From the boom of small businesses jumping on the latest food trends to the increase in food delivery, there’s no doubt that the restaurant and food industry is highly populated. People are always on the lookout for great quality and great food. But in such a congested space, it can be hard to stand out and cut a profit.
Here are five tried and tested restaurant marketing tips that can help increase your revenue.
Boost Profit with These 5 Restaurant Marketing Tips
1. Improve Your Google Presence
First things first, customers can only buy from you if they can find you. Optimize your searchability by setting up your restaurant’s Google My Business account and providing accurate information. The basics to keep updated are the restaurant’s name, address and location, phone number, photos, and website link.
This is crucial because when consumers search for a restaurant on Google, the Knowledge Graph provides the restaurant’s details in a sidebar. The Knowledge Graph takes a majority of its data from Google My Business, so having yours up to date will increase your chances of gaining prime real estate on the search engine.
Furthermore, there are approximately 6.2 million organic searches for the “restaurants near me” every month. Maintaining your correct restaurant address will help tap into the potential of your local market and make it easier for customers in your vicinity to find you. A Google Business account also allows you to add a link for “Reservations” so you can seamlessly take bookings from your Google profile. Some businesses see a significant increase in online reservations because of this strategy.
If you have a website or various social media pages, improve your SEO ranking so that you can appear on the first page of the search results. Optimize your website pages and content to fit local searches and get listed on credible business listings. Make sure to also have an updated and easy-to-view menu on your website and social media pages, as this is one of the main things that people look for when searching for restaurants.
Keep in mind that consumers typically search on mobile and desktop, which are smaller than a standard menu, so ensure that the menu design is readable on smaller devices.
2. Get Social
For restaurants, high-quality and enticing food photos are a powerful tool in any content arsenal. They grab attention in a split second, arouse the senses, and give consumers a peek at what you’re all about and what you have to offer. Curate your gallery and use appropriate hashtags on social media pages to help foodies find you. If your budget permits, you may consider hiring a professional food photographer to ensure top-notch lighting and styling. But many smartphones today can produce high-resolution photos that are more than good enough for social media.
Aside from posting about your food, you can also build your brand story by showing how things work behind the scenes. In the age of chatbots and automated systems, let customers know that real, wonderful, and hard-working people put love and effort into each dish. If your restaurant advocates for safe and organic produce, supports local farmers, or donates to a charity, share it on social media. Customers are more likely to come back if they feel a sense of affinity with your brand, or if they feel like their money is benefitting the greater good.
3. Reward Loyal Customers
While restaurants are always looking to gain new customers, remember to take care of your returning patrons. It’s easier to communicate and build relationships with them because you already have their initial buy-in. Loyalty programs can help incentivize your returning customers to keep coming back and spending more at your restaurant. You can keep things simple, like giving a free dish in their next visit if they achieve a minimum purchase requirement during their current visit.
You can also have a point system that allows customers to unlock benefits, such as free meal upgrades or cash discounts, after accumulating points. There are many ways to implement a loyalty program, so find a method that will appeal to your target market.
One of the good things about a loyalty program is, if planned and designed correctly, you can use it to collect vital customer information. Gaining insights into your patrons’ purchasing habits and preferences will enable you to serve them better and tailor your marketing efforts to resonate with them more. You can provide them with special promos such as birthday gift cards, hit them up with seasonal offerings, or send personalized coupons and discounts to entice them to come back.
4. Build Your Tribe
Customers like to feel valued, heard, and recognized by businesses they support. One way to let your customers know that their opinion and experience in your restaurant matters is by promoting user-generated content. If a customer tags you in a post about the great time they had at your restaurant or uses your business hashtag in a photo of your dish, ask for permission to repost on your page and credit them. It’s a win-win situation: Your customer will feel seen and valued (who doesn’t want to feel like a social influencer?), and you get good PR from a happy customer. If you want, you may even offer them a free treat during their next visit to encourage them to come back and become loyal patrons.
Gaining good reviews is also crucial, especially for small startups that need to get their names out there. As with most products, many customers depend on reviews to tell them whether a restaurant is worth their time and money. You might ask your customers to leave a review at the end of their meal or incentivize them to do so with a freebie.
Consider responding to reviews, both good and bad, to let customers know that you see and value their feedback. For positive reviews, leave a heartfelt thank you and invite them to return. For negative reviews, put your best foot forward by giving a genuine and action-oriented response — empathize with the consumer, acknowledge and apologize for the issue, and let them know you are taking tangible steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. This shows the reviewer, and potential customers that may be reading the reviews, that you value feedback.
5. Show Your Authenticity and Expertise
Develop an identity that resonates with your target market and build your brand around it — from your logo and interior design to your Instagram feed and website theme. Having a strong and unique brand identity will give customers an idea of who you are and what they can expect from you. Keeping it consistent across all platforms and marketing efforts will make it more likely for consumers to recognize and remember you.
If you’re playing in a niche space, you might consider positioning yourself as a pro in your field through content creation. A brand blog is a great way to share information that your customers are interested in. For example, a restaurant serving artisanal coffee might post blogs about the different types of coffee beans they use, how they vary in flavor, and where and how they are sourced.
Brand videos, on the other hand, are more experiential content. Customers are more inclined to buy after watching a brand video on social media. You can activate the senses with mouthwatering clips or let customers peek behind the scenes with a long-form video on your prep routine.
To elevate your business, contact True POS and get a free quote today.