Restaurant marketing is no small fry in the hospitality industry. Thousands of new restauranteurs fail before they’ve even begun because they launch their business on a ‘build it and they will come’ model, when in fact, they won’t come if they don’t know you’re there.
Marketing your restaurant is the secret sauce to driving footfall and, ultimately, increasing revenue. ‘But what exactly is the magic recipe for effective marketing for my restaurant?’ today we’re going to find out and help you explore the places to start in the world of restaurant marketing.
What does your menu look like? Is it the most beautifully designed thing you’ve ever made? If not, it should be. A lot of restaurant owners skip straight over their menu design because they see it as a purely practical thing. They think ‘this is how my customers decide what to order’ when you should be thinking ‘This is how my customers decide IF they’ll order”.
No customer is guaranteed, and everything down to your menu should be designed and done with that understanding. Marketing is about getting more customers and getting the customers you have to spend more, and competition is ever growing, so we can’t just assume at any point we’ve won the customer over, at any time they could put the menu down, in person or digitally, walk out and go somewhere else, so we need to be continually working to edge the customer towards picking us. The menu is the first step to that.
When potential customers see your menu, does it make them want to order? Is it just a practical list of food you offer, or is it a well designed description of the experience they’ll have with each dish? This is important, and you’ll lose customers if your menu isn’t performing at it’s very best. People eat with their eyes and their feelings, so you need to make sure each description is painting an irresistible mental picture.
Social media seems like it should be the go-to marketing channel for restaurants. Location based services, easily built-in advertising if you want it, the place where word of mouth happens in the modern age, direct integrations with ordering and delivery apps, designed to help businesses spread the word to people, direct messaging from your customers to you, why wouldn’t you be there?
But despite that, a huge amount of restaurants don’t really try with their social media. They make an account, probably a Facebook, maybe an Instagram, and then they post 4 times a year and call it good.
The truth is that social media is the cheapest, easiest way to get word of mouth spreading and to understand what your customer wants. It’s a place to post and advertise your meals sure, but it’s also about creating a community. By answering comments, responding to messages and listening to your reviews, you can easily figure out what your customers like and dislike and optimise from there, both in your social media, your food and your business.
When it comes to managing your social media, we think you should use a tool built for the restaurant owner like you, we think you should use Dinabite, our restaurant marketing tool made by restaurant owners for restaurant owners, which lets you post to all your social medias at once, uses AI to help you write the best posts that get the most customers, respond to messages from them all, respond to reviews from multiple review sites, view your analytics and performance across the board and a ton more. Get started with Dinabite today.
Local SEO is about your social medias, GMB listing, website, delivery platforms and everywhere else that you’re online being the first thing to show up on search engines when people are searching for it. If someone googles ‘restaurants near me’ then you have a hungry audience ready to buy and just looking for a place to give their money. If you’re not at the top of the listings when they do? They’ll give their money to someone else.
Make sure your website and social medias are optimised for your area by making mention through posts, words, pictures and hashtags about where you are, make sure you have the best reviews possible and that every review has a response. If you keep this up consistently, you’ll move up the rankings and see more customers for free as a result.
The internet is the new town square. When people want to share their opinions on a restaurant or business, they don’t just do it in person, they do it online. Over half of all people check reviews online before ordering from a restaurant they haven’t eaten at before. If you don’t have good reviews or just don’t have enough in the first place? They’ll go elsewhere.
Start by getting customers to write reviews, have QR codes on tables asking them to leave a review on Facebook, Google or Tripadvisor. Post on your social media’s asking them to leave reviews, speak to customers and say how much a review would help. It’s easy to get your customers to review if they know that’s something you want them to do.
Then, when you get reviews, respond to them! If the review is good, thank them and tell them how much you appreciate their support, if the review is bad, respond as well, apologise for the issues and make it clear what steps you’ve taken to correct it, invite them back to see the problem has now been fixed/changed. This kind of action is the thing that creates dedicated customers who know that you understand their needs and are willing to meet them.
Collecting good social proof is critical to a business and having high quality reviews on multiple review apps and social media platforms is the best way to do this. Dinabite lets you manage your Facebook and Google reviews as well as your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google My Business and Uber Eats account all in one easy app.
What is the most effective restaurant marketing strategy?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this. It depends on your restaurant, its location, and your customer base. A combination of online and offline strategies, tailored to your unique circumstances, is typically the most effective approach.
How can I improve my restaurant’s online presence?
Local SEO, a user-friendly website, active social media profiles, and encouraging online reviews can all boost your restaurant’s online presence.
How can I attract more customers to my restaurant?
Exceptional food and service are a must. Beyond that, effective marketing can help attract more customers. This includes everything from a well-designed menu and engaging social media content to local SEO strategies.
How can I get my restaurant to rank higher in search results?
SEO, especially local SEO, is the key to ranking higher in search results. This includes keyword optimisation, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, and maintaining consistent, accurate online listings.
How important are customer reviews in restaurant marketing?
Extremely important. Reviews can significantly impact a potential customer’s decision-making process. Encouraging and responding to reviews should be a key part of your marketing strategy.
What role does social media play in restaurant marketing?
Social media is an effective platform for engaging with your customers, showcasing your food and drink, and enhancing your restaurant’s overall brand. It’s also a great way to reach potential customers and drive traffic to your website.
There’s no one size fit’s all solution to restaurant marketing, it’s about making use of multiple channels, being active on social media, responsive to your reviews, engaging with your customers and appearing the best you can be whenever people are looking for you. If you start implementing these steps together, you’ll become a business people want to know about and attract and retain more customers as a result.
If you’re looking for more advice on restaurant marketing, you should download our free Ultimate Guide to DIY Marketing for Restaurant Owners, which covers everything you need to start bringing more people into your restaurant and making more money.