You’ve painstakingly scrimped and saved to open your vegan restaurant, recruited an A-team of staff, and curated a smorgasbord of delectable dishes for your menu. Now, there’s only one thing left to do:
Get the customers coming in!
Even a vegan restaurant with the yummiest food in the world won’t survive for long if its tables are perpetually empty. Read on to learn five tried-and-tested strategies for bringing in hungry customers, and turning skeptics into converts of clean, sustainable eating:
1. Craft an attention-grabbing brand message
Every brand has a story. What’s yours?
More importantly, is it something that will make customers sit up and take notice, or will it put them to sleep?
With veganism being a relatively new trend, your vegan restaurant already has an edge in terms of novelty. However, push your brand message further and state what you stand for. By doing so, you’ll entice like-minded customers to add your restaurant to their list of must-visit places.
As an example, take a look at this quote that vegan restaurant Vegan Beat Athens posted on its Instagram account:
Here, the restaurant has made the bold declaration that veganism is about doing the least harm and the most good to the environment. And if you identified with that statement, you may just go: “YES! This restaurant totally gets me.”
Then, feeling buzzed with such positive vibes, you may make a note to try and drop by the restaurant for your next vegan meal.
2. Produce eye-catching restaurant posters
Say the word “vegan” and people unfamiliar with vegan food may think that it’s all green, just “rabbit food” and, well, basically not very appetizing. This is where you’ll have to prove them wrong, by creating eye-catching posters of your vegan dishes.
If you need to, work with a food stylist to make your dishes look absolutely scrumptious. Then, once you’ve taken photos of your dishes, create posters with them and put your posters up everywhere. In your restaurant, on social media, on your website—the list goes on.
For instance, here’s a poster that VeganBurg, a vegan restaurant in Singapore, published on Instagram to promote a limited-edition Christmas menu:
The best part? You don’t need to be a graphic design expert to produce drool-worthy posters of your food. Graphic design platforms such as PosterMyWall offer restaurant poster templates that you can easily modify through a drag-and-drop interface.
So go ahead and make those gorgeous food porn posters. You have our full permission.
3. Show customers how your food is made
Restaurant food doesn’t just magically appear on a plate, ready to be served to customers. Instead, it is lovingly cooked and plated by chefs passionate about their craft. So why not show off this process by creating behind-the-scenes videos of how your food is made?
By doing so, your customers can see for themselves all the tender loving care that goes into preparing their orders. It may get their mouths watering to the point that they make a beeline for your restaurant!
You can even go up a notch by showcasing how and from where your ingredients are procured. A well-informed customer is a happy customer.
Just watch Spanish vegan restaurant Vegan Junk Food Bar’s video of its staff member assembling a vegan burger:
We don’t know about you, but we’d like to reach through our screen, grab that burger and sink our teeth into it. Mmmm.
4. Use social proof to draw in new customers
What’s better than talking up the tastiness of your food on your own? Customers doing this for you.
Customers’ amazing testimonies of your food can do wonders in getting their friends and family to visit your restaurant. However, don’t let the benefits stop there. Amplify your customers’ praises as widely as you can, so that others will see them as well—and also be inspired to check your restaurant out.
On Instagram, vegan restaurant Bistro Vonish reposted an Instagram Story from a customer who waxed lyrical about the restaurant’s black garlic bruschetta:
The customer then replied to the post to thank the restaurant again for its good food.
Likewise, don’t forget to express gratitude to your customers when resharing their reviews! Tag the customer in your post, thank them for their glowing sharing, and end with an invitation for them to dine with you again in the future.
5. Hold a giveaway
Who’d ever turn down the opportunity to win free food? Probably no one. So if you hold a giveaway of your food, you could significantly boost brand awareness of your restaurant as people try their best to win!
Simply follow these steps:
- Announce your giveaway on social media.
- Share that participants will need to leave a comment on the social media post promoting your giveaway, and tag one friend (or more) when doing so.
- After the deadline for commenting has ended, pick your winners!
The tagging requirement in step two is important. After all, you want your social media followers to introduce others to your restaurant. Especially if their friends are vegan food lovers too, and would likely be interested to try your dishes.
Vegan restaurant Eat of Eden has executed this giveaway formula down to a T:
With the prize being a vegan sharing platter costing £28, the restaurant is definitely getting a ton of publicity worth much more than that!
Attract customers to your vegan restaurant today
So there you have it—the recipe for promoting your vegan restaurant. While cooking up great food is an important part of the formula, you’ll also need to add other “ingredients” such as:
- Baking strong messaging into your brand,
- Whipping up stunning promotional posters and videos, and
- Publicizing all the good things that customers have said about your food so far.
Perfect your promotional efforts, and your restaurant might just pack in the crowds and make a name for itself in the competitive food and beverage space. Not only that, you’ll introduce the uninitiated to the goodness of fresh, and delicious, vegan food. And that’s the icing on the cake.