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restaurant business loans

Did you know that there are more than one million restaurants in the United States? Restaurants are undoubtedly operating in a cutthroat industry, so it’s important to continuously work hard to stand out. Having access to restaurant business loans can help you grow your restaurant in no time. If you’re still debating whether to take on a restaurant loan or not, you may want to consider these enhancements you can make with some extra capital.

Here are Four Ways to Use A Restaurant Loan 

1. Offer Delivery Services

If your restaurant doesn’t offer delivery services, you’re missing out big time. Studies show that 60% of Americans order delivery or take out at least two times a week. This goes to show that many people want convenience when it comes to ordering food. If you’re looking to offer delivery services, you can add online ordering features to make it more convenient for your customers. More importantly, a restaurant loan would also allow you to hire a transportation service to deliver food. 

However, if handling the logistics is too much work, you can get your company listed on on-demand food delivery platforms like Zomato, Postmates, and Uber Eats. When the users of this app type keywords like “chicken parm” or “pasta,” your restaurant will show up if you serve those dishes. Users can place their orders online, pay for them, and then have them delivered to their door. 

Keep in mind that adding more services and features can take a chunk out of your working capital, so make sure you have the necessary budget and business plan to execute it. If you don’t have the capital, you can always apply for a restaurant business loan. 

2. Invest in Marketing Projects

Your customers keep your restaurant alive. This means that adding new customers and retaining your existing ones is crucial to your success. If you don’t want your customers to forget a positive dining experience, implementing an engaging marketing strategy is key. It’s also a great way to spend your extra working capital. 

One way to get your message across your target audience is to advertise on Google. You’d need to fill out a form on Google My Business and then bid on ad placement on Google. If optimized correctly, your restaurant will come up if someone searches for “restaurants near me.” 

Along with your digital marketing efforts, you can implement traditional efforts for a wider reach, like sponsoring a local event or handing out flyers outside supermarkets. Both tactics can help improve brand awareness and penetration in your market area, therefore increasing ROI. 

3. Create a Loyalty Program for Your Clients

Marketing to your existing customers is more cost-effective than trying to recruit new customers. Most business owners mainly focus on marketing to potential clients that they neglect current customers. To encourage repeat business, create loyalty programs for your customers. 

  • Points Program: This is the most common and simplest type of loyalty program. Your customers gain points each time they make a purchase. They can redeem their points in the form of discounts or a reward, like free apps or drinks.
  • Tier Program: This system is similar to the point program but the rewards depend on levels of loyalty. Their loyalty level increases as they accumulate more points. The higher the loyalty level, the more elaborate the rewards. 
  • Paid Programs: This program is more suitable for existing customers who frequent your business. As the name suggests, your customers need to pay to get into the paid VIP program where they get to enjoy exclusive benefits. 
  • Value-Based Program: You’ll need to structure this program based on the mutual values of your customers and your business. One example of this type of program is making a monetary or product donation to a charity the aligns with your business.

These are just some of the loyalty programs available today. The best type of loyalty program for your restaurant depends on your business’ needs, goals, and resources. 

Loyalty programs don’t have to be expensive, even if you’re looking to go mobile. There are mobile apps that offer digital rewards and allow you to customize and/or subscribe to a program suitable for your business. With new technology, no cards or apps are needed. Restaurants can turn customer credit cards into loyalty cards with modern loyalty programs, making it simple for restaurateurs to bring back guests.

Make sure to think of ways to keep your loyalty programs fun and interesting. In case you’re not aware, loyalty fatigue is real, so it’s important to switch things up every few months or years.

4. Spend on Your Employees

Running a successful restaurant is a balance between providing amazing food and a great dining experience. Your employees play an important role in ensuring both of these factors are met, so it makes sense to spend money to keep them happy. Investing in your employees, empowering them, and celebrating their accomplishments boosts team morale and motivates them.

Investing your restaurant loan in your staff comes in many forms, such as:

  • Giving them a bonus.
  • Throwing an employee party. 
  • Investing in their professional and personal development. 
  • Hosting team-building activities.

Other than these suggestions, one new trend has recently emerged in the restaurant industry: taking your employees on a vacation. Restaurant employees are subjected to high pressure, so treating your employees with relaxing trips to a beach resort will be much appreciated. 

Discover Restaurant Business Loans Today!

We all know that running a restaurant can be expensive. Only a small fraction of restaurateurs can finance their entire business out of pocket. If you’re not too keen on using up your personal assets to keep your business afloat, you can secure funding through restaurant business loans

There are different types of loan products suitable for every business need – from a business line of credit and term loans to a restaurant cash advance and purchase order financing. If you don’t know which loan to apply for, lenders often have financial advisors who are ready to work with you.

You don’t need to be an accountant to calculate food or labor costs or forecast your sales, you simply need a budget and a good expenses spreadsheet.

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Matt is a content marketing contributor at SMB Compass. He's a writer by day, reader by night, music lover, and foodie. When he's not doing all that, he's trying new things.