Proven Restaurant Marketing Tips from Marketing Experts
Wondering how to grow your restaurant business? Stop thinking so much. That’s our business! Here at Boomer Marketing, we constantly work on finding ways to help small businesses grow both online and offline.
Here are some of the best marketing practices to boost your restaurant sales.
Having an Online presence has become the need of the hour in this digital age. Most users search for products and services online, even local services, before they purchase anything. People turn to various site like Google Maps, Yelp, Foursquare, Tripadvisor, Zomato etc., to book a reservation or check restaurant reviews and to know more about your restaurant.
So, if your business isn’t on these sites, you are missing out on customers.
Listing your restaurant business only takes minutes and it is free. Don’t just list your business there: spend some time responding to customers' queries, say thank you for reviews and deal positively with negative reviews. Remember, reviews can make or break your business. So, tread carefully!
So, now, your business is on local listings. Great! But that’s not all. These sites alone are not going to help you grow. People believe there is more authenticity in restaurants which have a business website.
"Why an Online Presence?", you ask. Well, when you have a website, you're conveying a message to your customers, the message being that they can trust you and that you and your business have nothing to hide from them. This goes a long way in building customer relations and helps with marketing.
A functional and updated website provides over the edge opportunities for reservations to be made.
That said, we don’t mean you should spend hundreds of dollars on building and maintaining websites. No, it’s not that. Just build a simple website which has:
1. A neat and beautiful Landing Page which gives a glimpse of your business, in brief.
2. An About Page which helps users in understanding your business and what it's about.
3. A Menu page where customers can find your new recipes, specialities and an option to order online in case you provide home delivery.
4. A Gallery page to showcase your restaurant design, interiors, food and drinks, customers and any other image related to your restaurant.
5. A Blog which you can use to share various updates, new techniques or any useful information with customers.
6. A Contact Us page with a map and contact details, which helps users to reach your restaurant or to leave a personal message.
7. Last but not the least, a Feedback or Review Page, where customers can leave a review about your business, which new customers may refer to before making a reservation.
I personally recommend using a free website builder app like the Boomer Marketing App to build and operate a website from your mobile rather than spending a lot of money and time. The app is a total life saver!!
Advance Payment Methods
Smooth and effective payment systems really affect restaurant businesses. Customers no longer need to carry wallets when they visit a restaurant. Making the Payment is the final stage of your business with any customer and it really shapes opinions toward your business. If your customers find it difficult to pay you, you lose some valuable points.
Use updated payment methods like cards, mobile wallets, etc. Having advanced payment methods like POS, Online Payments, PayPal can be a growth hack for your business. Studies show that restaurants with advanced payments methods like PayPal, Online Payments and POS increase their sales up to 54%.
In the end, consider implementing payment methods which your customers use, because implementing payment methods which your customers don’t use is only going to increase your cost. We don't mean ask each and every customer which payment gateway they prefer. No, we mean choose the most globally trusted and certified gateway.
Stephen Fin, a seafood restaurant owner in LA, says that on an average, he gets 5 customers from Yelp and 3 more customers from Google My Business. And, he is always happy to share how he does this.
“I started spending 30 to 45 minutes reading and responding to users' feedback and reviews on Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor and Google. And it made a difference. I now spend more than 2 hours replying to users on various mediums online.”
Make it a point to reply when you get a review or feedback, good or bad. Reply in a positive tone with the primary aim in mind being to understand your customer’s concern.
Most customers just need an answer. They want to know that they have been heard. 75% of escalated issues are about customer complaints not being heard. They may escalate an issue on social media if they feel like no one is listening to them. This could make things worse.
Remember, your goal is to make customers love your services. Don’t hesitate to take responsibility for a mistake. Always begin by apologizing for their bad experience, find out what exactly happened and then make it up to them.
Local listing and review sites like Yelp, Foursquare, Tripadvisor, Zomato can do wonders for your business. A good review and clear information can get customers to your restaurant.
Two bullet points: good reviews and clear information.
Customer interactions go a long way in gaining the trust of customers, and good customer interactions leave a mark.
Heard this one too many times? We understand you. But in this digital age, it is essential that your business should have a seat for social media at the digital marketing table.
Creating accounts and pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram alone is not going to help you in growing your restaurant business.
What can you do?
