Many independent restaurants, pubs, and bars have realized the benefits of staying open late. Keeping your doors open longer gives you an opportunity to serve customers who might not be eager or able to show up during happy hour. Younger customers, in particular, say they would eat out more often if options were open later. So how can you attract customers to your restaurant late at night?

Getting customers through the door when most people are in bed remains challenging, especially if you’re testing out a late-night strategy for the first time. Extending your hours doesn’t guarantee you’ll increase profits. You will need to tailor your offerings to night owls specifically if you hope to drive foot traffic. Here are several ideas you can incorporate into your marketing strategy to attract late-night customers to your location.


Update Your Hours Online

The first step toward running a successful late-night location is to make sure potential customers know you’re open. Make sure to check that your hours are up-to-date on each platform you advertise yourself online, including social media, Google My Business, your website, and third-party sites.

You should also make sure your location looks unmistakably open during late hours. Consider investing in a LED Open Sign you can place at a window in the front of your restaurant; this will let your customers know that you are open without a doubt. If customers arrive at a mostly dark storefront, they might decide to turn around. Putting up lights and leaving the door open welcomes people inside.

Create a Limited Late-Night Menu

Consider creating an exclusive late-night drink and food menu that customers can only order from if they come during your late hours. This change will encourage regular customers to come in later and try your specials, while also giving new customers an incentive to try out your options. You can also implement late-night deals to drive more traffic, such as a reverse happy hour or a weekday special where you can offer restaurant specials on Monday or Wednesday night to help people get through the week. It all depends on what kind of unique restaurant promotion ideas your restaurant is willing to offer.

Present Live Music or Host Events

Most members of the night crowd are out to have a good time. You can help them keep the party going by hiring live music or hosting events during slower hours. If you’re thinking about hosting live music, make sure you have all the permits that are required by your city. Failure to present such permits can result in costly fines.

If you’re considering the event route, reach out to different organizations and offer to host a trivia night at your location. By providing your space to various organizations, you are opening your restaurant to more foot-traffic from local guests in your community. If they have a great time during the event, word of mouth from these customers can continue to bring success into your restaurant. Creative entertainment can make your bar or pub a wind-down destination that thrives during the late-night hours.

Offer Online Ordering Options

Many late-night diners are people with irregular work schedules who may not have the time or energy to sit down for a full meal in your pub or restaurant. Online ordering options allow these customers to enjoy your food within the constraints of their schedules. Seize this market opportunity by incorporating easy online ordering into your POS system and you’ll start attracting customers to your restaurant. Businesses with online ordering receive 32 percent more orders than those who accept phone ordering only.

How Can You Attract Late-Night Diners?

Incorporating unique restaurant promotion ideas, like the ones mentioned above to your marketing strategy, can help get your restaurant name out to your community. From offering online ordering to hosting local events, these ideas can help ensure your restaurant is a must stop for late-night diners. Make sure your bar or pub’s Point of Sale (POS) system is equipped to handle a late-night crowd. Make sure your bar or pub’s Point of Sale (POS) system is equipped to handle a late-night crowd.

CAKE’s cloud-based bar POS can help your staff take orders quickly, split checks easily, and perform essential duties all from a single screen. Learn more about this innovative POS system and start making your late-night venture more profitable today.