Restaurant foot traffic has been struggling in recent months as inflation costs are keeping more consumers at home. Casual eateries experienced a 1%+ decline since August 2022, and the trend kept up throughout 2022.

Eateries must begin spending resources to increase foot traffic and lure patrons back in as inflation begins to stabilize.

Let’s look at a few ways to begin boosting foot traffic.

7 Ways to Improve Restaurant Foot Traffic

increase foot traffic

1. Make Your Restaurant Business Meeting-Friendly

One of the tricks on how to get more customers in my restaurant that works very well is creating an environment that is business meeting-friendly. If you can attract companies to hold meetings at your eatery, it will have a dramatic impact on foot traffic and high-ticket sales.

You may want to:

  • Offer fast Wi-Fi for guests
  • Create a “quiet” seating area for meetings
  • Add specialty drinks
  • Offer sound-proof areas if you have music and entertainment

If you have a lot of extra room in your space, you can always allow businesses the option to book the space. Utilizing unused space will bring in more foot traffic and increase your overall revenue.

2. Offer Pickup and Catering Options

A staggering 60% of restaurants goers order takeout at least once a week. If you only offer sit-in dining, you’ll lose a lot of business. Instead, you’ll want to:

  • Begin offering takeout and connect to users with an app or online portal
  • Provide catering to your restaurant guests

You'll find that catering improves sales and foot traffic in the long term. Someone at the catering event who loves your food is far more likely to come into the eatery in the future.

If your customers want pick-up and catering options, you should give it to them.

3. Implement a Loyalty Program

Want to increase foot traffic by bringing your guests back into the restaurant? Loyalty programs are one of your best opportunities. Imagine running a coffee shop where the person receives a free coffee for every $50 that they spend.

The person reaches this milestone and realizes when they’re at the mall that they have a free coffee they can claim.


  • Come in to claim their coffee
  • Often avoid other coffee shops because they want a free deal

Plus, when you reward guests for coming back to your restaurant, they’ll feel appreciated and continue to frequent your restaurant. Freebies work very well, and they can be a low-cost item that’s on your menu, such as a $5 appetizer or a $3 coffee.

When the person comes in to claim their reward, there’s a good chance that they’ll buy other items, too.

4. Entice Old Customers to Drop In

Trying to figure out how to get more customers in a restaurant? Why not focus on your old customers? It's always cheaper to retain a customer than it is to attract new ones. The person liked coming into your eatery in the past, and you may be able to entice them to return with:

  • Discounts for returning customers that show a receipt
  • New menu items 
  • “Try your old favorites” night with discounted menu items

Often, customers will go to new eateries because they want to try something new. You can offer something new with menu items, interior revamp, or even through SMS marketing if you have this information.

how to get more customers in restaurant

5. Host Events for Locals

One overlooked way to increase restaurant traffic is to host events for locals. Events are a great way to bring the community together and increase your sales at the same time. Connect with local non-profits that are looking for a space to host their next fundraiser or organize your own event that will appeal to your neighbors.

You could also host:

  • Live music nights
  • Pet adoption events

Building and nurturing your restaurant’s relationship with the community can help naturally increase foot traffic to your establishment.

To encourage people to return to your restaurant, you could offer a special coupon or discount code for people who sign up with their email addresses. Offering this kind of deal can also help you build your email list, allowing you to boost your email marketing strategy at the same time.

6. Surprise Social Media Deals

One simple way to increase traffic restaurant is to offer surprise deals on social media. Being active on social media and building your following can naturally help drive more foot traffic to your restaurant. But offering surprise deals can help boost your traffic even further. 

The great thing about social media is that your content is so easy to share, so customers can share information about your deals with their friends. Shares are free promotions for your restaurant and can help get even more people through your doors

Here are a few key things to keep in mind with this strategy:

  • The cost of the promotion. Special deals like this should entice people to dine at your restaurant, but they shouldn’t bankrupt your restaurant. 
  • Time. Surprise deals like this should only be available for a limited time.

Make sure that you’re encouraging your followers to share your promotion and that you’re prepared to handle an influx of foot traffic. 

7. Get Creative with Your Signage

Increasing traffic to a restaurant isn’t always just about reaching out to old customers or trying out new menu items. It’s also about making your restaurant more attractive to people passing by.

New, creative signage can entice people to drop in and give your restaurant a try. Creating an Instagram-worthy exterior can also encourage people to stop and take photos at your restaurant. When they share these photos, they promote your restaurant at the same time, and this alone can help drive more foot traffic to your establishment.

If your restaurant is off of a busy highway that gets more road traffic than foot traffic, a bigger sign that’s easily visible and readable from the road can drive more people to your doorstep.

Final Thoughts

Increasing restaurant foot traffic can be challenging, but with the right strategy, you can drive more people to your doorstep. Being active on social media, improving your signage, hosting events, and making your establishment more business-friendly can help attract more customers.