Optimize your Business Account page.
Create a neat and simple cover page image. This is your 851× 351 pixel hoarding that is going to market your restaurant around the clock.
Provide a call to action button “Call Now, Message, Use this app (if you have a app)”.
Talk to your customers and potential customers. Join discussions on groups and forums.
Share posts about upcoming events, updates, newsletters, products and much more.
Socializing helps get the word out about your restaurant and helps build your reputation.
What to share on Social Media?
You will be killing your reputation online if you only post about your restaurant and offers. This is social media, where people share good and creative content. Share good and interesting posts, images and videos from others.
As a restaurant business, you could share lots of images about food, various recipes, food festivals, details about food meetups in your locality. Share information about health tips, healthy food, fitness techniques and a lot more.
Sharing videos about food and health and how your restaurant handles those two topics can take your restaurant to more customers.
Retweet trending tweets on twitter about food, restaurants and health concerns. It’s okay to share a piece of breaking news.
Irrelevant posts on your social accounts confuses users who are trying to understand your focus and this turns into a red card for you. Never forget to thank a follower. Sharing special offers with potential customers is a two-way beneficial marketing strategy.
LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest
If your restaurant is in the metro areas, you must invest some time on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking site generating quality leads. Not to forget, even if your business is in small towns, LinkedIn can spread its reach.
This might be astonishing, but it's undeniably true: Chriss Villers, a restaurant owner in Chicago, says that he saw a continuous rise in sales from the day he started posting pictures on Instagram.
“They (the customers) loved our work. Now we hired a guy to focus on social media”, says Chriss.
Pinterest drives a lot of crowd, too. But you can only turn them into customers when you invest more time on pinning, repinning and interacting with people and groups on Pinterest.
“Images marketing” is what digital marketers called these techniques. So, brush up your camera skills, click interesting and attractive pictures and grow your business.
Be the first one to join hands with local communities. Is there a holiday trip your customers would be interested in? Reach out to that travel agency, contact that trip manager, collaborate with that agency and offer your customer a discount. This marketing tip might boost trip attendees. And not just that, it will also help your guests think about your restaurant brand in mind.
Give people a glimpse of the inner side of your restaurant.
Share a picture showing how a popular dish is prepared inside your restaurant.
Show them how neatly and hygienically everything is prepared. Show them how you care for their health.
Share a picture of how you connect with farmers and local suppliers.
Show them that you support them.
This way, your customers feel that you are a part of their community.
Find a local cause to campaign for. Join hands with Communities. Partner with NGOs and other social and chartiable organisations. Run ads on Social Causes to make a change.
Creating exclusive offers, special discounts and sharing them on social media can make a difference for sure. But don’t stop there. Partnering with local food or restaurant aggregators, delivery companies is a point to be added in restaurant marketing.
Discounts and Loyalty Programs have been a proven marketing technique of increasing restaurant walk-ins. Providing offers throughout the week is another interesting way to reach out to more customers. This helps customers avail offers on any given day.
“When people can’t come to your restaurant, take your restaurant to them”! Starting a food truck, with a beautiful design and an exciting menu, not only helps in branding but also extends your reach to more customers. An added advantage is that you get more press coverage and a larger fan base across various locations.
Starting a blog for your business is a great way to build your customers base. Apart from marketing your business, blogs help you to understand your customers' voice.
You don’t need to brainstorm to write a blog. Share things that you feel can benefit or engage customers. You can share your success story, struggles, funny stories, trending topics, recipes - anything than can benefit your customers or add value.
Don’t make it complex. Keep it simple.
As a restaurant owner, you might find it difficult to grow your online reputation and reach. The best way to break this box is through guest blogging. Reach out to famous bloggers, websites or any influential people who have a direct or indirect connection with your business. Appreciate them for their work and enquire if they can share a piece on your restaurant with their readers.
Bullet point: This is not purely for marketing. It is to build relationships.
People love to hear that they are eating food prepared from local sources.
When you buy local, you are not just buying something but you are supporting a community and most importantly you are supporting the dream of local people.
So, the bottom line is it’s about building relations. Listen to them and understand their voices. Build relations.
What do you think? You got the latest restaurant marketing practices, right? Now, start working on your mission and grow your business.
And if you find any hacks that can help in growing businesses, please don't hesitate to share!