Having a restaurant or bar located next to your local public transit stop can create a perfect opportunity to draw in new customers, but you also need to understand your audience. Potential customers may be getting off on their last stop before heading home for the day or they might be rushing to work or to catch the next bus or train. That means that you will need to cater to both customers who are in a time crunch and those who may be able to sit down and enjoy a couple of drinks. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you take full advantage of your location:
1. Offer mobile ordering. Mobile orders and payment are the future of business. With the right mobile app, customers can place an order to pick up or have their order put into the kitchen or bar so that it is ready and paid for by the time they arrive. Creating a frictionless consumer process can significantly increase business.
2. Invest in updating your POS system. Creating a speedy, customer friendly payment process can also help with table turnover and employee fatigue. Constantly having to run back and forth to charge credit cards is an inefficient process. Wait staff can use a mobile device to run cards and make better use of time. In addition, customers can get in and out quickly and clear up more space for new customers.
3. Offer a discount for those who present a transit ticket or travel pass. Everyone loves a good deal and even a 10% savings on food and drinks can be enough to lure people into your restaurant. It is also a great way to support and encourage public transportation.
4. Create a loyalty program. It is important to spend time attracting new customers, but loyal, repeat customers are also an important part of your business. From a marketing perspective, these happy customers will serve as brand ambassadors and free advertising for your location. A simple punch card or a digital tracker that is integrated with your POS system can help keep track of points and reward customers for continuing to visit your place.
5. Host a community event. Another great way to both attract new customer and show your appreciation for loyal patrons is to host a community event. Consider inviting local bands and performers to come take the stage or partner with your city's transportation system to come up with a joint event that can be beneficial to the entire community. The more involved you become in the neighborhood, the more people will see you as a positive addition and want to support you by coming to dine.
6. Create a friendly and welcoming exterior. Being stationed next to a public transportation hub means that your restaurant is getting plenty of foot traffic, but you might be making the wrong impression with your exterior. If at all possible, create an outdoor space that includes tables. Also, make sure that the front door is well lit and consider leaving the front doors open so that passersby are less intimidated. You might even place a greeter directly at the entrance to simply say hello to people and set the right tone.
Finally, keep in mind that not every marketing effort will be a resounding success. The key is to understand what your audience wants and try different approaches that you can build on once you begin to get feedback and track results. If you aren't sure where to begin, remember that offering special discounts and creating a convenient, welcoming environment is a start.