What specific steps are you taking to grow your Restaurant?
Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’re confident that your restaurant is one of the best in your city or town. At some point, your customers have even praised you for making such a delicious meal.
You felt on top of the world.
But, you’re still stuck. Not knowing what to do to get more customers. You reasoned that too many restaurants are spring up in your city. And competition will grow even stronger.
Here’s the solution: You need to stand out in through effective marketing.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been running this awesome “spot” for few years, you can’t do without marketing.
You may not attract angel investors, but at whatever level you operate right now, you can boost your sales – in the same manner Pinocchio’s Italian Eatery increased their sales by 16.7%.
Focus on achieving consistent daily sales. Because that’ll determine your weekly average, then monthly, and more.
Having said that, here are the 10 simple restaurant marketing ideas that will work for you:
1. Engage local food bloggers
You can’t successfully promote your restaurant all by yourself. You need the help, audience, and expertise of other food bloggers.
These influential online entrepreneurs can promote your restaurant on social media networks and niche-specific discussion boards.
You may have heard stories about succeeding as a single body. It’s not entirely true. The local food bloggers of this internet-driven age understand what you’re trying to do, so they’ll go all out to help you.
Business is about relationships and team building rather than going solo. The overall victory seen on the outside can be broken down to individual input of a larger crowd.
So how do you engage local food bloggers?
Well, you can invite them to share their cooking tips with your website audience. You may even host an event and invite a handful local food bloggers as keynote speakers.
Most of these local food bloggers have built up a strong following on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They can help amplify your marketing efforts – and drive more customers to your restaurant.
2. Grow your email database
Are you building your email list?
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?
In case you’re not aware, it’s a fact that if you’re not capturing your website visitor’s personal information (e.g., email address, phone numbers, address), you’re not truly in business.
Sooner or later, you’re going to hit a deadend in your business.
As a restaurant owner/marketer, don’t be left out of this. Email marketing is not only for digital marketers, local businesses can take advantage of it, too.
However, when you pay attention and study your market, you can actually add more email and phone subscribers to your list – from those who are interested in foods and restaurant.
Building targeted list will produce better results for your restaurant business. Here are proven means to get it done effectively:
i). Collect phone: Often times, you would have people call-in to make reservations, ask questions about your menu, cuisines, services etc.
You may not be the one at the receiving end, but your restaurant staff or team member taking the calls should get the caller’s mobile phone number, or/and email.
ii). At the point of purchase: You can give a voucher or discount coupon to your customers who come to dine at your restaurant, on the condition they give their mobile phone/email.
Putting up a good creative show can equally help you add more targeted customers to your list. In this case, even timers to your restaurant will drop their mobile phone number/email, once they have derived a value from your event.
You can find out the opinion of the majority of your customers before moving on with your messaging.
With your targeted list, you can either use a bulk SMS or email autoresponder to send your customers special bonuses/freebies, especially during occasions of their birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc.
3. Build a tribe with your landing page
A tribe is simply a loyal group of customers who believe, trust, and will do anything to buy from you. Building a tribe takes time, and it’s better done with a landing page.
Restaurant owners are becoming aware of the need to build new landing page for their campaigns.
A landing page is your web page with a single purpose. When potential customers visit this page, it’s a good opportunity to get their opinions, feedbacks, emails, phone numbers, etc.
Getting it done the right way is the only way to get the right results. So, here are a few suggestions:
i). Let your landing page load within 2 seconds: The human attention span is 8 seconds. Consequently, you need to build landing pages that are insanely fast, on both desktop and mobile devices that your audience uses to access it.
ii). Set the tone you desire on your landing page: Make it clear what the landing page is for. If you’re giving early access to a new recipe or food club, then your page must be about nothing else.
4. Get active on social networks
Are you actively promoting your restaurant website and center on social media networks?
Michael Lukianoff, Fishbowl’s chief analytics officer told CNBC in an interview that “social media gives smaller, independent, and regional [brands] a level playing ground to get their message/voice out.”
In other words, you can’t compete successfully with other restaurants without a strong presence on social media.
There are so many social media platforms, (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+), but you’re not required to use all of them.
Through years of experience with restaurant businesses, I can boldly say that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest and the best – you should focus on them.
On the flip side, you don’t have to take my word for it. You need to find the social networks that suits your brand and stick to them.
This you can find out by clearly getting to know the kind of audience your brand serves, your industry, the social marketing technique that works best for you.
Above all, only share relevant information on these social channels. That’s the only way to differentiate your restaurant from others.
Your relevance can be looked at, from the quality of the content you share on those channels.
Use the resources available to you, to create beautiful content you so desire, in the forms of mobile apps, and source for useful information online.
Sharing useful and relevant information is important, but you share it matters, too.
For example, take a look at what Grubhub is doing. Among other things, they make you want to eat the food – just by the way the presented it on their website.
5. Have a functional, and professional website
You need a functional website to stay above the fold.
For you to be seen as an authority by your industry, your website must be designed to be practical and useful and professional.
