A restaurant sales funnel guides potential restaurant guests through the buyer’s journey. The “funnel” terminology is used as it accurately depicts the process; most prospects are at the top (the wide portion of the funnel), and the funnel grows smaller as they work their way to the conversion (the narrow portion of the funnel).
The way you market gets more precise and focused as you move down the funnel as well. The purpose is to convert as many prospects to paying customers as possible. This review discusses how to create a restaurant sales funnel for maximum conversions.
What is a Sales Funnel for a Restaurant?
A restaurant sales funnel is a practical model that represents the customer’s journey. There are numerous sales funnel models; a simple Google search reveals several on the first page alone. The one we recommend is the AIDA model. This stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Here is a more detailed breakdown of this sales funnel for restaurants:
- Attention – The prospect is aware of your restaurant’s location and menu during this stage.
- Interest – The prospect learns more about your menu, services, and overall experience.
- Desire – The prospect is interested in your restaurant and favors it over your competitors.
- Action – The prospect takes action in the form of a reservation, online order, etc.
On average, customers usually go through the restaurant sales funnel faster than they do for other industries. This is because they are usually making fast decisions for a group of people and they have already decided that they will make a purchase. Subsequently, your restaurant sales funnel should lead each customer conveniently (and without ambiguity) through each step.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Restaurant Sales Funnel
Every restaurant sales funnel should be personalized to reach the target audience and optimize conversion rates. In other words, there is no cookie-cutter approach to follow. However, there are steps to keep in mind when creating your personalized sales funnel.
Step 1: Build Your Brand Awareness
The first step of your sales funnel is to simply raise your brand awareness. There are numerous ways to maximize your visibility online. Some of the more effective ways to gain the awareness and attention of your ideal customer and get them into your restaurant sales funnel include:
- Social media platforms (i.e. Instagram, Facebook)
- Local Google listings
- Content creation (i.e. blog posts)
- Local SEO efforts
- Email marketing campaigns
Although there are numerous marketing possibilities for the awareness phase, we recommend focusing on the platforms and marketing techniques that are most successful for you. This may, at first, involve trial and error. For example, you may find that you are generating a fair amount of business through social media, whereas your email marketing campaigns are not as effective in getting customers into the awareness phase.
In this case, it may be best to double down your efforts on social media and begin to move away from email marketing to attract new customers. (Of course, in this scenario, email marketing can still be utilized for customer retention purposes.)
Step 2: Gain Your Audience’s Interest
Once you have made a large number of prospective customers aware of your restaurant, then your task is to gain their interest. For most restaurants, this includes convincing them that your restaurant’s food and overall experience is superior to your competitors. Several ways to do this are:
- Menu images
- Introductory videos
- Special event promotions
- Personalized graphics
Images are a great way to capture your audience’s attention and interest. This is especially the case when displaying your food and drinks. Be sure to include images in your Google My Business (GMB) listing, Facebook page, and website.
Step 3: Incentivize Your Audience to Purchase
Convenience is of the utmost importance in 2022. Subsequently, a strong online presence can greatly incentivize your audience to choose you over competitors. Mobile online ordering, pickup, and reservations are essential. Additionally, you can incentivize your audience to purchase by adding these to your restaurant sales funnel:
- Limited-time offers
- Discounted pricing
Restaurants are unique in the sense that many customers purchase after step two (gaining their interest). If they are still not ready to choose your restaurant, then you can help close the sale through incentivization, such as by making them aware of limited-time offers and discounted pricing.
Step 4: Establish Repeat Customers
As I am sure you know, restaurant success is largely dependent on return customers. This is the case whether your typical customers live in your city or are tourists. Here are several ways to stay in touch and increase your number of repeat customers:
- Email campaigns
- Mobile push notifications
- Website (and app) registration
- Retargeting ads
- Return reward programs
The ultimate key is to find the best way to stay in touch and ensure they remember your restaurant. This can be in the form of gaining their email, encouraging a social media following, or retargeting through paid advertisements.
A proper sales funnel should capture the attention of your target audience, gain their interest, and incentivize them to purchase. You should also have a proper retargeting approach in place as well to ensure an optimal number of repeat customers.