Great food and service are only a part of what it takes to get new patrons through your doors. Here’s a guide for taking your restaurant marketing to new heights.
Starting a new business can be scary. Actually, make that terrifying! And with good reason. Did you know that half of all small businesses don’t make it past their first five years?
Now, obviously, the core of a successful restaurant is amazing food. However, if you’re depending on your food to sell itself in this new age of technology, you could be putting your business in jeopardy.
Learning to harness that technology for restaurant marketing is the key to staying above water and keeping your business growing.
Build Your Brand
Every business has a brand.
If you own a restaurant that makes Mexican food. You might think that your brand is “Mexican food”, but it’s much more complex than that. There are certain things to consider when building a brand for your business:
From a broad perspective, all of these concepts actually go hand in hand. The first thing to consider is where your restaurant is located. Is it in a small town? A business district? In the middle of a hip town square?
Your location then affects your price range. If you are located in an affluent area where customers are more likely have higher incomes, your brand should appeal to families and older adults.
On the other hand, if you’re located in a college town or any place with a younger population, you’ll have to keep your prices lower and your brand more contemporary and youthful.
What type of values does your business promote? Luxury? Clean, healthy eating? Craft beers and local sourcing? Taking all of these factors into account, try to pinpoint the feeling you want your customers to have when they think of your restaurant.
Restaurant Marketing Budget
Starting a business can cost a lot more than people think, with real estate, permits, staff, ingredients, signage, etc to consider. That being said, you cannot leave marketing out of the equation. Deciding how much you’re willing to spend ahead of time will make it much easier to come up with restaurant promotion ideas.
However, don’t let the “b” word (budget) scare you. There are plenty of free and inexpensive ways to network in your community and get your brand out there in front of people.
This facet of marketing is key, especially if you want to market to a younger crowd. Start a Facebook business account to post ads, announce events and sponsorships, and network with your local community.
Instagram is also key to social media success. Foodies haunt this social platform to find their next adventure, and creating hashtags for your brand is a fun way to interact with your regulars and even hold contests.
Use Twitter to share blog posts, make announcements in real time, and communicate quickly with your community. This platform operates at lightning speed, and posting ads at optimal times (lunch deals from 11-2pm, for example) with drool-worthy pictures can have customers flocking to your restaurant with their stomachs growling.
All of this can sound incredibly daunting, especially for older business owners. Luckily, new software is being developed that helps you keep track of all of your accounts. New apps allow you to create email newsletter series, schedule Instagram and Twitter posts and track your followers.
Google Alerts even tells you when anyone on the internet uses certain keywords that you’ve directly associated with your brand. This helps you keep track of how your brand is trending and even hop on negative reviews and comments before they become too popular.
Starting a Blog
Blogging isn’t just for angsty teenagers and crafting moms anymore. Businesses that blog actually have a much higher growth rate than those that don’t. Having a blog with a domain is the perfect place to talk about your brand’s story, announce menu updates and promotions, and add guests posts.
What is a guest post, you might ask?
The answer would be… your new best friend. Find a popular foodie with a blog that caters to your brand and gets permission to publish a post on their blog with a link to your restaurant’s website or blog. Post relevant material and their readers just became your readers.
Guest posts can also help you network with your community. Coordinate with other local businesses to post on each other’s blogs about upcoming events and promotions. Customers appreciate businesses that help keep their communities thrive.
Yelp is essential to the success of any business.
I repeat. In 2018, Yelp is paramount to the success of any business!
When most people look on Yelp for restaurants, they’re looking for something “near them”. For that reason, make sure that your address, phone number, business hours, and pricing is all accurate and up to date. If people can’t find you, they won’t think twice about going somewhere else.
Make sure to have a link to your menu that is easily accessible and has TONS of pictures. The less mystery, the better. Customers want to know that their trip to your restaurant won’t be a waste of their time.
Yelp also has an option for reviews. As the business owner, the more you communicate with your patrons, the more they will appreciate your brand and feel welcomed back. Thank people for their positive reviews and address the negative reviews with an apology and an invitation to come back.
Offering coupons or gift cards do as reparations for a bad experience do wonders in showing customers that you value their feedback and are always striving for improvement.
Your Life’s Work
Opening your own restaurant involves a lot of risk on your part, and a return on your investment isn’t always a guarantee. However, focusing on restaurant marketing will ensure that as many people hear about your brand as possible.
In 2018, having an online presence as a business is non-negotiable. Take small steps like connecting with your community and creating a social media network with an easy-to-use website.
This restaurant is your life’s work, and these restaurant marketing ideas will ensure that your customers are just as passionate about it as you are.
Ready to take the first step in expanding your brand? Let KitchenCUT software help you get organized and ready to shine!
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