4 Steps to Build a Restaurant Sales Funnel

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Having a sales funnel for your restaurant provides a streamlined method for growing brand awareness, creating a contact list, and gaining new and repeat business.

In time, an effective funnel will ensure your restaurant stays full and will allow your business to thrive.

Key Takeaways:

  • A sales funnel helps capture leads, attract customers, and encourage repeat business
  • Use a variety of marketing methods in your funnel, including web pages, emails, coupons, and more
  • GoHighLevel, ClickFunnels 2.0, and Systeme.io are all great platforms for funnel-building

What Is a Sales Funnel for Restaurants?

What Is a Sales Funnel for Restaurants?

A sales funnel is a predetermined process that automatically leads a person through the customer journey to completion. 

In other words, it’s a tool for gaining new customers and ensuring your existing ones make a return visit.

As a restaurant owner, you must find ways of attracting people over to your establishment. 

Many popular ways include email marketing, coupons, SMS messages, and online reviews. 

Creating a sales funnel simply means you’re refining your marketing methods into one streamlined process so that they are as effective as possible.

Why Is a Sales Funnel for Restaurants Important?

A sales funnel is important for restaurants for three key reasons:

1. Capture New Leads

Capture New Leads

You can’t build a customer base if no one knows who you are. 

Therefore, building brand awareness and getting your name out there is key to getting new faces through the door.

This isn’t just necessarily local customers either. What about people passing through or visiting your area? 

How will they know to come to your restaurant if there is no information about it anywhere?

Building a contact list (name, phone number, email address, etc.) is crucial here because it provides a fast and easy way to reach out to your new audience.

2. Attract New Customers 

Attract New Customers

Once people know who you are and what your restaurant provides, you need to get those people into your establishment. 

This typically involves some kind of incentive to pique potential customers’ interest.

Here you can leverage that contact list you built in the last stage. Use it to connect with your potential customers and give them a reason to head over.

Additionally, you want to make it easy for people to come to your restaurant. 

Online or SMS booking or ordering are simple and convenient methods to instantly gain customers.

3. Build a Loyal Client Base

Build a Loyal Client Base

Now you have a steady flow of new business, how do you go about retaining them and persuading customers to return?

This might not be necessary during busy months like the holidays, but how do you ensure your restaurant stays full during quieter months?

Implementing a strategy to create a loyal client base will solve these issues. 

Not only will it help keep your restaurant afloat, but loyal customers will act as free advertising. 

There’s no better endorsement than a personal recommendation from a happy customer.

How to Create a Sales Funnel for Restaurants

Taking the above into consideration, you can now map out the end-to-end process of your sales funnel. This is divided into four major steps:

1. Determine Your Audience Attraction Methods

Determine Your Audience Attraction Methods

First of all, what are you going to do to get your name out there so that people know who you are and what type of cuisine your restaurant provides? 

It’s not as complicated as you think, and you’ll be pleased to hear it doesn’t involve a giant marketing budget. 

Here are some strategies you can employ:

  • Use local SEO: To get local business, it’s vital you use local SEO for your web pages. Creating a website and blog posts that focus on your specific area greatly increases your chances of being found organically in web searches.
  • Get active on social media: Of course, your restaurant needs its own accounts, but joining local business and community groups and becoming an active member is a great way to get noticed.
  • Engage local bloggers and influencers: This one may cost you a little money, or you can offer freebies in return for a local blogger or influencer to promote you. The advantage here is that they will already have an established and engaged audience.
  • Use Geofencing: Geofencing is highly targeted online advertising that focuses on a very specific area, such as a single zip code or town. When someone enters the geolocated area, they are shown relevant ads. 
  • Online directories: Google Maps, Yelp, and other online directories are highly effective and free ways to get your restaurant seen. Make sure your restaurant’s information is up-to-date and comprehensive on these sites.

2. Capture Audience Information

Capture Audience Information

Now that people are seeing your restaurant’s name, you need to give them a reason to get in touch and provide their contact information. This is where you can get creative and think of interesting ways to do this.

Some examples are:

  • Hold contests: Contests are great because they’re mutually beneficial. You get people to sign up (and obtain their contact info in the process), and the participants stand a chance of winning a prize, such as a free meal or gift card.
  • Give out coupons: Coupons are also highly effective since everyone likes a discount. You can create online forms for people to complete, and in return, they receive an instant coupon code.
  • Capture at point of sale: Capturing the info of people dining in your restaurant can be achieved at the point of sale. You can provide a card for customers to complete, and in return, they get money off their next visit or some kind of meal deal.
  • Use a website form: Always have a form available on your website for visitors to complete. You’ve probably seen it before: you provide your name and email, and you then get subscribed to a mailing list.

3. Sell Your Offers

Sell Your Offers

You’ve now got a healthy contact list. The next job is to convert them into paying customers. 

