The online sphere might have revolutionized many facets of the business world, but certain industries, by their very nature, will always have real world factors that need dealing with. When all is said and done, a restaurant or a café will live or die on one thing. Footfall. Indoor or outdoor, passing or directed, footfall is the lifeblood of a good hospitality establishment.

To help boost this for your business, consider the following five techniques:

One – Themed Design: Every town has a restaurant. Not every town has a ice cream and savoury waffle bar themed around a 1950’s working man’s cafeteria. Customers might rarely remember the many and varied specific details that you could put into your establishment’s design, but they will very clearly remember the overall ambiance and effect all these design elements come together to create. The more you can specifically design the establishment, the more features that come together to create a particular air or setting, the stronger the unique and specific association will be, and thus the stronger the interest draw will become.

Wait to be seated

Two – Specific Menu: In keeping with the above, one of the best ways to draw footfall is to do one specific set of things, do them very well, and be the only establishment in the area that offers them. How many Korean Barbeque establishments are there in Canterbury? How many Bolivian-inspired Sushi restaurants can you find in Sheffield? How many Ethiopian eateries are there in Exeter? If anyone wants that style, they have only one place to come. While many might feel that sticking to tried and true recipes and pallets is the way forward, that route leads to competition and genericism. Strike out, strike hard, and you can find new and fertile ground for your footfall to walk upon.

Three – Outdoor Space Usage: The front of your establishment is not your frontline. You need to not only make the front porch or rear garden space friendly and inviting in the abstract, but welcoming and pleasant as it’s actually working to serve customers. There are many different ways to do this. Carefully chosen benches. Precisely placed planters. Whatever bizarreness the UK weather patterns throw your way, an awning can always be useful, either freestanding or attached to a building.

An Awning from inside

With a nicely appointed outdoor space, customers that might have just let their footfall pass you by, may in fact find their way to sitting down.

Four – Niche Inclusion: While you might have already gone very niche with your Uzbek Utilitarian stylings and menu selection, there is still further to go in terms of inclusion and provision – especially when it comes to restaurants. Vegan options, vegetarian selections, Halal provision, Kosher possibilities, the gluten free gambit. All of these often feel underserved by the mainstream, and while some of them have specific restaurants working to serve them, there is no reason why your establishment cannot be competitive in this area also. By reaching out to underserved communities and population segments, sections who by their very nature do not have a large section of the market available to them to begin with, you tap a underserved and potentially highly lucrative segment.

Five – Daily Deals: The first four factors discussed about bringing people in are whether they will show any interest at all, any day of the week. This last strategy will draw them in at a specific time, possibly for a specific set of meals, hopefully to come back at other times. The soundest way to use daily deals is to make it aimed at particular times and days when footfall is normally lower. Possibly midweek or Sunday, when the possibility of work the next day tends to push people to stay at home. By making certain days more financially interesting, and even certain meals unusually frugal, you push people towards not so much leaving their comfort zone, but rather expanding it to include your establishment.

Footfall is how businesses of this kind can live or die. With techniques like these, you are more than capable of keeping shoes sauntering to sit down, and trainers tracking towards your tables.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to

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