Catering is a sector in which it seems that everything important is already known, but there is still a lot to innovate. On the other hand, one of the biggest concerns of any entrepreneur is spending money on actions that will not bring profits. Growth hacking provides a solution to both problems. This methodology is based on active experimentation, i.e., carrying out quick and cheap tests on a continuous basis. In this way, it is possible to test which strategies are effective without wasting resources. This allows us to innovate with effective strategies that we know will make us grow before investing a large budget.
The first thing to do is to define which metrics are key, i.e. which ones best indicate the growth of our restaurant. Clear examples would be the average number of customers per day, cost and price of the daily menu, coffees, soft drinks and starters served, customer satisfaction index, partnerships with quality suppliers.
The next step is to set SMART objectives, i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. Raising 5% customer recurrence the next month, decreasing the menu cost by 5% in the next quarter would be good examples of SMART objectives.
To achieve our objectives we will use growth drivers. Since we will not know if these drivers will be effective or not, it will be essential to carry out experiments.
Possible growth drivers for the hospitality sector could be the use of databases, referrals, reviews, special events and personal treatment. Should we focus on them? Which ones? We will test this through growth hacking methodology.
It is possible to generate a large number of customers through booking data - what do we need it for and how do we use it? One of the most underestimated advantages of customer bookings is the database generated. All bookings, whether by phone or via the website, should be collected together in the reservation book. A restaurant must take care of all those who decide to go and make sure they want to come back.
- How do we achieve this?
- How do we publicise our events?
First of all, we can look at how we can ask for opinions or feedback. We can also test how we can offer promotions or discounts or create memories for our customers by congratulating them on their birthdays or on special dates.
Another good way to attract families is to organise events such as theme nights. In the case of restaurants, this could be nights where children eat for free or with discounts if people wear certain clothes or give positive reviews. Organising activities such as a small-scale competition can give parents confidence and keep their children in a safe, clean and fun environment. Other options are to organise activities for children of a certain age. Why are we interested in this extra work? Creating offers and discounts can appeal to the needs of families looking for affordable ways to have a good time.
- To what extent should we invest in these activities?
- Which are the most effective and which should be discarded?
Being referred by our customers in their recommendations to family and friends could help us to develop the potential of our business. When a trusted person recommends a site, there is a five-fold increase in the likelihood that the customer will go there and discard other options.
For this to happen, customers must be completely satisfied with the service offered. If this happens we can ask them to recommend us to family and friends.
- How do we do this?
- What value proposition will we have?
- How do we benefit from taking action?
- What is the most beneficial strategy to achieve the objectives we are seeking?
From these questions we will develop experiments which will help us to discover which strategies are the most suitable for growth. After some time and progressively we will understand the business better and we will be able to make it grow.
After all, this process is necessary to find out what works, but if we don´t document the learnings afterwards, we will forget the results. In the long run we will accumulate a lot of knowledge that will allow us to develop more and more useful and efficient strategies.
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