Summer is in full swing, the weather is warm the kids are out of school and if your restaurant is located in a tourist destination you could be cashing in.
The U.S Travel Association tells us that travelers spend over $267.7 billion annually on eating out while traveling. Whether you are a fast-casual, specialty kiosk or fine dining establishment you can make more income when catering to tourists.
Below are 7 ways to get tourists in your doors.
Most tourists want to get the local experience when they go on vacation or travel. After all, tourists could have stayed home and eaten and done the same things for a lot lesser of a price. A good tourist does their research beforehand, and they want to see what type of reputation you have. If you serve the same burgers and fries that they could get down the street from their home it could turn them off. If you’re located in Italy, you serve Italian food, and most of your tourist population is from the U.S. it will give your restaurant a “local vibe” your customers are looking for. Your reputation locally and on the global level is crucial for the success of your restaurant.
2.GET ON THE LOCAL CONCIERGE LISTS
Hotel concierges give hotel guests recommendations on where to go. As a local restaurant, you should try and befriend local concierges so you are the favorite on their list. Go in introduce yourself to the concierge, and invite them to visit your restaurant. You can give the concierges something to hand out to the guest like discounts or a free side item. Then you can add up all of your referrals when customers bring in your offers, and reward the concierges for their referrals. A good concierge wants to have many offerings for a variety of guests’ different preferences so adding another option for them is a win-win.
3.GET ON THE TRAVEL SITES
Set up accounts on popular websites such as Google, TripAdvisor, Zagat, and Yelp. These sites are a great source of information for travelers. Be sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices as tourists are more likely to be on mobile devices. It is also important to monitor and respond promptly to reviews as many travelers may have limited information about your restaurant available when deciding where to dine.
4.UP YOUR GAME ON CURB APPEAL
A clean, well maintained storefront can really increase the number of drop-ins during high traffic times. Displaying menus and specials on your windows or a sandwich board can sway potential customers away from competitors and into your place by giving them confidence of what to expect in advance.
5.HIRE LOCAL STAFF
You want to have employees who know and are familiar with the local area. Tourists like to ask and get advice on special places to go. Most tourists know that the internet is not 100% accurate. What better way to get confirmation on different places then to talk to someone who has experienced it themselves. If you have employees that aren’t as familiar with the area, your restaurant doesn’t give the appeal of being local. Yes, you can go to a chain restaurant and speak to someone who lives in the area, but it’s better presentation if your one of a kind with knowledgeable employee.
6.GET FEEDBACK & REVIEWS
People want to eat at the best places when they travel. They don’t want to waste their time or money on something that failed to add to their overall travel experience. Did you know Google only shows restaurants with a 4+star rating for the search, best food + city? Whether they are local or not, you should constantly be asking your customers feedback. Your restaurant was not born perfect, and it never will be perfect. You should always be listening to your customers’ wants and needs so your restaurant is always performing at the top of its abilities.
4. DO IT DIFFERENTLY
Whether you’re the only restaurant in town that offers Korean and African fusion or your interior is out of a story book, it’s important that you set yourself apart from the competition. Tourists want to visit places that create memories, and something they can tell their friends about when they get home. Would you tell your friend that you ordered Papa Johns while you visited the beach? Or would you tell that you went to a restaurant that had unforgettable ocean views? Whatever you decide to make your restaurant different, make sure you promote it., and customers will do the same.
There isn’t one secret that will bring in all the tourists. The key is to play with what works for your restaurant. Be sure you get feedback from customers to find out what works. Remember to ask them where they heard about your restaurant so that you can begin to hone in on the right channels moving forward.
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See you next week!
Your devoted hostess,