Monthly Archives: December 2016

5 Quick Ways to Bring Customers to Your Restaurant after the Holidays









It’s the end of the year. Pockets are light and bellies are full from the Holidays. That doesn’t mean your restaurant should sit empty until people are ready to get back out to enjoy your tasty creations.  Here are 10 quick ways to get people back into your restaurant after the Holidays.

Birthday emails
Birthday coupons aren’t just for the likes of Starbucks and Chipotle.  Independent restaurateurs should also tap into this market.  Every year, I get an email from Starbucks on my birthday. I’m given any drink on the house. It’s the perfect way to start my birthday morning.

I’m very surprised that most other restaurants don’t do this.  They’ll offer free birthday items after I’ve walked in their doors, but an email reminder would really get me in their door.  Don’t forget, birthday customers travel in groups. If you offer a free drink or entree, you’ll get the additional business of friends and family who come along for the celebration.

Send offer emails
You can also send special offers, like buy one drink, get one 50% off or half-off appetizers to entice new customers to come in.  Email marketing is perfect for attracting new customers, but it’s also helpful in keeping your current customers.  Look into services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.  They’re inexpensive and user-friendly.

Live music
Bring in some local talent on the weekends to entertain your customers. Get your guests involved by asking them to vote for the band they want to hear on your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page.

Grand re-opening event
If you’ve been open for a while, host a grand re-opening. It’s a simple way to remind people about your restaurant and encourage new people to try out your restaurant. Think about offering a deal on a sampler platter so they can taste test several dishes.

Join the local chamber of commerce
Yes, we know restaurateurs are too busy running their business to attend the many Chamber of Commerce events in your area, but just about every community has a chamber of commerce that promotes their local businesses.  And, they’ll do it for free.  Not only can you network, but you can also offer to cater or host chamber events.

We’re in the digital age and it’s now even easier than ever before to promote your business electronically. Collect email addresses wherever you can. When you’re at a local tasting event, business meeting, or trade show, make sure you have an email sign up sheet.  Have a business card drop bowl at your door.  Also, don’t forget to collect email addresses on your website. You can create a signup form easily on your website with little help from a web designer.  Reach out to your trusted restaurant technology provider, they should be able to assist or point you to someone who can.


Your Restaurant’s Food Pictures Suck






In today’s “insta-world” it is absolutely necessary for all restaurants market themselves online.  Of course you’ll need website and some kind of social media presence like Facebook and Instagram. You might event think about sending out email marketing campaigns to current and prospective customers.

The key factor that these marketing strategies have in common is that they have to be attractive. Other than the accuracy of information, the most important part of a restaurant website is that it must have great images or photography. When you show customers the tasty food you offer, it has a direct impact on their perception of our restaurant.

Potential new customers come to your website seeking your contact information, reservations, directions, and most importantly, your menu. Visitors will look for mouthwatering pictures that can tell them what the dining experience will be like. They will also be making judgements about your restaurant before even stepping one foot in the door

Some people use stock images on their websites during the design process, and sometimes this is a good thing as there are image providers that offer inexpensive, high quality images. Unfortunately, the biggest downside to using stock photos is that that the images are very generic and may not fully show those little details and nuances that make your restaurant and menu stand out from others. The result is an appealing looking, but generic website. Restaurateurs should consider investing in a professional photographer to take high quality pictures of the food you prepare. We know the cost of opening and maintaining a restaurant can increase daily, so if there’s no budget for a professional photographer, remember that we live in a day and age where nearly everyone has access to high quality cameras at a reasonable cost. If your restaurant is using poor photography then the potential customer is going to associate that with your brand. A blurry, poorly lit photo of your dinner entree could translate to a loss in sales.

People are visual creatures and what we see can leave a lasting impression, especially when it comes to food. Since the Internet cannot relay the taste or smell of your food, people are going to judge the quality based on the pictures you show. Better pictures can result in better engagement, and if you post some quality images on social media with links back to your website you’ll start to notice an increase in web traffic, and ultimately food sales.


