Marketing your business can be challenging with the ever-changing digital landscape. Moreso when you’re in the restaurant industry, which is considered as one of the most difficult industries to get into not only with the resources needed, creating new dishes, and regulations, but in terms of competition as well. You have the big chain restaurants, classic neighborhood joints, and all the up-and-coming small and medium enterprises in the same culinary playing field. However, adopting the following marketing ideas can help you thrive in this competitive industry.
Improve Your Social Media Presence
Digital marketing somehow levels the playing field between the established and newer, smaller restaurants. Having a good grasp of who your target market is and how to communicate with them online will be beneficial in increasing traffic not only to your social media profiles, but your restaurant as well. Creating social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and the like is one thing, but managing them to increase your following and visibility is what you really need. Your social media profiles must have the basics (your location, contact details, cuisine, etc.) plus more. And by more, we mean engaging content that your target audience wants to see. You can also hold social media contests to create more buzz and followers for your restaurant, like offering gift cards, merch, or a special invite to an exclusive concept testing session.
Creating and managing your restaurant’s social media platforms is free, but you can also consider paid social media advertising. You can tailor-fit your paid campaigns according to your ad budget and target audience (location, age, gender, and more). What’s even more beneficial with social media campaigns is the analytical data that you can get from these platforms. You’ll be able to see the quantitative results, including engagements, clicks, etc. This way, you have more information to fine-tune your future campaigns and focus on efforts that provide the best value for your ad money.
Create and Manage Your Google Business Profile
This may seem basic, but you’d be surprised at how many restaurants don’t have Google Business Profiles (previously called Google MyBusiness). Google is the top search engine in the world, and having your restaurant pop up first when someone types something as simple as “restaurants near me” during their lunch break can give your restaurant the boost it needs. Here are the top reasons why you should create and regularly update your Google Business Profile:
- Your business will appear in Maps and Google Local Pack listings, which means you can increase your restaurant’s visibility by simply creating and validating your profile.
- You can update your business information (address, schedule changes, website link, contact details) with a few simple clicks. Restaurant goers will know just when to come and which number to call to place an advanced order or book a reservation.
- Customers can leave reviews, which a majority of Google users usually rely on when making their decisions on where to eat.
- Online users can post their inquiries on your page and you can address them directly.
- Google Business Profiles also have the capability to post promotional ads to highlight new products or special events.
- Aside from qualitative feedback from customer reviews, you’ll have access to data such as number of views, search queries (how many times and what keywords they use), and other engagements (example: website link clicks, direction requests, etc.).
- Creating a Google Business Profile is both free and easy to use.
Much like Instagram and Facebook, Google also offers paid ad services that you can customize depending on your location, target audience, and advertising budget. If you need a simple way to increase visibility, create local buzz, and boost sales, then setting up a Google Business Profile should be on your marketing to-do list.
Build a Relationship with Your Community
Creating ties with the community that your restaurant is in means that you not only serve great dishes, but support good causes as well. Increasing supplier diversity, like partnering with local women-owned businesses or a homegrown non-profit organization, is a great way to potentially find fresh, locally-sourced ingredients for your dishes and develop a relationship with people in your community that can help you with marketing your restaurant, too. Word-of-mouth marketing is still relevant up to this day. When you add the advent of social media platforms and the invention of hashtags to the mix, word-of-mouth marketing transcends physical boundaries, becoming louder than ever before.
Develop a Loyalty Program
Whether it’s with a physical or digital card, you can get repeat customers through a loyalty program. When you’re starting out, the customer reward can be something small, like a free upgrade on their fifth purchase from your restaurant. Creating loyalty programs like this one helps you get to know your repeat customers a bit better and will allow you to engage with them better instead of having a purely transactional interaction.
When it comes to boosting restaurant sales, spicing up your social media strategy and creating solid marketing programs that will encourage customers to come to your restaurant are truly important. But once customers are already there with you, whether for an online order or a dine-in experience, it’s important to remember the fundamentals of the restaurant industry: consistently provide quality dishes with quality customer service.