Whether you’re just opening or you’ve been established for decades, every restaurant needs to market their business to attract new customers and keep their loyal customers interested. Restaurant marketing has evolved over the years as consumer behaviors have shifted to involve the internet heavily in their search for a place to eat. While it’s true that restaurant owners need to keep up with digital marketing trends to compete, traditional channels are still essential to an effective restaurant marketing strategy. In this guide, we’ll be sharing some marketing ideas for restaurants using both digital and traditional methods.
Restaurant Marketing Strategies: Digital
A strong online presence is essential to any restaurant that wants to attract more business. Most consumers use the internet to find restaurants near them, whether they’re visiting an area they’re not familiar with or looking to try something new in their own hometown. If you already have a mobile-responsive, search engine optimized website featuring your full menu, the first step to a strong online presence is complete. Increase your website’s traffic and get more customers in the door with these digital marketing strategies for restaurants:
- Complete your Google MyBusiness profile
When consumers perform a localized search for certain type of business, the top results that Google displays are Google MyBusiness profiles. Essentially, they are business listings that display a company’s website, location, hours, contact information, photos, customer reviews, and more. Complete your profile with professional-quality photos of your food and your dining room, a well-written description, and accurate hours/contact info to ensure that people searching for restaurants in your local area get an enticing look at your restaurant.
- Encourage reviews and respond to them
Studies show that a majority of consumers will read online reviews before visiting a restaurant. Have your staff encourage customers to leave a Google, Yelp, or Facebook review. Make sure to respond to your reviews! Thanking a customer for a positive review will increase their loyalty to your brand. Responding to a negative review in a professional manner will show other potential customers reading your reviews that you care.
- Engage your audience on social media
Facebook and Instagram are both great platforms for restaurants to create brand loyalty by connecting with their customers. Build your following by encouraging customers with an incentive, such as a coupon or free drink for following your page. Once you have an audience, start posting regularly to keep them engaged. Give followers a look into your kitchen and introduce them to your staff. Use social media to advertise your special promotions and to hold contests. You can also use Facebook’s advertising platform to run localized ads to reach accounts that don’t follow you yet.
- Reach out to food bloggers
Food blogs get massive amounts of traffic from people who frequent restaurants. If your restaurant is located in a well-populated city, it’s likely there are a handful of local food bloggers who actually have influence. Google search “(your city name) food blog” and start checking them out. Reach out to bloggers who haven’t been to your restaurant yet and see if they’d be willing to give you a review.
- Sign up for Google Alerts
Reputation management is a big part of restaurant marketing. You need to know when people are talking about your restaurant so that you can share the praise and respond to the criticism professionally. Google Alerts is a service that will notify you when there’s any activity regarding a specified search phrase. Enter the name of your restaurant and get updates anytime your restaurant is mentioned online. You can also get alerts for phrases like “(your city) food” or “restaurants in (your city)” to keep up with local foodie news and know what restaurants people are talking about.
Restaurant Marketing Strategies: Traditional
While online tactics should play a large role in your restaurant marketing strategy, you can’t neglect the tried-and-true methods of getting customers in the door. Don’t forget about these traditional restaurant marketing strategies:
- Mail coupons
Direct mail may be the oldest marketing channel known to man, but it continues to prove its effectiveness and smart marketers continue to find new ways to use it. For restaurants, mailing coupons out to your local community is a sure-fire way to get a surge of business.
- Get a professionally designed logo
Most marketers agree that businesses should rebrand every seven years at most, so if it’s been a while since you’ve updated your restaurants logo (or if you never had a professionally designed logo), you should definitely consider it. A great logo catches attention and stays in a person’s memory. It also gives your business credibility and creates a brand identity that consumers can relate to. When someone Google searches “restaurant near me”, your logo could play a big role in whether or not your website gets a click, and the same goes for people looking at the sign above your door!
- Host a trivia night
Events are a great way for any business to increase brand awareness and for restaurants, trivia or other game nights tend to be a reliable choice. People will show up with a group of friends to play and end up spending more money than the average table because they’ll keep buying drinks as long as the game keeps going. Offer a cash prize and advertise your trivia night however you can.
- Visit other local businesses
The most successful restaurants are ones that are connected to their communities. One way to connect with your community is to visit nearby businesses to introduce yourself and drop off menus/coupons. By connecting with other local business owners, you can land their business for company parties and lunch meetings. You also open opportunities for cross promotion if you connect with local businesses who share the same target audience with you.
Thanks for reading, we hope this article was useful and informative. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more updates and marketing tips! If you ever have a marketing-related question or want a comprehensive analysis of your restaurant’s marketing strategy, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-992-9663. You can also find more information about our services on our website. Get in touch with us and find out how we can help you grow your business!