Press Release: Essential Systems Solutions Celebrates 5th Anniversary as a Leader in Point of Sale Industry






Essential Systems Solutions (Essential), celebrates its 5 year anniversary as an industry leader in Point of Sale restaurant & retail technology and professional services.

Essential was founded on December 5, 2011 by President Jason Thompson and VP, Customer Relations Michael L. Tash. The co-founders noticed that the changes in the POS industry created a need for trusted technology advisors for small business owners and not just a POS sales team. Clients found that partnering with Essential Systems Solutions meant they were getting a team of POS industry experts that provided innovative solutions and an easy way to reduce costs, experience savings and increase revenue.

“Essential is proud of its five-year track record of growth and sustained profitability while delivering superb technology solutions,” said Tash. “At the same time, we are forward-focused on this next five years and have significant plans to deliver substantial additional value to our clients.”

In anticipation of hitting this business milestone, Essential unveiled a new corporate Website and Blog (, in June of this year that reflects the company’s future strategic direction, mission, and goals. Essential will also be executing several promotional and informational initiatives throughout this month in support of the fifth anniversary.

About Essential Systems Solutions
Founded in 2011, Essential Systems Solutions is a single-source technology provider of traditional, mobile, and cloud-based Point of Sale solutions for restaurants, hospitality, and retail establishments throughout the United States. Essential also offers a vast selection of hardware equipment to meet a wide variety of business needs. Known for outstanding and professional service, Essential’s expert technicians are available to fix any kind of POS equipment. For more information about Essential Systems Solutions call 301-732-5000 or visit Follow @ESSisEssential on Twitter.


6 Reasons to Play Background Music in Your Restaurant

Have you ever been in a completely quiet store – with no music playing in the background? What did you think? If you are like most people, you probably felt uncomfortable, and after browsing around for a bit, you quickly left, and headed toward a friendlier, more welcoming store.
On another note, have you ever left a restaurant because the music was far too loud or unpleasant? Did it make you feel anxious and stressed?
Music is a key, and underrated detail in a store’s retail business: The right music has the potential to put people in the right mood. It can attract customers, increase sales, and add revenue. Here are six reasons why playing the right music will benefit your restaurant:

1. Differentiate your brand
Are you a carefree, laid back brand? Do you run family-friendly restaurant with a warm atmosphere? Are you a edgy and energetic food truck? The tempo, loudness, style of the music you play can subliminally communicate your restaurant’s personality to customers, even before they enter your door.
Music is such an effective way to communicate your restaurant’s image and it’s often enough to hear notes streaming outside to realize your business personality. Imagine that you are in the mood for an authentic Mexican meal with your family. You hear loud rap music playing as you reach for the door. You might change your mind about the restaurant choice or at least question how likely they are to serve authentic cuisine. If you have been thinking about tweaking or re-branding your restaurant’s image, music can be a powerful way to help achieve your goals.

2. Build the right ambiance
Music plays a big role in creating and enhancing your business atmosphere. Research shows that the music you play affects not only the restaurant environment, but also patron moods and feelings.

3. Create a private space
By concealing the sounds of voices, background music helps create a personal space for customers, giving them privacy as they enjoy their meals and conversations with friends or family.

4. Make the food taste better?
While there has not been a study that has made this conclusion, some researchers have noted that people seemed to enjoy their meal more when they were able to listen to sounds they thought were more pleasant.

5. Shorten wait times
Music can affect people’s perception of time. A busy restaurant with long wait times will feel shorter if there is good music playing in the background. It’s the same principle behind the melodies played while callers are put on hold. When people are entertained, they are less likely to get bored – and likelier to return.

6. Increase productivity
In-store music is not only for the customers, employees and managers benefit from it too. An effective music strategy can be a great tool to boost staff morale, concentration and productivity. Studies suggest that people tend to work faster, and complete their tasks more accurately and when listening to music.

In-store music can be a big point of differentiation for your business, as well as a key element in your customers’ dining experience. If you need help picking the right tunes for your business, contact your local restaurant technology provider to see the many music options available.