A solid marketing campaign is essential in the restaurant industry. Restaurant owners nationwide need unique and effective restaurant marketing strategies to set their eateries apart from the competition. This article explains why marketing is vital for restaurants, the best restaurant marketing ideas for standing out and how to implement them.
Why Is Restaurant Marketing Important?
With over 1 million restaurant locations in the country, restaurants need to formulate a good marketing campaign to convince consumers to choose them over other restaurants. Marketing helps restaurants win more business by showcasing their services to the public and building up their brands. Without any marketing or advertising, consumers won’t know what a restaurant has to offer.
Well-executed marketing establishes a restaurant’s presence in the market and keeps it competitive. Smart advertising attracts new customers to a restaurant and retains old ones by developing the restaurant’s reputation. Marketing helps restaurants stay connected with their customers and build lasting relationships with them. These strong ties bring customers back into your restaurant again and again.
Restaurant Marketing Benefits
Restaurant marketing covers a wide range of benefits. Here are some of the top advantages restaurants enjoy with an organized and outstanding marketing plan.
1. Expanded Reach
A detailed marketing campaign helps restaurants reach a wider audience and build their reputation among consumers. Consumers can’t go to a restaurant they don’t know exists. Advertising helps restaurants increase their brand awareness and gain name recognition with consumers.
Marketing across different platforms, including online, print and radio, enables a restaurant to introduce itself to many consumers from different demographics. Appealing to a broad audience helps a restaurant build its reputation in the community. As the restaurant’s name becomes more well-known, more people will want to check it out.
2. New Targeted Customers
Marketing allows restaurants to appeal to specific consumers by getting the word out about their mission, vision and purpose. Certain demographics respond better to certain brand messages. An effective marketing campaign targets the demographics that relate most to the restaurant’s goals and services.
A well-researched marketing plan helps restaurants target specific customers by catering to their needs, interests and lifestyle. For example, a quick-service restaurant can appeal to young families by advertising on social media, while a high-end restaurant can focus on attracting older, wealthier customers by publishing an ad in the local newspaper or fine dining magazine.
3. Improved Customer Loyalty
Marketing also helps restaurants retain old customers. Effective advertising builds strong relationships with customers. These relationships inspire brand loyalty and increase customer lifetime value by turning them into regulars.
Marketing inspires more repeat business by offering various rewards and promotions for loyal customers. Incentives like a punch card or customer loyalty program motivate people to visit the restaurant often enough to earn the prize.
4. Increased Revenue
All the marketing benefits listed above add up to more revenue for your restaurant. Marketing your restaurant well generates more sales by attracting new customers and converting them into regulars. Ultimately, advertising is an investment. When restaurants invest in marketing wisely and target the demographics most relevant to them, their revenue increases.
10 Best Marketing Strategies for Restaurants
Check out these 10 effective strategies for restaurant marketing to boost your revenue:
1. Concentrate on Local SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for any business since it makes it easier for people browsing online to discover the company. Local SEO is crucial for restaurant marketing because many mobile searches are local or location-based. Restaurants with strong local SEO are more likely to pop up for people searching for the best local spot to eat.
To attract people traveling through the area or locals themselves, your website’s SEO needs to make your restaurant a local hot spot. The goal should be to rank in the top three Google map spots whenever a user searches for a keyword like “best brunch.” The top three restaurants that appear on the results page receive the most web traffic because they’re the first restaurants users see.
Boost your restaurant’s local SEO by using the following tips:
Set up a Google My Business account.
Create a blog on your restaurant’s website featuring engaging, relevant content and plenty of keywords.
Use local keywords and other forms of SEO coding, such as headings, videos and metadata embedded in pictures, throughout your website’s other pages.
Include internal links back to other pages on your website and external links to affiliate websites and authoritative sources.
Ensure that your restaurant’s contact information is accessible, easy to find and listed multiple times on your website.
2. Make the Most of Social Media
Social media is one of the best restaurant marketing tactics because it’s cost-effective and reaches a nearly limitless audience. Nearly 70% of American adults are on Facebook, meaning restaurants can reach most of their potential customers in one convenient location. Restaurants use their social media accounts to drive traffic to their site, amass a following, interact with customers and advertise special offers.
Social media allows both free and paid advertising campaigns. Create an account for free and generate more traffic by encouraging users to like, comment and share their posts. Restaurants also repost content from their followers that they’ve been tagged in, which entices people to go to the restaurant and tag their posts in hopes of getting their photo reposted.
Restaurants also engage in paid social media marketing. Paid ads let you target specific audiences based on age, location, gender and other demographics and choose how much you spend on your marketing each day. Paid social media marketing includes analytical data that breaks down the performance and success of a restaurant’s ads. This data tells you how well each ad did in terms of engagement like link clicks, follows, likes, shares and comments, so you can adjust accordingly.
3. Use Food Visuals
Restaurant advertising relies on visually appealing food photos since potential consumers cannot taste or smell the product. Food visuals are also critical to restaurant marketing because people eat with their eyes first. A high-quality, aesthetically pleasing picture of food draws hungry eyes and attracts people to your restaurant.
Some customers, especially millennials, want to photograph their food when they go to restaurants. A restaurant appeals to this market by offering trendy menu items and posting stunning photos of its food. Choose a brightly colored or otherwise visually notable signature menu item that other restaurants don’t have and take an amazing photo of it to gain traction on social media.
4. Offer Coupons and Specials
Social media is also an excellent platform for creative restaurant marketing ideas like special contests, coupons and promos. Social media challenges and contests are especially effective for promoting your restaurant because everyone loves an opportunity to win a prize. Running a giveaway drawing on social media that involves users tagging their favorite dining buddy to enter boosts your brand visibility and draws more visitors to your restaurant’s page.
