When you’re a small restaurant or beverage nook, so much of your business relies on walk-in customers. Sure, you can build a loyal following by providing an unbelievable experience, excellent food, and excellent service. However, the fact of the matter is that the life blood of your customer base comes down to your local and the number of people who walk by there.
It’s different if you are a fancy restaurant with a big advertising budget. But if you’re a coffee shop or a sandwich shop you simply won’t get by this way. Find a place on Main Street and watch the customers flow in. If you can keep them happy, then you have a business.
But even location and excellent service won’t get them in the door alone. You have to take advantage of the first impression to get them to choose your establishment over Joe Shmoe’s cafe across the street. Let’s review some basic guidelines for making this happen.
Square One: Clean and Organized
You storefront has to look impressive. That means that the sign, the doors, and the windows should all look clean and sleek. It doesn’t stop there though. What about the sidewalk that people will be traversing when they first come across your lovely establishment? It may not be your property per se, but it is certainly there for you to exploit within reason.
If you have the room, make use of the sidewalk with some outdoor seating. Don’t overdo it though, you don’t want your customers to feel crowded as they eat their croissants, and you don’t want passer-byes to feel like their stepping over someone’s lunch.
Embellish on that thought a bit more though, and try putting out some potted plants. Sure you’ll have to take them in at the end of the day, but a little bit of greenery on an otherwise gray street can attract the eyes of many.
On that note, keep it clean. It’s relatively common practice to sweep down the sidewalk at the end of the work day. Why stop there though? Keep the sidewalk extra clean by spraying it down with a pressure washer on an as needed basis. Someone dropped a milkshake? No problem, blast it down the storm drain. Check out TBEPW if you need a bit more guidance on finding an electric pressure washer that’s right for your business.
Square Two: Analyze the Competition and Dominate
With the basics in hand it’s time to get cut throat. You didn’t think that you were getting into an easy business, did you? Let’s be honest, this is one of the most difficult businesses to run that you can find. You already knew that though, right?
So what are you supposed to do? Take a look at what your competitors are doing and do it better. Way better. So much better than your competition will cry.
Take a look at the busy stores and shops and see what’s working for them. Is it signs on the door with specials? Is it advertisements on social media? Is it a trendy menu in an otherwise stale downtown? Whatever the case, you can use what they’re doing to your own advantage and amplify your business for maximum profits. Sometimes you have to get creative, but that’s what owning a business is all about.
It’s very sad to say, but owning a business of this nature is more about appearance than it is about delivering on that appearance. Of course, to stay in business for the long term you have to be incredibly impressive in your delivery. But that alone is not enough. This is not an “if you build it they will come” kind of market. Focus on getting them in the door first, and only then should you worry about keeping them there.