Gladly, a Phoenix-based restaurant increased customer conversion by 70% after they designed a simple, but good-looking website.
In fact, when Gladly added a Notification Bar for Restaurant Week, to further engage the customers, it generated additional 374 clicks.
Your website doesn’t have to be sophisticated before it can attract local customers to your restaurant.
In marketing, being “relevant and clear” is alway better than trying to be clever and miss the essence.
On of the best ways to keep your restaurant website relevant and your value proposition clear is by producing helpful content.
To avoid messing around with html, CSS or PHP codes associated with dynamic websites, it’s advisable to start a WordPress blog on your restaurant website.
Let’s look at it briefly…
6. Start blogging about food
Blogging is a powerful sales driver. When you start blogging, you generate leads. And leads become customers when you nurture them.
In fact, blogging frequently can increase your leads generation by 89%.
If you want your food related content to be read, shared, and aid customers in making purchase decisions, you need to study your market – and understand the restaurant trends.
Making the decision to blog consistently isn’t easy. Here are few tips to supercharge your food blog:
a). Be original: Your audience will love you if your blog posts, articles, videos, and other multimedia content are unique.
b). User friendly design: Your blog design should make visitors want to stay. There shouldn’t be any difficulty with navigating on your blog.
Additionally, people should find it easy to comment, follow you on social networks directly from your restaurant blog, and share your content.
c). Go beyond publishing: It’s no longer enough to just write article and expect people to read it. When you publish your helpful content, promote it actively on social media networks.
d). Keep your blog open: Yes, don’t do it all by yourself. Get other food bloggers to write content for your blog – and share their expertise with your audience.
7. Engage in local SEO practice
Local SEO (search engine optimization) is basically the process of optimizing your local business (restaurant) website and blog posts rank highly in Google for keywords that your audience inputs into Google search.
In local search optimization, you want Google to rank your web pages primarily for keywords that have your city, town, or state. E.g., where to eat in Boston, top restaurants in Los Angeles.
You can make use of this checklist from Smallbiztrends. The simple step by step approach involves the following:
You may also ask your customers, friends, and family members what they usually type into Google search whenever they’re looking for a particular restaurant or meal plan.
Since you operate a real business, you also need to check your title tags, meta descriptions, and Name, address, and phone number (NAP) information.
As shown by the image below. The first ring of purple, is the title tag, and the second which is in black, the meta description.
ii). Optimize your website images: The way search engines see images is quite different from the way we do. In order to get your site images search friendly, you need to pay attention to your file name, title text, alt-text, and size.
You can use JPEGmini to optimize your images and convert into JPEG extenstion.
iii). Claim your restaurant in Google Places: It’s free. All you’ve to do is sign up at Google My Business.
iv). Improve your page authority: Before Google can confidently rank your content pages in their top results, you need to build links to those pages where you’ve published helpful content.
8. Integrate loyalty programs into foodie apps
Foodie apps are used on mobile phones. Examples are Tender, Off The Menu, Kitchenbowl, etc.
Considering the increased use of mobile devices, mobile phone users can now make some food decisions on the go now. Isn’t it awesome?
Sadly, if mobile users can’t access your restaurant or order a meal online, you can’t really get along with the competition.
However, for these foodie apps to truly bring your restaurant success, you need to incorporate loyalty programs.
Loyalty programs are special programs that restaurants and businesses use to build deeper connection with their customers.
You need an understanding of your customers, and what motivates them to visit a particular restaurant over another.
Use foodie apps to collect user behavior data from your potential restaurant customers. It’s expected that at the click of a button, your new and existing customers should be able to get the latest information about your restaurant, meal plans, recipes, and other benefits.
Using mobile apps to further engage your customers is a powerful marketing idea that’s proven to work. As an example, Jaspare’s Pizza generated over $117,000 with their restaurant app.
9.Make an irresistible ‘’special’’ offer to social fans
It’s high time you get creative with your offers.
Don’t just make “offers” that your competitors can flip over.
Make it special.
Special offer can be a discount , a coupon, or just sending food over to your customers who may have participated in your contest either on facebook, or other social media channels.
Here’s an example of a special offer from 56 North Bar & Restaurant.
Not only is it going to make more people/customers order from your restaurant, it’d also create a buzz that would make your audience wait for your next announced contest.
10. Collect and sort customer behavior data
Putting customer behavior data and sorting them is essential if you must increase daily orders. It helps you make better decisions – and ensures that your restaurant offers aligns with customer’s expectations.
What specific information should you focus on?
a). Personal info: This includes the customer’s full name, sex, age, location, and earnings. Of course, you can collect this information by studying a customer’s order history.
b). Personal disposition: This involves their attitude/behavior while they were using your restaurant’s product/service, as well as when they visit your restaurant.
It also involves the reason they would choose yours over another, what they hope to get from using your restaurant, etc.
When you’re armed with these vital data about your customers, you’ll most assuredly serve them well.