Many cafes, pubs and restaurants rely heavily on customers visiting the business itself, so footfall is a key indicator that many business owners will regularly keep an eye on. With so many fluctuations in consumer confidence over the last few years, due to economic uncertainty, footfall numbers can be unpredictable. To grow your business, you need to be able to level out these changes and keep booking levels as steady as possible throughout the year. Quiet periods can be a challenge for any physical business, but there are several strategies you can try to boost your booking numbers. In this blog we share some ideas that we see our customers using to keep their footfall numbers up.
- Get clear on the numbers: First off, you need to know exactly where you stand. Take some time to analyse your footfall trends for the last year and compare to previous years where you can. Have a look at whether there are any other patterns, past the obvious factors such as time of year, calendar events or weather trends. Are there any particularly busy or quiet periods that don’t seem to have an obvious cause behind them? Are they regular?
- Review your promotional events calendar: With common quiet periods in mind, look at where tactical themed events could help boost footfall, past the obvious calendar events such as bank holidays. Does your business have a particular theme to its food, or interesting heritage that you could play on? You could read our blog on how to create a great dining experience for some more inspiration on this point!
- Think bigger than individual bookings: For example could you host meetings, networking events, open days with a special guest, or workshops featuring local businesses? Offering free or paid workshops, demonstrations, or classes related to your products or services can be a great way to reach new customers and show off what makes you special. It’s also an opportunity to share more about what goes on behind the scenes. At Cooper Foods, we are are doing this ourselves! We are planning to offer some open days for some of our customers throughout 2024, giving them an opportunity to see how our specialist meat and fish teams put their skills into practice.
- Encourage those hashtag moments: For regular customers that know and love you, consider what you can do to have them share their food experience on social media with their friends. Could you incentivise them to share a picture of their food with a particular hashtag which enters them into a regular monthly prize draw, for example? People buy from people, and word of mouth recommendations are still one of the most powerful marketing tools you have at your fingertips.
We hope you’ve found these ideas helpful and would love to hear how you are driving bookings from your customers.