10 Ways to Improve Your Restaurant's Marketing Efforts
It isn’t a secret that entering the restaurant industry can be a risky move. According to recent studies, 80 percent of hospitality services fail within 5 years of opening their businesses. To last in this industry, it is important to spread the word about your establishment. By mastering these restaurant marketing tips, your eatery will have a better chance of succeeding in this competitive market, and you’ll have fun while doing it!
- Make a plan – Marketing and advertising is essential for any industry, but restaurants have to be especially targeted in their approach to these areas. Meet with your team, brainstorm restaurant marketing ideas and make a set schedule for your advertising plans.
- Develop a brand identity – As long as your food is delicious, that is all that matters, right? Think again. Having a consistent brand theme is necessary, since it will help customers remember your restaurant, and will hopefully attract new patrons too. Incorporate your brand into all of your marketing collateral – coupons, social media platforms, flyers, interior design and anywhere else that you advertise your business. Make sure all of your restaurant marketing efforts reflect your brand’s identity, since this will make a lasting impression on customers.
- Build a user-friendly website – Don’t underestimate the value of a strong website. A professional domain name, accessible menu and attractive layout will make viewers more likely to visit your restaurant. If the site looks old, tacky or difficult to use, people will assume your restaurant will offer the same feeling.
- Advertise on social media platforms – Create accounts on multiple social media platforms to truly master online restaurant advertising. Not everyone uses the same platforms, so having a few can help you interact with more customers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google + are all good sites to join. Although you can link your accounts and share the same posts on each platform, getting inventive is a plus. For instance, having a creative Instagram account that features your restaurant’s décor and menu items will serve your customers with more than food; it will make them feel like your restaurant is an experience.
- Explore Yelp’s offerings – Chances are, if you’re in the restaurant industry, you already know all about Yelp. Yelp allows users to write reviews, post photos and check-in when they are at your restaurant. For free, business owners can create Yelp Deals, respond to customer reviews and upload photos. If you’d like to take advantage of Yelp’s other services, pay for Self Service or Full Service Yelp ads, and receive additional benefits. Yelp offers another avenue to advertise your business and interact with customers.
- Offer coupons – Giving customers coupons is an easy way to lure them to your restaurant. People love to save money, and if they have a coupon to your establishment, they may be more likely to visit. Make sure to offer both physical coupons and digital versions that are accessible online or through apps like Yelp.
- Giveaways and contests – Let’s face it, people will always pay attention to the prospect of free stuff. Whether it is a loyalty program that after 10 meals, they get something for free or a percentage taken off of their bill, or a social media contest where the best entry wins a gift card, your customers will want to participate.
- Online reservation services – Most people are familiar with OpenTable, which offers restaurant patrons the ability to make reservations online, but there are a myriad of options. Small businesses can choose from services like Yelp SeatMe, Freebookings, NoWait and Bookatable. Some of these services are free, while others have monthly subscription costs for more extended offerings. Whatever you choose, it will make it easier for your customers to make reservations.
- Email newsletters – Hiring someone to create a professional, creative newsletter will keep regulars up to date on your restaurant. Share current promotional deals, new menu items and links to your social media profiles. If you use an online reservation service, you can also include a link to that page so that users can easily make a reservation while your business is fresh in their minds.
- Collaborate with local companies – Supporting other small business will help you gain more publicity in your area. Attend other store openings, offer to cater a non-profits fundraiser and participate in local events. These are all excellent networking opportunities that will allow you to meet new customers and form relationships with other business owners.
These restaurant promotion ideas can help you elevate your business’s marketing, and in turn earn more revenue. Let us know in the comment section below which restaurant marketing ideas you’d like to try!
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.