Today’s diners and drinkers are getting every so savvy. No longer is it enough to draw them in with the promise of good food or great drinks at competitive prices. You also have to sell the experience that they’ll have at your establishment.

It’s important to remember that people come to your restaurant or bar because they’re trying to escape the house. In fact, nearly 75% of customers say that the chance to socialize with family and friends rather than worry about cooking and cleaning up after a meal is the main reason they go out to eat.

Restaurants and bars have always been looked at as social gathering spots as much as they are viewed as eateries, so the aforementioned statistics should come as no surprise. Yet many restaurant and bar owners still view themselves just as restaurateurs.

The truth is that to survive in today’s market, the most effective restaurant and bar ideas will have you be part cook, part manager, part bartender, and part promoter. Wearing this many hats may seem overwhelming, but the payoff you’ll see makes all of the extra effort well worth it.

1. Develop Your Brand

When people hear the name of your restaurant or bar, what comes to their minds? If the answer is nothing, then you’ve failed at selling your brand to your community. The big-name national restaurant chains rely primarily on brand-name recognition to attract new customers. Yet that’s often all that they have to offer.

You, on the other hand, have the advantage in that your brand brings with it uniqueness. Sell the idea that yours is the only establishment in the world where customers can enjoy a certain dish or drink or where they’ll be treated to a particular service aspect. Pretty soon, you’ll notice that your restaurant or bar becomes known as “the place to go for…..” That kind of name recognition is priceless.

2. Embrace Online Marketing

To ignore the impact that the Internet can have on your restaurant or bar is to ignore an entire demographic of virtual customers. Nearly 43% or consumers say that they’ve ordered food online in the past.

Even if you’re not in the position to offer delivery service, allowing customers a glimpse at your menu online will at the very least familiarize them with what you have to offer. You might also see an increase in the number of takeout orders from those customers wanting to dine but not wanting to wait for service.

Yet your internet marketing efforts shouldn’t be limited to just your website. Social media platforms offer you a level of online interaction with your customers that could potentially be more powerful than any conversations had inside of your establishment. If you haven’t already, you definitely need to look into establishing the following social media resources:

A Facebook page

A Twitter handle

A LinkedIn profile

A Yelp page

Yet setting these tools up isn’t enough; they need to be constantly used to offer promotions or advertise specials. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to a social media campaign, consider hiring a dedicated employee for this task.

Isn’t it time you caught up with what today’s customers really want? If you’re not looking to sell yourself and your dining experience as much as you sell the quality of your food, you risk losing touch with your customer base.

By simply refocusing your efforts towards a more comprehensive marketing strategy, you’ll start to see not just new customers coming through your doors, but current customers more willing to stay thanks to the kinship they feel from your promotional efforts.