how to increase foot traffic in restaurant
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

No matter how successful your restaurant is, your tables won’t be full every minute of every day. The restaurant industry has some well-known slow days and months. We look at what these are to teach you how to increase foot traffic in your restaurant even on slow days.

How to Make a Slow Restaurant Busy by Analyzing Restaurant Traffic

To increase restaurant traffic, you first need to identify the days and months when people visit your restaurant less.

What are the slowest days for restaurants?

When it comes to the slowest days, the beginning of the week takes the cake, Mondays and Tuesdays in particular.

The 2 to 4 p.m. time slot is also the slowest since most people are at work and not thinking about dining out.

What are the slowest months for restaurants?

Unsurprisingly, the slowest restaurant months are January and February, right after the holidays, when customers prefer to stay home and hibernate.

Sometimes, summer months are also slower for some restaurants, depending on the location, and whether or not you have a patio.

How to Increase Foot Traffic in Restaurant

1. Enable table reservations

If you’re wondering “how to make my restaurant busy,” start by giving customers the option to reserve a table online. Many people don’t want to call for a reservation, not to mention phone reservations can be unreliable.

Do them one better and add a Table Reservation button to your website, like this:

how to get more customers in restaurant: enable table reservations

Accept unlimited table reservations on your website for free Install our table reservation system in minutes

2. Allow customers to pre-order food when booking a table

Customers will be more inclined to visit you even when they don’t have that much time if they know their meal will be waiting for them when they arrive.

Enable food pre-orders for table reservations to make the ordering process smoother for your busy customers.

You can easily do that with GloriaFood’s pre-order system. Just slide the green button under Table Reservations to enable the service.

ideas to improve restaurant business: offer food pre-orders for table reservations

3. Activate tableside ordering and payment

An easy way to grow your restaurant is to rely on technology that can make your and the customer’s life easier.

Did you know that 70% of customers prefer using self-ordering technology? A good example of that is tableside ordering, which speeds up service and increases table turnover.

Fill tables faster with a QR code menu for tableside ordering Serve more customers and increase daily sales

Follow the steps below to create a QR code menu that will allow customers to order and pay for their food at the table, without having to wait for a server.

4. Offer regular discounts and promotions

60% of patrons use promotional offers in restaurants.

Here’s how to increase foot traffic in your restaurant without breaking a sweat: tempt customers with promos and special offers that they won’t be able to resist.

From percentage discounts to free items, fixed price menus, and meal bundles, check out all the attractive promos you can create with GloriaFood’s promotions module:

Now, think back to what the slowest days, months, and time slots for restaurants are. What can you do to increase traffic? Start with these ideas:

  • Muffin Monday: Start the week off right with a free muffin on every purchase
  • Beat the Monday blues with 10% off our pizzas
  • Enjoy 15% off our winter menu items for the entire month of January
  • Lunch bundle: Visit us between 1 and 3 PM for a full lunch menu (appetizer, main course, and dessert) at $9.99
Increase restaurant traffic on slow days with targeted promotions Customize our promotion templates to appeal to your target audience

5. Reward loyalty with coupon codes for repeat visits

One of the most common strategies to increase sales in a restaurant is to appeal to your loyal customers.

Convince them to visit your restaurant again and again by offering a discount coupon code for the next visit. That way, they’ll have an incentive to return.

Coupon users visit a restaurant an average of seven times a month. What’s more, about 77% of customers say they use restaurant coupons.

Attract all this new business by creating your own personalized coupon code in minutes by following these steps:

6. Make restaurant seasonality work in your favor with dynamic menus

What to do when restaurant business is slow? Shake things up with new menu items and daily specials.

For example, if your summer sales have gone down, consider creating a special summer menu featuring fresh and light ingredients sourced locally.

Customers will be more inclined to relax on your patio with a glass of refreshing lemonade in hand. Plus, switching up your menu regularly ensures they won’t get bored with what you’re offering.

how to grow restaurant business during slow months: add summer specials to the menu

7. Make your restaurant easy to find online

To thrive in the competitive restaurant industry, you have to learn how to increase foot traffic in your restaurant by promoting it online.

First, optimize your restaurant website content to include relevant keywords for your cuisine and location, such as “Chinese restaurant in Queens, New York.”

This will signal to Google and other search engines that your website is relevant for those searches, so customers can more easily find it online.

Once customers find your website, you want them to convert. To do that, provide the following:

  • Address and contact information
  • Opening hours
  • Menu
  • Table reservation button
  • Online ordering button
  • Mouth-watering photos of your food
  • Shots of your restaurant interior

how to get your restaurant noticed: customize your website with mouth-watering photos

Would you like to get a restaurant website that comes pre-equipped with all the features above and more in under 10 minutes? Check out this video tutorial to learn how:

To see how your potential website could look like if you use our restaurant website builder, visit this demo website.

Once you have a website designed to convert, claim and fill in your Google Business Profile to increase the chances of your restaurant being discovered online.

8. Organize events and promote them on social media

What better way to increase footfall in your restaurant than by giving customers something fun to do on a regular Friday evening?

Organize restaurant events like wine tastings, karaoke, live music, quiz nights, costume parties, and even cooking classes. They will make your restaurant the talk of the town.

Don’t forget to spread the word about those events on your social channels. Post multiple times, at least two weeks in advance, and generate hype with sneak peek menu items, promotions, and performers.

9. Attract passersby with menu boards and decorations

One of the most common marketing ideas to increase footfall is to target passersby as a low-hanging fruit. They may pass by your restaurant every day, but what will get them to come in?

Well, a nicely decorated entrance, especially around the holidays, posters advertising your discounts, and menu boards featuring daily specials. Include puns and humor in your offline marketing to give customers an extra reason to visit you.

10. Ask for reviews from satisfied customers

how to increase footfall in restaurant: gather positive reviews

Source: Shutterstock

94% of US diners choose their next dining place based on online reviews. When people search for your restaurant online, they want to see what other customers are saying about you.

To ensure that what they see is raving reviews, approach satisfied customers and regulars and ask them to leave you a review on a platform of your choice.

Keep up with the reviews by replying to them regularly, and don’t ignore negative reviews because if left unanswered, they can damage your restaurant’s brand.

How Do I Get More People to Come to My Restaurant?

To wrap up this guide on how to increase foot traffic in your restaurant, here are the key takeaways you should remember:

  • Allow customers to book tables online and pre-order their food
  • Enable order and pay-at-the-table technology
  • Offer promotions during slow periods and increase repeat visits with discount coupon codes
  • Use seasonal ingredients to switch up your menu often
  • Optimize your website and Google Business Profile so customers can more easily find your restaurant
  • Plan fun events and generate hype on social media
  • Target passersby with promos, menu specials, and decorations
  • Encourage positive reviews and reply to negative reviews
photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.