6 Easy Ways to Attract New Customers to Your Restaurant
The Business Case for Coupons
As a small business owner, you’re well-aware that in order to grow, you need to attract new customers. Whether your goal is to bring in customers who have never heard of your brand or to reactivate old customers (or perhaps both), creating a steady pipeline of new buyers is critical. So, how do you do it? One proven way to attract new customers is to introduce promotional offers tied to coupons. Although many businesses shy away from leveraging coupons, the proof is in the pudding when it comes to their effectiveness at driving conversion.
In fact, coupons are particularly effective when it comes to the restaurant industry. According to the Valassis Coupon Intelligence Study, 32% of people are most motivated to select where they’d like to eat based on “price offers”. Similarly, coupons and “value menus” accounted for 29% of what customers said motivated them to eat at a specific restaurant. Related findings from industry-renowned market research firm A.C. Nielson are even more emphatic, stating that 95% of all shoppers like coupons. What’s more, they found that 60% of customers actively seek out coupons. Why not give them what they are searching for and lead them to your business?
Some companies claim that coupons end up costing them in the long run and simply discount existing business. However, if you are thoughtful and strategic when structuring your promotions, the positives will likely outweigh the negatives. Namely, promotions allow you to tap into a customer group that might never have tried your brand in the first place. They also enable you to reactivate customers that you’ve lost, either because they were lured away by a competitor or had an unsatisfactory experience with your brand in the past. According to Balance Small Business, coupons can help businesses grow their market share, increase sales volume, sell faster, cultivate customer loyalty, and drown out competitor advertising. Considering that your competition is probably taking advantage of all the benefits that coupons provide, can you really afford not to follow suit?
Wooden Tokens as New-Age Coupons
Okay, so you know coupons are effective. You also know that most businesses out there are attempting to use coupons in one form or another to get ahead in the game. So, how can you cut through the noise and set your coupons apart from the rest? Coupons can come in many forms, whether it’s a digital coupon received via email or a special online promotion code. With the rise of technology, it’s become increasingly common for promotions to assume a digital form and appear less as a tangible coupon that you physically exchange for a specified deal.
While digital coupons have certainly become more widespread, is this really the most effective promotional medium? A study conducted by AYTM Market Research found that nearly 80% of internet users polled used paper coupons as opposed to digital coupons. It seems that being able to physically grasp your promotion and redeem it “in real life” is still a more satisfying experience for the customer – even those who are tech-savvy. If your goal is to optimize coupon redemption (i.e. new customer acquisition and conversion), then some sort of physical coupon that your customers can hold in their hand may be the way to go.
One new-age approach to promotions is to use wooden tokens as coupons. You can think of custom wooden tokens as a branded currency representing your business. It’s unique, engaging, and memorable – and it allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition. Not to mention, it’s a highly measurable form of marketing that simultaneously increases brand awareness. Plus, wooden tokens are durable enough that they can be reused post-redemption for other purposes, thereby saving time and money.
Six Ways to Attract New Customers
There are countless ways that you can use custom wooden tokens for coupon promotions. We’ve outlined six, easy-to-implement ideas below to get your promotional wheels turning (using restaurants as an example):
- Location-Based Deals: Offer wooden tokens to customers within a certain radius of your restaurant. Perhaps you give out a token to locals passing by on your street that they can exchange for a free appetizer.
- New Resident Discount: Invite new residents of surrounding apartment buildings or condos to try your restaurant by including wooden tokens in their “welcome packages”. Partner with realtors or leasing offices to give new residents 15% off of their first purchase in exchange for their token and proactively cultivate local brand loyalty.
- Tourist BOGO Offers: Partner with local AirBnb/VRBO hosts by giving them wooden tokens to include as part of a welcome gift to their guests. For example, by presenting their wooden token, guests can buy a draft beer and get another round for free. This is a perfect way to introduce them to the neighborhood, especially if they are unfamiliar with the area and appreciate local recommendations.
- Events and Experiences: Host an event at your restaurant to bring in new customers. Advertise the event beforehand, noting that guests will have access to custom wooden tokens throughout the event that they can exchange for food, drinks, and other prizes. Having a branded currency makes event management more seamless for you and also creates a more memorable experience for your guests.
- Bring-a-Friend Promotions: Make use of your pre-existing customers by giving them tokens that they can redeem for a discount by bringing a friend to your restaurant during their next dining experience. Not only does this spur new business, it also rewards your loyal customers and incentivizes them to become repeat customers.
- Restaurant List Curation Partnerships: Partner with restaurant list curation platforms such as Yelp, OpenTable, or Foursquare to run coupon promotions with wooden tokens. Enable new customers to “unlock deals” by visiting your restaurant and receiving wooden tokens that they can exchange for discounts on their next dining experience.
When it comes to using wooden tokens as coupons in promotions like these, make sure you are clear and concise about the terms of the specific offering. If there is an expiration date or promotional period for the wooden tokens, make it known in your customer messaging. Finally, ensure that your staff is well-trained on the details of the promotion and understands how to answer any questions about the wooden tokens. Try testing out different coupon promotions with wooden tokens – then optimize the method that works best for your particular business.