu options.
Now that you know how cafés can cater to both local and out-of-town customers, it’s time to put some of these tactics to work.
It’s time to impress customers from both groups with your excellent customer service, your delightful ambiance and your delicious food.
Does your restaurant appeal to local and out-of-town customers? What are your tricks for success? Please comment below to share your tips with others.