Whether you have email addresses or phone numbers, you can use email or SMS marketing to send out the following:

  • Limited-time deals: For example, a one-night special or a weeklong promotion. These deals could be something along the lines of bottomless drinks, all-you-can-eat dishes, or a significant discount on certain menu items.
  • Limited-time coupons: Unlike evergreen coupons, limited-time coupons provide a sense of urgency and encourage the customer to book before it expires.
  • Exclusive events: Everyone likes to feel like a VIP, and we’ve all heard of FOMO (fear of missing out), right? Therefore, holding ultra-exclusive or special events with a limited capacity will make people want to attend.
  • Birthday promotions: Birthdays are the perfect opportunity to send out a gift card or discount to encourage people to hold their celebration at your restaurant.
  • Freebies: Free items are an attractive offer and effective at creating more business. Freebies don’t have to be large; they could be a side, a drink, or a dessert.

4. Encourage Repeat Business

Encourage Repeat Business

Finally, you must give people a reason to keep coming back. Sure, your food may be excellent, but you’re fighting among your local competitors for a limited amount of business. 

Therefore, you have to give people a good reason to choose your restaurant over everyone else’s.

Here are some proven tactics to deploy:

  • Request reviews: Your existing loyal customers will be more than happy to add a review online. In fact, you could offer them an incentive such as a coupon or discount for doing so. This not only gets them to return but has the added bonus of encouraging new business.
  • Establish a loyalty program: You’ve likely seen these in chain restaurants and coffee shops. Each visit gets a stamp on a card, and when the card is full, the customer gets a decent freebie or significant discount off their next meal.
  • Create personalized offers (remarketing): This is where you create personalized offers based on customer behavior or preferences. You can gather this data via surveys or feedback forms or use previous purchasing information to create specific deals for the customer in question.

Which Platforms Are Best for Creating Restaurant Sales Funnels?

Creating websites, funnels, offers, and other sales and marketing material online can be daunting, especially if you’re a newcomer to this arena. 

Thankfully, there are a number of platforms designed just for this purpose and are there to make it a lot simpler to create your restaurant sales funnel.

Here are some of our favorites:

GoHighLevel

GoHighLevel is a detailed sales, marketing, and CRM platform.

It hosts a great many features, including an intuitive funnel builder. The advantage of GoHighLevel is that you can incorporate web pages, email, phone, and SMS into your workflows, making it the most versatile funnel builder available.

Plans cost from $97/month, and its features are unlimited. However, new or inexperienced users may find GoHighLevel too complex since it requires a big learning curve.

ClickFunnels 2.0

ClickFunnels 2.0 was built for creating funnels and has everything you’d expect to build high-converting sales and lead-generating workflows. The platform provides templates to help you get started, and you can pick from a wide variety of funnel types.

Plans cost from $147/month, so again, not the most affordable choice.

Systeme.io

Systeme.io is a marketing platform that also has course-building features. Its funnel builder is straightforward and easy to grasp but isn’t as sophisticated as other platforms. The automation capabilities are also quite basic. 

The advantage here is that you can use Systeme.io for free, so it is a good choice for low budgets and beginners.

Frequently Asked Questions

A sales funnel can help your restaurant establish its brand, encourage leads and new business, and drive repeat business.

A good sales funnel for a restaurant will include steps for the following:

  • A way to attract an audience
  • A method to gain audience information
  • An offer to attract sales
  • A strategy to gain repeat business

You can create a restaurant sales funnel for free, but you may find it limited. For example, many email providers have a restricted free plan. This is great for starting out, but once you grow, you will need to upgrade and pay.

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About Authors

  • Samuel Fletcher

    Samuel Fletcher is a entrepreneur with over 15 years in online course development. With an in-depth understanding of online course platforms, including Kajabi, Thinkific, LearnWorlds, and more, he has not only created courses on these platforms but has also assisted others in their course creation journeys. Beyond his hands-on experience, Sam is a passionate blogger, online business mentor, and a proactive contributor to community initiatives. His commitment to excellence and belief in dedication, perseverance, and unwavering commitment drives his success. Recognizing the gap in unbiased, quality information about online course platforms, he co-founded SupplyGem. In addition to his leadership role, Samuel serves as a Technical Writer at SupplyGem, sharing his expertise with a broader audience. Moreover, he's an active member of professional associations such as the Association for Talent Development (ATD), The Learning Guild, and others, underlining his dedication to continuous learning and industry advancement.

  • Noel Griffith

    Noel Griffith is a Co-Founder and the Senior Analyst at SupplyGem. With a deep understanding of online businesses and a distinct passion for the creator economy. Drawing from his experience as a developer and online marketer, Noel is devoted to guiding others toward success in their online endeavors. In addition to his contributions at SupplyGem, he is affiliated with notable organizations such as the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and The Learning Guild.

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