How Restaurants Can Appeal to Frugal Consumers

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After the economic recession of 2008, individuals across America learned to keep their purse strings a little on the tight side. Even with the recovery, many people are still more apt to cook at home or eat fast food than take a load off at an eatery’s bar tables and order a great meal. Just because this is the new reality, though, doesn’t mean there aren’t a few ways to attract the more frugal patrons to a restaurant.

Provide Free Wi-Fi
Nothing grabs a frugal customer’s attention more than the word “free.” Of course, restaurateurs can’t go around offering free appetizers and meals all the time, or they could end up with restaurant booths full of people who aren’t generating any revenue whatsoever. Free Wi-Fi, though, is something relatively inexpensive to provide for guests. Patrons will enjoy not having to use their data and the fact that their children can play on the tablet while waiting for the food to arrive.

Offer Combos for Multiple People
A meal doesn’t necessarily have to be free or deeply discounted to get frugal customers at the bar tables. Applebee’s, for instance, offers $20 combos that are enough to feed two people. It’s a great marketing tactic and they make money even as people feel they’re getting a good deal. Restaurateurs who come up with something like this often do very well.

Run a Restaurant Loyalty Program
If they feel like they’re working towards something, even frugal consumers are willing to spend money. A patron who spends $30 at their bar table and leaves with nothing but a full stomach may regret the purchase later. A patron who leaves knowing they’re only two meals away from a free entree, though, won’t feel the same. Figure out a loyalty program that will keep the restaurant furniture occupied.

Play Televised Sporting Events

One surefire way to pack a restaurant with even the most frugal consumers is to have a screen or two going with a popular sporting event. In small towns, this could be something as simple as an away game for the local high school football team. These events create a sense of community that no one wants to miss. Of course, restaurateurs who pay the fee to show pay-per-view events, such as MMA fights or WWE events, will have a strong marketing point to sell.

Put Together Themed Events
Hosting a themed event is another great way to attract frugal and first time patrons. Whether it’s something as simple as a Mediterranean Night, where fancy European wines are offered, or an event focused on an upcoming event or holiday, it will pique even the most frugal person’s interest. These events are especially beneficial during the slow season.

The periods during and following economic downturns typically make it difficult to fill up the bar tables. Fortunately, there are a variety of great strategies to combat this problem. If a restaurateur is willing to go the extra mile to bring in new patrons and frugal regulars, they’ll be able to see consistent profit even when others aren’t.