Bringing in Tourists

While the majority of restaurant business comes from repeat customers, there is still a large portion of revenue that comes from one time visitors, namely tourists and those traveling on business. Restaurants who fail to actively attract these potential patrons are missing out on a real opportunity bring in new business and spread the word about their establishment in other areas.

To attract more of these customers, restaurateurs can do many things to reach out to a larger area, rather than just their immediate community.

Reaching Out to those Dining on Vacation

To help with brand recognition, some restaurants compete in state or even nation wide cooking competitions, like barbeque cook-offs and other food and drink festivals. Winning one of these types of competitions can certainly put a restaurant on the map, but even just participating can help to spread the word to potential tourists. Few people will actually make a special trip to visit the restaurant.

However, people are much more likely to visit a restaurant that they recognize when passing through an unfamiliar area than one which they have never heard of. Also, word-of-mouth is a great advertising tool, even if the word has to spread a long way to reach all potential customers.

Restaurant owners may also begin getting involved with not only local charities, but charities around the country. Consider participating in charity events in small cities and towns, along with more well known ones in larger cities. No event is too small as long as participation is frequent, since the goal is simply to spark interest, not launch a widespread advertising campaign. This will help to let people know that the restaurant’s interest in helping communities is not restricted to local people who are mostly likely to frequent the establishment.

Also, it will help to create lasting relationships with people who will probably visit the restaurant when they are traveling in the area.

Roll Out the Welcome Wagon when Attracting Tourists

It may also be worthwhile to begin working with the local travel bureau. Restaurant owners can offer information about their restaurant and even leave gift certificates for travelers. A strong relationship with the local travel bureau will most likely result in multiple recommendations for the restaurant.

Since many travelers are often unsure about their surroundings, a recommendation to a local restaurant is usually heeded. Naturally, this works both ways with negative opinions from a travel bureau being noticed as well, so ensure that the relationship with the travel bureau remains a positive one.

Restaurants can also work with concierge services and destination management companies. These companies take care of most aspects of a traveler’s trip, including their dining choices. A restaurant in touch with these types of companies can possibly expect a couple of tables booked every night by a concierge or destination management service. Larger restaurants may even consider keeping a table or two open on some nights, as concierge services often have trouble finding a restaurant to host large parties, and are very appreciative of restaurants that will accommodate last minute needs.

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