While you may be confident running your restaurant, effectively marketing your establishment may be a different story. In this Restaurant 101, we share six marketing tips to help your restaurant keep and attract patrons.
1. Find Your Social Media Niche
While it may be tempting to have a significant presence on several social media channels, this approach is often not the most practical for restaurant owners just beginning to build an online presence. In fact, having several poorly coordinated social media channels can be more detrimental to your brand image than having no social media presence at all. Instead, consider identifying a single social media platform that best aligns with your brand and developing it well. If you enjoy taking pictures of your food and creating unique menu items, Instagram may be a good fit. If you plan to run frequent specials and enjoy communicating with your customers, a Facebook page may be a better option.
2. Update Your Online Listings
Consumers now rely heavily on internet-connected devices for making purchase decisions, including where to eat. Over 50 percent of consumers will search for a restaurant and visit their chosen eatery within an hour. This underscores how important it is for your restaurant to be easily findable online. Two important listings for restaurant owners are Google and Yelp, so make sure your business information is listed and current. However, there are many additional business listing sites available. Search them out, add your business information, and make sure to keep it up-to-date.
3. Consider the Benefits of a Groupon Campaign
While implementing an effective Groupon campaign isn't one of the easiest marketing tips on our list, it can be an important part of a restaurant's long-term marketing strategy. The Groupon platform boasts access to over 30 million users, so attracting even a small percentage of these users can help ensure the viability of a food service business. Mano Behara, founder and CEO at The Digital Restaurant, provides seven helpful marketing tips for running a successful Groupon campaign.
4. Partner with a Delivery Service
While you may consider offering a delivery service to your customers, investing in the necessary employees and resources required to execute this may be a deterrent. This concern has made food delivery services such as Eat24 and GrubHub increasingly popular alternatives for restaurant owners. By utilizing these services, your business can attract new customers and offer delivery services on a limited basis without having to add extra manpower. Instead, your delivery partner handles the online ordering and provides delivery service (including the driver) for a fraction of the total order.
5. Participate in Community Events
Participating in community events is another way to help connect with potential customers and build your presence within the local community. Many cities conduct a number of fairs, festivals, parades, or other events on an annual basis. Contact your local chamber of commerce to learn when these regular events are held and how to get involved. Your participation might include coupon distribution, food samples, or even a full food booth at the local fair. All of these opportunities get your name and your food in front of potential customers.
6. Build a Functional Website
Along with an increase in online-driven shopping, today's consumers also expect the freedom to research their purchase decisions before buying. This aspect of your marketing campaign is especially important if your restaurant is not already familiar to many consumers. It’s that much harder given that many individuals are not willing to walk into a new restaurant and merely hope to find something they enjoy at a price they find reasonable. Instead, they often want to research the menu before entering for the first time. Make sure your website is functional with a complete menu for curious patrons.
Taking the time to map out an effective marketing strategy can help in your efforts to bring patrons into your restaurant. Think about your establishment through the eyes of your customers and make it as easy as possible for them to find your business and stop in regularly to enjoy a meal.