Running a restaurant is really not an easy task to handle. And besides all that hustle and bustle of the restaurant operations, the restaurant marketing strategies also come out to be a major aspect for a restaurant’s success. Plus, marketing of a restaurant with the RIGHT combination of trends and strategies stands second to none in making a business successful.
Now, with the holiday season on our heads with 2018 almost on the verge of ending, it’s the time to take a stock of 2018 and gear up to make 2019 the best year for your restaurant business.
Any business owner for that matter would aim higher in terms of business growth on the approach of a new year. Same’s the case with you, isn’t it? So pull up your socks with determination and get started with the right restaurant promotion for your business.
Here we’ve listed down 8 out of the 15 best restaurant marketing ideas based on our knowledge and expertise. To make it easier for you to understand these in-depth and implement these one-by-one, we’ve divided this into two parts. Let’s take a look at them:
Best restaurant marketing strategies for 2019
1. Research and analysis
A proper analysis of the past and present is the first step for devising a long-term strategy in any business. So it is very essential to have a good and thorough analysis of the current situation of your restaurant. On that note, to have the best marketing plan for your restaurant in 2019, you need to have a detailed chronicle of 2018. You need to analyze which different marketing plans were exercised during the year, how effective they were, how many sales they generated, which were your peak and weak seasons and a lot more.
Now you’d need to perform 2 major kinds of analysis in this case:
Well, you must’ve surely heard about this saying often:
Keep your friend close and enemy closer.
Having said that, when you are forming marketing strategies for the next grand success, you cannot overlook how your competitors are doing. You need to find out what different marketing strategies they are implementing for increasing their sales and what’s making their customers come to them. If they are doing better, you can learn what to do. If you’re doing better, then you learn about what not to do.
Figure out what the type of guests and the purpose for which your guests visit your restaurant. Are they youngsters, or families or corporates and so. Do your guests host parties, corporate meetings, or family gatherings at your eatery? Try to find and list some more attributes of your guests such as their attitudes and expectations. Get a hold of cuisines or dishes that are preferred over others among your guests. You have a lot of data lying around you. USE THAT.
2. Get your restaurant a dedicated website
Many restaurateurs don’t consider website important enough. And why would they? Because they’re already getting enough customers and their restaurant is already famous in the city. But here’s where they are missing out an important part. It’s not just about getting customers or being famous, but you also have to ensure that you at least stay put against the hundreds of competitors emerging every day.
In this tech-driven space, no business can refrain from having an online presence. You won’t realize the impact of having a website for your restaurant unless you experience it yourself. For an instance, if any of your guests recommend your restaurant to his friends or family, their very first step would be to look for your website.
Actually, 89% of consumers research for a restaurant online prior to dining.
So if you don’t have a website for your restaurant, then it’s really uncertain whether he’ll visit you or not.
Through your website, you can provide the basic information your customers may need to know such as hours of operation, directions, cuisines you offer, payment methods and more. By answering these basic questions, you can decrease the amount of time your managers and staff need to spend answering phone calls. Show the best of your restaurant on your website. Add those amazing pictures of your restaurant signature dishes. Thus often neglected- but having a website is indeed one of the beneficial restaurant marketing strategies. You can also keep customers aware of any promotions, such as special festive menus, lunch deals or combo packs and even happy hours (if you’re not setting up such dynamic menus at your restaurant, then now’s a right time to do that using a restaurant POS software.)
3. Social media
When in Rome do what Romans do. Quite similar to that, when we’re approaching towards the digital-era it is necessary to walk hand-in-hand with the latest trends, especially when it comes to restaurant promotion. So, while planning your restaurant marketing strategies, social media can NEVER be left out.
Just FYI, you may not be a part of this mass media, but your guests definitely are.
So, here’s how you effectively perform social media marketing for your restaurant:
A platform with more than 2.25 billion users can make great wonders for your restaurant. Create your restaurant business page and get started by posting regularly. You can post some high-resolution pictures of your food with some catchy and mouth-watering description that induces your followers to visit your restaurant. As the users trust the brand with more followers (Believe me, it works like a magic).
Check out how one of our clients, Tokyo Diner in the United Kingdom have set up their Facebook page:
Set some budget aside for Facebook Ads as well. These paid ads are capable to get substantial traffic to your website and followers to your Facebook business profile.
These days, Instagram is second most cherished social media after Facebook. The food gets uploaded to Instagram first and then to the belly (#foodporn). Thus it can turn out to be a big profit center and an amazing restaurant marketing idea. Similar to Facebook, set up an Instagram business profile and start engaging with your guest. Take your guest engagement a level up with contests such as post an interesting picture where you ask your followers to “caption this”, ask customers to name a new dish.
