As I rode my bike in the evening today, I noticed again a tiny restaurant which has attractive exterior. A guy sat in a chair at the entrance staring into his mobile, his body giving off the bored vibe. Even the interior looked attractive.
But there was no customers inside. All the four or five tables were visible from the road in a glance.
Any passing by customers, like couples, would judge the place in an instant and move on. When in comes to restaurants, social proof is a must. If people see other people sitting in, they think it must be good. If there is some marketing budget, such a restaurant would do good to pay some people to just sit in the tables when there are no customers, thus creating an impression of social proof.
Of course, if the food and service is crap, the genuine customer won’t return and won’t spread the word.
But in addition to discounts like happy hours, this too can be implemented, and has been implemented successfully by many restaurant owners. But very few owners can openly admit to it because the customer may feel cheated.
But if you need to attract customers in your restaurant, you need other people sitting in in any way possible. Of course, not by a gun to their heads.