Appealing to Business Customers
Appealing to business customers depends on where your restaurant is located, the type of food you serve and the sort of business people that you are aiming for. There’s no point in appealing for wealthy business people who will come in with a juicy expenses account and buy Jeroboam’s of Champagne if you are located on a run down industrial estate!
Are you Accessible for Business People?The first stage is to honestly assess the location of your restaurant. Look at where you are located and the types of businesses that are in walking distance, or near practical transport links such as tube stations or car parks (especially free car parks). Look at the bus stops and see where those buses come from – even if you’re not right next to a business park, if a free shuttle bus or regular bus service passes, you need to find those customers. Check out the parking deals near you – perhaps there is a ‘free for the first 30 minutes’ deal or a cheap lunchtime rate – utilise that in your marketing.
What Types of Businesses are Near You?If you are near a business park with a number of workers, it’s a good idea to check out what type of employees these places have and tailor your menu to suit. If, for example, you are near a large call centre, the workers may prefer to have a low cost lunch, whereas if you are near a corporate head office with a number of senior staff, you could also add in a set menu business lunch with a guaranteed time frame, such as two courses in 45 minutes.
You must price your menu according to the majority of the potential business customers too, remembering the variations of the ‘pay day’ lunch treat, the office birthday lunch and the leaving do lunch. These options are quite separate from a ‘sit down’ business lunch and can be hard to combine unless you have different areas of your restaurant.
What Lunches Should You Offer?Work out what is best for you depending on the type of food you serve, whether you want the ‘sandwich’ business customer or the ‘sit down lunch’ business customer. Bear in mind that what you would like to offer (fabulous tapas, Thai set menus or artisan breads) many not be what is appropriate to the type of customer that is near your restaurant. Now, you can either go all out to appeal to the type of business people that would want that, but targeting those types and keep offering what you want, or accept that profitability is more important and give your most ‘popular’ customer what they want.
What Added Value Services Should You Offer?More and more business customers expect free WiFi in restaurants and even though you may think that this is not a good idea, you’ve probably already got it in your restaurant but you’re just not offering it as a benefit to customers.
Decent coffee is also a good pull for business customers – make it easy for people to spend more on a coffee by adding in homemade cakes or muffins, which sell particularly well at breakfast time.
Loyalty cards are also popular with business customers. Offers such as ‘every sixth cup of coffee free’ work well, particularly as it seems that going without ‘shop bought’ coffee is always the example magazines give for saving money!
Quiet areas for more business focused lunches are also important if you’re looking to appeal to business customers that may bring their own clients. For that reason, a variety of lunch offers is required, although you can utilise the same ingredients and themes. For example, a three course set menu that includes roast beef, with one of your specials of sandwich fillings being roast beef the next day. Be sure that your chef and waiting staff are quick and efficient with business customers because unless they look like they are settling in for the afternoon with port and cigars, they will want to be in and out in less than an hour, but without feeling rushed.