June 28, 2023
Devn Ratz

How to Increase Customer Acquisition for Your Restaurant

Customers hold the essential core of any restaurant. They need strategies to constantly pique their interest and grab their attention. But, for all businesses, the cost of acquiring customers has hiked up by at least 50%. This adds to the stress of restaurant food waste, cost of labor, and other operating expenses.

The reason is simple: too many restaurants don’t define a clear customer acquisition strategy for their restaurant. It seems intuitive to keep doing what seems to work. Though, this often makes restaurant owners and managers miss out on the best restaurant marketing methods for getting new customers to dine-in or order out. 

New channels may make more sense in a quickly changing digital age. In this post, you’ll find five ways to increase customer acquisition for your restaurant. Use this guide and its time-tested tips to generate more demand for your dishes.

Key Takeaway: To increase customer acquisition for your restaurant, focus on combining inbound vs. outbound marketing to lower costs and boost sales.
Explore customer acquisition through Revolution Ordering's off-premise technology for your restaurant business.

What is Customer Acquisition?

Customer acquisition includes all your activity to gain new business. A strong acquisition strategy not only helps restaurants capture new customers. It also strengthens existing efforts like restaurant loyalty programs and other methods to increase restaurant sales.

Customer acquisition begins with the very first contact you have with a customer. From a lead to a loyal customer, acquisition continues and develops into your customer retention strategy. Both tactics should work together to keep your restaurant branding and presence profitable for the business.

In all, acquisition is everything within your customer journey. It’s every moment that matters in the customer journey toward first purchase. From there, custom loyalty programs help secure commitment and reduce customer turnover.

How to Score Customer Acquisition in Restaurants

If you sense that you should be concerned about the cost of capturing new business, take a moment to add up your CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost). While the calculation may be straightforward, you should analyze these restaurant data analytics combined with other restaurant KPIs.

To add up your restaurant’s cost per customer acquisition, combine your sales and marketing spend. Then, divide the total by the number of new customers acquired. You should end up with a formula like this:

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) = Spend (S) / New Customers (N)

Imagine that your restaurant spends $100,000 annually on marketing. In the process, your restaurant chain captured 10,000 new customers. If you divide the total spend by new customers, you see that the cost per acquisition hits $10.

If you only caught 1,000 new customers, you would see that cost rise to $100 per customer acquisition. Take a moment to calculate your cost per acquisition in the restaurant business. You might look to data in your CRM and loyalty program integration to gather the metrics.

Knowing your CAC, turn to our five top strategies for bringing in more customers and keeping acquisition costs low.

5 Customer Acquisition Strategies for Restaurants

Customer acquisition concerns almost every arm of your restaurant. You can break up the strategies that lead to lower costs and higher sales according to their discipline in marketing. 

As core strategies for acquisition, these paid and unpaid (organic) methods work together. Restaurant owners should use a combination approach to complement and enhance the results of their restaurant marketing efforts.

1. Enhance SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Organic search results are some of the best places to capture new business. To appear at the top of the page for “nearby” and “restaurant” searches, invest in restaurant SEO. Your website rankings for key terms really matter in the digital age.

Today, search engine optimization supports many areas of your business, but it primarily brings more customers to your site. This helps bring in more business, orders, and interest.

2. Use Social Media 

Whether organic or paid, social media marketing boosts awareness for your restaurant, shows personality, and pushes offers. As part of your customer acquisition strategy, you want to build exposure and interest with unique, high-quality content.

Many customers discover new brands, eateries, and businesses through social media, where they help the same companies to spread their message. They're also willing to answer customer survey questions on personalized customer surveys. So, leverage customer participation with effective marketing tools.

3. Try Paid Advertising

Paid search ads (PPC, or pay-per-click) grab top spots for search engine searches. That’s because restaurants advertise locally to catch the intent of users seeking easy, quick dining options with a fast query.

While SEO can organically boost your business, paid strategies more aggressively target the terms that new customers use to find you. 

4. Build Referral Benefits

One of the greatest assets that a restaurant has for acquiring new customers are those they already have. You may not need to look far for an effective customer acquisition strategy to reduce costs and improve business.

Create a referral program to incentivize customers to bring new guests. You can sweeten the deal with restaurant gift cards and discounts.

5. Enable Online Ordering

An unbelievable amount of customers continue to prefer the contactless hospitality of online ordering. Some reports estimate the market could reach nearly $500 billion by 2030.

To get a slice of this quickly growing market, restaurants adopt digital menu ordering on their website with integration to POS systems for operational efficiency.

Revolution Ordering, a BlueCart company, can help. Our food tech is a comprehensive restaurant online ordering platform supporting enterprise brands to expand rapidly. 

Better customer acquisition rates begin with Revolution Ordering technology for restaurants.

Frequently Asked Questions About Customer Acquisition

Restaurant chains and enterprises must learn to lower the cost per acquisition while using sound strategies to entice new customers. Learn what customer acquisition means and why it’s critical in the common questions below.

What does customer acquisition mean?

Customer acquisition is everything that goes into getting new customers for their business. From marketing to sales, restaurants put in real effort to personalize and perfect their “new business” strategies. All of this is concerned with acquiring new customers.

If a customer buys for the first time, they can be considered acquired. Once they buy again, they concern customer retention—rather than acquisition.

What are good customer acquisition strategies?

Good acquisition strategies help potential customers see and consider your offer over the competition. The best customer acquisition strategies for restaurants accomplish these three goals:

  • Attracts leads
  • Nurtures prospects
  • Converts customers

Some of the most effective strategies for enterprise restaurants continue to be integrated online ordering solutions that speed operations, improve experiences, and fuel sales.

Why is customer acquisition important?

Customer acquisition rates help restaurants see where they are creating a firm grasp on the market. It tells them how much it costs to get each customer to buy and gives a glimpse into the profitability of the business overall.

By analyzing acquisition alongside customer retention and other metrics, you can improve upon past success with clear goals and benchmarks.

How do you lower customer acquisition costs?

To lower your customer acquisition costs at a restaurant, consider a website redesign for off-site ordering. Making your site, menu, and payment process mobile-friendly will reduce friction for the growing number of online ordering customers. 

From there, you can continually monitor your cost per customer with support from integrated ordering software. Demo Revolution Ordering to learn more.

Use Revolution Ordering technology to power customer acquisition for your food brand.