Getting a restaurant in front of hungry audiences is what every restaurant business owner should be aiming for at all times.
That is not always the case because restaurants can miss these opportunities due to inadequate or non-existent marketing. Restaurant marketing might sound like a niche term. Still, it is best for restaurants to reach new customers, stay in touch with them, and turn audiences into paying and regular customers through various marketing channels. These include their website, social media, email marketing, and other channels. Since you have put a lot of work into establishing your restaurant, we will explain the crucial marketing elements you should understand for successful restaurant marketing.
Define Your Brand
It isn't easy to market your restaurant if you do not establish a brand beforehand. Your brand will be the driver behind all your messaging and marketing strategies. All your marketing materials and channels should align with your brand and its messaging.
The brand you create will depend on the types of customers you wish to serve and how you would like these customers to perceive you. A great example is a sustainably focused restaurant that caters to people concerned about sustainability. Such a restaurant’s brand should focus on where the food comes from and how sustainable the process of getting it to the customers is.
Once you establish a brand, avoid any messaging that does not support what your brand stands for and how you want people to associate with it.
Claim Your Restaurant on Google
Google is the world's largest search engine, so it makes sense that your restaurant should have as much presence on the platform as possible. One way of doing so is ensuring your business is on Google My Business. Google My Business adds your restaurant to Google Maps and ensures people can find detailed information about it.
You can use your listing to display your hours, menu, website, and other information you want people to know about your business. If you do everything right, Google will prioritize your business on search result pages. Because this happens for people looking for a restaurant close to them, you can reach people in your locality looking for a place to eat.
Getting your restaurant listed on Google My Business also paves the way for creating targeted local ads, which can be very effective if targeted correctly.
Create a Marketing Budget
There is no successful marketing without funds to support these efforts. You need to have a marketing budget to see a positive impact on your marketing efforts.
Every restaurant is different and will have a different marketing strategy. This means where they allocate these funds will vary depending on their design and aims for your restaurant management. However, experts encourage businesses to focus on mobile and digital marketing, specifically Google My Business, social media, and search engine optimization.
There are two main ways restaurants establish an online presence: by creating a website and having a social media presence. A restaurant website allows people to find your business, view your menu, and know where your restaurant is located. A website is so important because over three-quarters of diners visit a restaurant’s website before deciding to dine there.
Just like restaurants are different, restaurant websites are also other. However, certain elements should be included in yours. To help you build a restaurant business that brings people to your establishment and turns potential customers into paying ones, Yelp has put together this guide to creating a restaurant website. It showcases everything you need to know, from the design to the content you need to add. Yelp makes it easy for people to find your business and leave reviews about it. On the other hand, Yelp restaurant gives restaurants an additional way to book guests while offering advice on running a successful restaurant business.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Before discussing social media, it is essential to talk about mobile optimization. Search volumes and mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop searches and volume several years ago. Businesses that do not optimize for mobile misses out on many companies.
The two optimizations you should aim for are user-friendliness and speed. Your website should be easy and intuitive to use on mobile; otherwise, people will leave. Your website should also be fast enough for the same reason. Additionally, Google considers these metrics when ranking sites; thus, you need to optimize your website for mobile to rank higher.
Get Active on Social Media
Every business should have a social media presence. The best platform for businesses is Meta because it makes it easy for people to find restaurants, leave reviews, and see your menus. It also makes it easy for people to contact your restaurant, find the necessary information, and even book tables. Social media is so important because it helps you establish a relationship with potential customers, making your restaurant memorable.
Invest in SEO
SEO is a crucial component of online discovery. Although technical, it ensures your website can be discovered if people search for specific phrases. There is so much traffic going to food and beverage searches that you would lose money by not investing in SEO.
Invest in High-Quality Photography
Imagery is a potent marketing tool on social media and online. The right photos evoke emotions in audiences, which is why you see high-end photography and videos on other restaurant websites and social media channels.
The photos you choose can make people say, “That looks delicious” or “That’s not appetizing.” Leverage the power of emotional evocation by using high-quality photographs and videos throughout your social media platforms and website.
Establish a Loyalty Program
Having the correct customer data can be crucial to your marketing efforts. It allows you to market to them better through channels like email marketing. A loyalty program will enable you to collect this data non-intrusively. You get insights on when customers frequent your website, what they like to eat, and how much they send. All of this is crucial targeting data that restaurants can take advantage of. Once you have all this data, put it to good use. The best service is targeted marketing through email, SMS, and social media. Depending on your brand, you can offer promo codes, coupons, and event announcements on new additions to your menu.
Tailor Your Email Frequency
While email remains one of the most effective marketing channels, it can get annoying if people receive too many emails. Most people find receiving promotional emails once a month to be the right frequency. You can provide people with different frequencies, such as weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, to see what works best. Also, give people the option of choosing a different frequency instead of unsubscribing to the promotional emails.
Marketing a restaurant is similar to selling other businesses but with some nuances. You will need to think differently as a restaurant owner and tailor your marketing, messaging, and content to your audience and type of restaurant. The abovementioned elements can be the key to your restaurant's marketing success.