Get more visible through hashtags. Find the hashtags that will work the best for you. Don’t merely add the trending hashtags to gain views. Instead, you can add hashtags connected to your area. For an example: #nyfood and so. You can also create a hashtag of your restaurant any signature dish or drink and make it trending by using it every post.
Give equal importance to videos. For example a slow-mo video of your chef kneading a pizza dough, or your lasagne being baked in the oven, or any of your signature dish being garnished by parsley. Happy Instagramming 😉
Lastly, don’t just create a business profile; stay active in initial days and drop it dead for an entire year. Keep the engagement consistent by sharing the content regularly. You can hire a social media expert too. These restaurant marketing trends may take some time to come into full throttle, but they’ll yield you long-term benefits. Check out more ideas on social media marketing for restaurants here.
Get listed on food ordering portals
Gone are those days when the guest has to come to you reluctantly to eat your gourmet food. Get ready to serve your customers at their favorite place- their doorstep. The online food delivering companies like UberEats, Swiggy, Zomato, Foodpanda, and such likes have brought the convenience of having our desired food at our front door.
That’s why connecting or listing your restaurant on these online food delivery portals will help you get a gleaming online presence. You become open to accepting and catering to all your online orders in real-time and even and reach to a wider clientele. Thus these food delivery companies shower you with milk and honey, making them the most effective restaurant marketing idea these days.
Promotions – running effective promotions is one of the certified restaurant marketing strategies to increase sales and business. You must be running promotions in past years too, but try giving them a makeover this year. Do continue running promotions on festivals and special days, if you found them fruitful. Also, try your hands on some new promotions on unusual days such as Columbus Day or Veteran Day. You can even make your own days, for instance – today my restaurant celebrates a vegan day – get a 20% off on all the vegan food.
Set some really interesting and easy-to-attract promotions that will actually bring the visitors back to your restaurant. For example: Get 10% off on Sushi at your second visit. Get fries for free at your fifth visit and..you get the idea, don’t you?
Check out how one of our clients Mister Baker in Dubai is celebrating versatile days:
Regain your loyal customers
Loyalty programs: A traditional but always a profit-making restaurant marketing idea. These programs in restaurants include offering memberships to guests, and in turn presenting them with exciting food coupons, discounts and reward points when they re-visit your restaurant. The reason why you should include loyalty programs in your restaurant marketing strategies for 2019 is – they increase your brand value, repeat customers and eventually your restaurant business too.
The repeat customers account for as much as 15% of your total customer base, but that 15% totals about 1/3 of your entire revenue.
Besides, it works best for filling the slow periods in restaurants. While heading towards the tech-era, you cannot stay adamant to authentic physical loyalty cards. Go cashless with digital loyalty membership cards.
If managing your loyalty programs is a major concern for you then you can go with any restaurant loyalty program software.
Festivals and events
The food festivals and events are an excellent podium for the restaurant to showcase the best they’ve got. Getting along with food festivals is an ideal way to connect with your customers and market your brand. Some famous food festivals like the Gourmet High street or Bacon festival or Pizza fest receives enormous crowds.
Participating in such events will bestow your restaurant with a golden opportunity to showcase your delicacies and attract more customers. You can connect to a wide potential audience personally and thus create a word of mouth marketing. And you know already nothing is better than you being on the grapevine.
The most important advent of getting along with these events is you can collect more customer data and feedback too.
One of the compelling restaurant marketing strategies today is to attract the crowd with the help of social media influencers aka food bloggers. An influencer is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. They have a large fan following and can persuade their audience through their words and recommendations.
It’s really easy to contact and approach them through their email on their social media handle. Partner with writers who have popularity as local bloggers and provide them incentives like discounted food or drinks to show appreciation for their effort.
In case if you’re planning to introduce a new dish or reviving your restaurant’s ambiance then it is the best time to invite an influencer. These food bloggers don’t only write mere about the food, they tend to write and share their thorough experience with your restaurant. Their audience trusts what they say and thus they can substantially increase your website reach and customers too.
Take a note of these restaurant marketing strategies and start planning on implementing them to achieve the best results out of these restaurant promotion ideas for your eatery.
The best is yet to come
Well, this is just the first half of the ultimate guide to hit the home run in 2019. Other interesting restaurant marketing strategies are coming to your way soon. Stay tuned to get fully familiar with how to promote your restaurant and be good at it in 2019.