People love their pets. They love spending time with them and are willing to spend a good amount of money on them. The population of dog owners in India was around 19.5 million in 2018 and is forecasted to reach over 31 million by 2023. This growth in pet lovers has led to an increase in pet food sales from approximately $139 million in 2014 to $285 million in 2018. As more and more people adopt pets, they look for pet-friendly places where they can bring their quadruped family members with them. And this includes restaurants too! Even restaurant owners are understanding this demand and hopping on the new trend. Pet-friendly restaurants are places where increasingly becoming desirable. Capturing this market can be just the thing your restaurant needs.
Creating a pet-friendly restaurant can be difficult; the challenges could range from handling agitated or hyperactive pets to handling their messes. However, creating a pet-friendly place can differentiate your restaurant from its competitors. Interestingly, the website named BringFido, is dedicated entirely to finding dog-friendly places. If you publicize your pet-friendly restaurant the right way and follow necessary protocols, you can create customer loyalty. We present to you some valuable tips to make a pet-friendly restaurant.
1. Right Location and Publicity
If you are planning to start a pet-friendly restaurant, it would be wise to get a property near a dog park or locality that has many households with pets. This could place you right next to your target customer base. You could attract more foot traffic with passersby stopping on their way and making an instant order.
Online advertising is one of the most effective ways of engaging with the audience. Instagram loves pet videos and anything related; this can give you the required boost. You could consider offering special deals and discounts for the people who bring in their pets. If you are unsure about allowing pets in your restaurant, you can designate specific pet days or pet hours; this can also help bring in customers on slow business days and hours.
2. Offer Pet-Friendly Services
Once the customers have arrived with their pets in your restaurant, they will be looking forward to a pet-friendly experience. To enhance their experience, you can offer quirky food bowls for pets to drink water and some treats and chew toys to play with. This will keep the pets distracted and owners happy. Restaurants can also provide every table with a leash hook. It’s a simple way to ensure your customers enjoy your food and the experience.
To ease customers’ experience, you can assign a staff member to handle all pet-related duties and requirements. It is also impertinent to make arrangements for all pets’ ‘dirty’ business. Restaurant owners can make space for visiting pets to do their business and get rid of it properly. To prevent your staff from doing the extra work and keeping your place clean, encourage your customers to clean up after their dogs. You can offer them poop sheets, extra bags and separate trash bins.
3. Open and Separate Spaces
Pets thrive in open spaces, so keeping a pet-friendly patio or garden in the restaurant is crucial. An ample open space can also ensure that pets are far from other pets to avoid any disruptions as they get excited or hostile. It is also advisable to have the restaurant on the ground floor. If it is on another floor, ensure more enormous balconies with netting.
If you have decided to make your restaurant a pet-friendly place, your food and drinks can still attract customers who are not fond of pets. You can redress this by keeping the pet-friendly area separate from people who are only there to enjoy your food. This way, you can keep both lovers and dissenters happy and separate.
4. Train your Staff and Set Some Ground Rules
Training your staff to deal with pets and foreseeable mishaps is necessary for running a successful pet-friendly restaurant. The staff should be prepared to deal with any messes speedily and efficiently. The team should also avoid being touchy with the pets who come, and in case any of them do, they need to ensure they wash immediately afterwards. There needs to be proper segregation between the staff who deal with food and those who handle pets. Train your staff to go to a manager if a pet creates a nuisance, or another customer complains.
Moreover, restaurants can set some ground rules for pet owners to follow. Those rules need to be clearly stated and listed at the restaurant for everyone to see. Some basic rules could include keeping dogs leashed, staying with them at all times, and respecting other guests’ space.
Hope this helps in making your restaurant a pet-friendly place. If you have any more tips, let us know in the comment section below. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram for more updates!