Ask any independent restaurateur what brings in the most new customers and they will likely tell you word-of-mouth. People telling other people about your restaurant, by most estimates, brings in seven to eight out of every ten customers.
What they don’t say, because many haven’t thought about it, is that word-of-mouth conversations don’t just start out of thin air. They happen because of the things you do to wow customers and catch their attention. You have to give them something to talk about. Here are a few examples:
Special Events – We know a Spanish restaurant that regularly holds special events focusing on specific aspects of their cuisine – tamale making, menudo sampling, etc. The events normally have a nominal charge. For instance, their tequila tastings are $30/person and they are regularly sold out. The word-of-mouth these events create is priceless.
Team Sponsorships – Is sponsoring a local Little League team worth it? You only reach maybe a dozen or so families? Think again. You’re reaching many more when you consider the larger organization includes hundreds of kids and their families – all in your area.
Outstanding Online Ordering – Yep, that’s another word-of-mouth builder. With NetWaiter, the simple act of using Facebook when ordering online can help generate word-of-mouth activity for your restaurant. After logging in with their Facebook account on NetWaiter, the customer’s friends are automatically notified (with permission) that they just ordered from your restaurant. The average number of friends someone has on Facebook is now 338. If only 10 people used Facebook to login, an additional 3,380 people could potentially learn about your restaurant (and even click to place an order for themselves).
Word-of-mouth is not a random thing that happens. What are you doing at your restaurant to spark a conversation?