The weekday hours between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday typically bring in corporate customers who are taking their precious one-hour lunch break to come dine at your establishment. If this doesn’t sound like your customer base during the lunch hours, try implementing any of the following seven tactics to draw the business lunchers your way.
1. The Power of the Lunch Special: The corporate worker quickly recognizes that eating out every day of the week can add up to a hefty lunch bill. Help your customer look past making their lunch at home by offering a lunch special at a discounted price. Marco’s Pizza[i], a Denver-based pizza restaurant, offers a lunch special that includes a pizza, individual salad and drink for all of $9, a significantly reduced price than customers would find on their dinner menu. By offering a satisfying lunch at a discounted cost, customers will feel the urge to take advantage of such a great price. Learn more Tips for Creating Restaurant Advertisements and Promotions.
2. Discount for Large Parties: It’s highly common for co-workers to grab a friend or two on their way out to lunch. It’s also common for work meetings to take place at a lunch site in an effort to kill two birds with one stone. Promote the idea of bringing large parties into your restaurant by offering a 10% discount off of groups of six or more. This type of incentive lures groups of friends and associates looking for a meeting location.
3. Social Media: Don’t shy away from social media. In fact, it’s one of the first marketing bases you need to cover. Once you have a Twitter or Facebook account set up,use it to bring in the lunch crowd! Around 11 a.m., post lunch specials and any last minute offers, such has “Gather six orders and receive 20% off lunch, today only” or “Free drink with your purchase between 12 and 1 p.m.”. Such enticements will peak interest in your social media followers right before hunger strikes.
4. Offer Delivery to Local Businesses: It’s an age-old practice for a team to order in lunch when flustered with a work assignment or when a work meeting requires employees to stay during their lunch hour. By offering delivery to local businesses, you’ll be able to easily accommodate customers in just these situations. Learn more about Take Out and Delivery Marketing.
5. Maintain Quick Service by Increasing Staff: The lunchtime crowd typically has one priority: speed. With only an hour to grab a bite and get back to the office, it’s vital that your establishment is able to offer quality food at a quick pace. Ensure that you are able to do so by increasing your staff size accordingly during the lunchtime rush.
6. Get to Know Your Customers: Customers enjoy supporting businesses that have taken the time to establish a relationship with them. This can be done by forming connections during the customer’s dining experience. Have a general manager follow-up with guests in the dining area. Ask how their food is, if there’s anything else they need and to learn a name and inquire if they are visiting from a local business. Hand out a business card or coupon for a free drink or appetizer and personally invite the customers to return again. As customers repeat their business with you, use this information to further establish a more personal relationship and help increase that bond between your restaurant and its customers. The more of a relationship you have with a customer, the more likely it is that the customer will be loyal to your business.
7. Keep Service Top Notch: While this may not be a direct marketing technique, you are best able to ensure repeat customers by training your servers and kitchen staff to provide friendly and swift service with perfectly prepared food. Your customers most likely have other lunch options in the area so use every opportunity possible to show them why they should continue to come to you. Regular lunchtime customers are loyal to restaurants that are mindful of serving a consistent product while providing swift service. Learn more about how to deliver quality and service in your restaurant.
Capture the customer base in your area with service and menu specials that cater to the hungry and busy power lunch crowd. By strengthening your marketing techniques toward this market, your restaurant will be able to tap into this profit-increasing customer base.