• Hailee Harris

Marketing for Restaurants

In our ever expanding social presence, checking the web for recommended restaurants has never been easier. That being said, getting your restaurant on the map is crucial from a marketing standpoint. While there are more tangible ways to market your restaurant, such as with billboards and flyers, our technological society relies on social platforms to find tasty places to eat.

Do Restaurants Really Need to Market?

The short and obvious answer is, yes. As a restaurant business, it is essential to market your goods, AKA the food, the good vibes, and your mission as a restaurant to the community! The restaurant business is also very cut throat competition with a 60% average failure rate. In our society today, it is no longer only about good food but also the atmosphere, trendy dishes, photo opportunities, and more. Thus, having a top notch marketing plan is very important to the success of a restaurant.

Social Media Strategies

Utilizing the overused social media platforms is the easiest and most cost efficient way to market a restaurant. Having a social media account for your restaurant on every platform ensures you are reaching a larger audience. Instagram and Facebook are key when it comes to showing off photographs of dishes served at your restaurant. We all love a good visual of what we will be munching on, as well as that trendy spot for photos located at your restaurant! Better yet, Instagram and Facebook offer simple promotions for your photos and account to get more traffic on your page. It is as easy as creating a business profile, and promoting a photo or your account through your profile settings!

Another great way to utilize social media is to reach out to bloggers and influencers, such as local food influencers to hype up the food and the atmosphere of your place! You can give them free meals or coupons for their efforts.

Getting A Great Website

Setting up a good looking website for your restaurant is key. If you are starting from scratch, sites like Wix.com and WordPress allow you to easily create landing pages for your restaurant. Having keywords on your website, such as the type of food your restaurant serves and it’s location, can result in higher ranking on the search results page. The most important part of your website is to feature your menu and showcase images of those tasty treats. I think we can all agree that we tend to feed our eyes first. If it looks great, it probably tastes great too! Having images available with your menu easily shows your guest what they will be eating. Additionally, you can easily incorporate third party sites like Open Table and Tock to allow your guests to make a reservation.

Be Discoverable On Other Sites

Never leave out your page on Yelp, Google My Business, or TripAdvisor. Be aware of your restaurant's presence online and the reviews. If you get a negative review, reply to the customer and make it right by offering a free appetizer or coupon! Also make sure to acknowledge those great reviews too. When someone searches your restaurant, be sure that you show up right away with Google My Business. This site allows customers to easily find your restaurant's address, phone number, and website! Additionally, you can add reservation services to your pagemaking it one less step for the customer.

Google My Business

Google My Business is likely your best way to get found online when someone searches for restaurants nearby or your restaurant directly. The set up is easy and rewarding. First off, know that Google My Business works with the Google Maps information, so upon signing for Google My Business, you will be directed to Google Maps to claim your business. Then, you must verify your business to be all set to go with your new account. Besides supplying necessary information for your business operation, Google My Business allows you to interact directly with your customers. You can answer questions and reply to reviews within your account.

Here's a plus: Google My Business works with SEO keywords. By putting keywords in your business profile, just like in your website, can result in higher ranking in the search results. Google’s algorithm for ranking business pages all stems from interaction and information. The more complete your profile is, the more likely you are to show up. Also, Google keeps track of how much the owner of the page interacts and updates it. By communicating with your customers and frequently adding new information and pictures, you are again strengthening your chance to rank on the result page.

Loyalty Programs

One way to keep your customers coming back and creating a great incentive for new customers is a loyalty program. You can easily advertise your perks on your website and social media to let your customers know what they can earn by being a loyal customer. One of the simplest ways to do this is through email marketing. Sending personalized emails to your customers, that sign up, shows them that you care! You can offer them birthday treats and discounts, or even implement a system similar to Starbucks Star Rewards, where they can earn points for how much they spendsaving them money. For a more in-person way to email market, punch cards work great as well and really succeed in small to-go places like coffee shops.

Email Marketing

I think we are all guilty of reluctantly filling in the email form at stores or restaurants because we feel bad saying no. Or if you're bold, you just say no anyway. Regardless, getting your customers to sign up for email newsletters is going to be a bit challenging. One way to do this is to simply offer incentives and loyalty points with their email, just like I mentioned above! By having your customer add their email at checkout or online, you can send them loyalty points, and since you have their email, you can also send them newsletters. Your customers will never miss the next event at your restaurant!

COVID-19 Marketing

We all know the past 9 months have been tough on all businesses, especially restaurants. Ensure your customers that your restaurant is staying up to date on COVID protocols and safety measures. To increase business, it is also an option to partner with food delivering services like Uber Eats and GrubHub. Make your food more accessible to those loyal customers who are trying to stay safe!

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