5. Get Involved With the Community
Getting involved with the community is key to developing deeper customer connections and forming positive name recognition. If consumers associate your restaurant with the community, they’ll be more inclined to support it by giving it their business. Using restaurant marketing to foster a sense of community makes members feel like they’re doing something charitable when they order from your restaurant.
Building affiliate relationships with local complementary businesses is a great way to get involved with the community. Work with other small businesses by recommending their services, running joint promotional deals and guest-posting on each other’s blogs. For example, you could offer a discount to anyone who comes in with a receipt from the consignment shop down the street.
6. Contact Local Bloggers and Influencers
Another way to draw more customers from the community is by reaching out to local bloggers and influencers. Consider inviting food bloggers to visit your restaurant and offering them a free meal, appetizer or dessert. Ask them to share their dining experience online and review your restaurant.
Many blog subscribers and influencer followers trust these people to recommend top-quality restaurants to visit. Depending on how many followers a blogger or influencer has, scoring a review from one of them could earn your restaurant tons of attention. Even just one positive review from a big-name influencer increases your brand’s visibility.
7. Leverage Email Marketing
Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves building a list of email subscribers and sending out weekly or monthly emails. This tactic is particularly effective because it markets to people who have already expressed an interest in your business. The emails should be friendly and appreciative toward the customer and subtly nudge the recipient to return to your restaurant.
Your restaurant’s emails should include content your readers deem valuable, or people won’t open them. Consider working the following marketing ideas into your email campaigns to keep your readers engaged:
- Special discounts for email subscribers only
- Menu changes or weekly specials
- An invitation to an event your restaurant is hosting
- Details about your restaurant’s story or history
- Information about seasonal promotions your restaurant is running
8. Partner With Delivery Apps
In today’s fast-paced digital-driven environment, convenience is key. Many online delivery services and mobile apps streamline the ordering process by listing numerous restaurant options in one spot. Customers enjoy using these food apps because they can find whatever they’re craving by opening a single app instead of visiting many different restaurant sites.
Increase your brand’s visibility and chances of receiving orders by getting your restaurant listed on these food delivery apps. The top delivery service apps to partner with include:
- Uber Eats
9. Maintain a Positive Reputation
Curating a positive reputation for your restaurant depends on consistent quality service and good online reviews. Offering phenomenal food and customer service earns your restaurant a loyal customer base. To reach even more consumers and get more customers in the door, your restaurant also needs positive reviews online.
Glowing reviews create trust with your potential customers and persuade curious foodies to try your restaurant. Reading a positive review assures them that visiting your restaurant will be a good experience. Encourage happy customers to review your restaurant online by offering a special discount for anyone who does so.
Yelp holds tremendous power within the realm of restaurant reviews. Even if you don’t set up a Yelp account, people can and will review your restaurant, so it is important to be proactive, routinely check your restaurant’s reviews and respond appropriately. Handling positive and negative feedback in a polite, professional manner makes people more inclined to patronize your restaurant.
10. Stay Up-To-Date on All Online Platforms
Make it easy for customers to find or order from your restaurant by ensuring your information online is accurate. Keeping your information up to date includes regularly refreshing your restaurant’s website to reflect any address, contact information or menu changes, along with verifying any details about your restaurant listed on other sites like Yelp, Google My Business and Facebook.
Keeping your online information current is essential because most consumers research a restaurant online before visiting it. Foodies especially love getting the inside scoop on restaurants from Yelp before deciding on where to dine. Although you can’t control what kind of reviews get posted about your restaurant, you can provide as many positive details about your restaurant as possible.
Make sure you add these details to your restaurant’s pages:
- Complete menu
- High-quality photos
- Restaurant hours
- Price range
- Outdoor seating options
- Wi-Fi availability
- Parking accommodations
Utilize Cloud Kitchens in Your Marketing Strategy
Along with the restaurant marketing ideas above, incorporate cloud kitchens into your marketing strategy. Cloud kitchens, also known as virtual kitchens or ghost kitchens, are professional food preparation and cooking facilities designated for takeout meals only. The cloud kitchen model lets restaurants rent commercial kitchen space to prepare to-go meals without requiring high overhead or administrative hassles.
Cloud kitchens help restaurants gain more visibility on food delivery apps for little additional effort or cost. Once restaurants get on a food delivery platform, they rapidly gain recognition from app visitors and build a loyal customer base. The app enables restaurants to reach a wider audience, accumulate good reviews and build relationships with customers.
Certain cloud kitchen companies, such as Revolving Kitchen, have their own apps that make obtaining visibility even easier for restaurants. For example, the Revolving Kitchen app creates a virtual food hall that allows consumers to order different cuisines from the multiple restaurants housed within the facility and pay a single delivery fee. This unique opportunity encourages consumers to order from restaurants they might not ordinarily try.
Operating multiple virtual restaurants makes it easier for establishments to test new menu items, different restaurant concepts and seasonal brands. These experiments are perfect for more marketing tactics like sending email updates and highlighting specials on social media. Offering limited-time items motivates more customers to post vibrant photos of their exclusive orders, which your restaurant can then repost.
Restaurants using cloud kitchens earn additional brand visibility by letting customers pick up their orders directly from the facility. Making the cloud kitchen a pick-up location promotes more public exposure and engagement with the community. Working alongside other local businesses also helps restaurants establish deeper connections with the community.
Partner With Revolving Kitchen to Boost Your Restaurant Marketing
Want to boost your restaurant’s marketing with the cloud kitchen model? Join the Revolving Kitchen community to rent cutting-edge commercial kitchen space with modern amenities. Revolving Kitchen offers restaurants in the Dallas-Forth Worth area cost-effective, private rental kitchen space for short- and long-term use.
To learn more about the cloud kitchen model or schedule a facility tour, contact Revolving Kitchen today.