We all know that the restaurant industry is a competitive one. There are many different types of restaurants, and there’s no shortage of marketing strategies to help you get ahead in the pack. But what if I told you that there was something unique about owning your own restaurant? What if I told you that as a restaurateur, YOU were your own marketer? Would it change anything for YOU? Read on…
1) Optimise Your Menu
It’s no surprise that hungry people want to eat. What they may not know is what you offer and how good it is, so give them an idea by creating a well-optimized menu. Be sure to include the price, calorie count (if applicable), and any other tidbits of information you think may be relevant, such as whether or not your meat is locally sourced. What do you think of when I say “digital menu boards“? Digital menus are popping up in more and more restaurants, but they’re certainly not the norm. This means that if you want to stand out from your competitors (who don’t have them) YOU have a chance to attract customers. Digital menu boards are pretty self-explanatory in what they do, but here’s a quick breakdown: when you make updates or add something new to your menu, it’s displayed on the screen(s) in your restaurant for all to see. Whether you want to advertise happy hour, a new dessert you’re trying out, or menu changes-it’s an effective and affordable marketing technique.
2) Customer Loyalty Programs
Once people taste your food and become regulars, they’re much more likely to spread the word about your restaurant to their friends. In fact, a recent survey showed that when asked why they prefer one restaurant over another, 60% of the respondents said it was because “the food is good”. So, in order to attract new customers, you need YOUR customers to do the referring.
Take advantage of this by offering them some sort of loyalty program, whether it’s a punch card or an actual loyalty rewards program. Handing out free mugs with your logo on it is also a good idea if you want customers to keep coming back for more, especially if they’re big coffee drinkers!
3) Social Media Engagement
No matter what type of restaurant you’re in the business of, social media is a great way to communicate with your customers and establish a connection that can be mutually beneficial. By informing followers about any specials or new menu items, they’ll come back asking where YOU are when they want to take advantage of them! But do keep in mind one thing-be it Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, your posts should always be tasteful and appropriate for all ages. Remember that teens are often the ones most excited to try new places with their friends, so keep them in mind when posting content!
4) Local SEO Techniques
Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) might as well be called “Restaurant Marketing” because it helps with the presence your restaurant has on the Internet. If people can’t find you online, they may never know that you exist. So, in order to improve your local SEO techniques (which will bring up your organic search rankings), it’s important to be as descriptive as possible when creating your content. Two extremely effective ways to do this are by using keywords and writing good meta descriptions for blog posts, social media posts, or anything else.
This includes things like having your business and website come up when people search for certain keywords (like “Italian Food” or “Restaurants Near Me”). It’s just another way to drive traffic to your restaurant that you might not have thought of! Providing detailed content about your restaurant is an easy way to increase the visibility of your business online!
5) Encourage Online Reviews
There’s a reason that 70% of Americans who read online reviews before going to a restaurant-it can determine whether or not they decide to take the trip. While there have been all sorts of debates about how much this affects customer behavior, it still can’t be denied that online reviews play a big part in your business. Make sure you encourage people to leave reviews (online or in-person!) and that you respond to them properly. Encourage things like Yelp reviews as well as Google Reviews, as people tend to look at both.
6) Ensure A Mobile-Friendly Website
People like to browse on their phones when it comes to the Internet, and with mobile browsing becoming more and more popular with time you need to make sure your restaurant website is mobile-friendly. Generally, this means having a smaller website (not too many pictures!) and ensuring that ordering, promotions (discounts/specials) and other important things are easy to find. You also don’t want to scare people off by making them download an app!
7) Make Use Of PPC (Pay Per Click) Ads
If you have the budget, PPC ads are another great way to get people into your restaurant. They’re especially useful if you have a new establishment or are just trying to bring more attention to your place. Running PPC ads can be expensive though, so only use them if you’re confident that it’s going to drive traffic and sales.
8) Increase Your Food & Beverage Sales By Offering Takeout
Takeout is a great thing for restaurants, as it allows customers who can’t make it into the restaurant/bar to still purchase your food or beverages. Have some takeout boxes available around the restaurant, as well as some menus by the door so people can decide what they want to take home before they leave. Make sure your website is set up for online ordering as well! When you enable mobile ordering and delivery you boost your sales and market yourself on food apps at the same time.
Restaurant owners are in a unique position where they can market their business as well as the food. The restaurant’s décor is certainly important, but many customers are looking for something more when they walk in the door-namely, great food, and service. These factors not only attract customers but encourage them to come back. By using these tips on how to improve your marketing strategy you will be able to increase your product sales online by capitalizing on what makes your establishment so special: its customer experience!