Marketing Tactics for Restaurant Owners

There are a lot of moving pieces that go into running a successful restaurant. Health codes, liquor licenses, making sure to purchase the right amount of food and beverage so that you are not consistently running short or throwing away unused food, staffing, accounting, etc. You have a lot on your plate, pun intended. Your food needs to be delicious and you need to keep your customer happy. It seems like a simple task and exactly what you got into this business for, but this is no simple task. Another element of this, a really important one, is getting customers into the door so they can learn about how great you are!

We don’t know about your house, but at our house there is often the debate about what restaurant we should go to or order from. We may have trouble choosing between a few on our mind, but we definitely don’t want our partner to choose the wrong place. How can you better be top of mind and have that great reputation so that this decision becomes easier and you get more business as a result?

Whether you are a local restaurant or a chain you need to get people in the seats or ordering your food for to-go or delivery. What are some ideas to make this happen for your restaurant?

Social Media Tactics

By far, we have seen the most success when it comes to social media for our restaurant clients. With a few hundred dollars in we have seen $6000 + of direct food and beverage sales as a direct result of our targeted localized Facebook boosting. Can’t beat that kind of return, huh? That is not to mention the potential repeat business from those who didn’t know about your restaurant, but have now become fans of your yummy food and restaurant atmosphere. You don’t have to go crazy. Many times, I think people are overwhelmed with the sheer number of platforms and the differences between them. Are they, in fact, effective? We recommend starting small and smart. You do not need to be on every social media platform. If you spread yourself too thin you are not likely to keep up with regular content and this is not doing your business any favors. Pick a few platforms that make sense. Our vote would be Facebook and Instagram. You can always expand from there if you are seeing the results, but the truth is that you probably don’t need to.

Instagram is important because of its extreme current popularity and its potential to draw people in with pictures of your delicious food and drinks. You will find that your restaurant patrons will also snap pictures of their food and drinks and do some tagging for you, which is exactly what you want to encourage. Adding the right hashtag strategy to the mix and you are in for a winning recipe. Facebook boosting is currently one of the most effective (and cost effective) ways to do some targeting to drive traffic into your restaurant.

Creating the content and putting it out there in the right way is not where it ends. You need to make sure to monitor your socials to make adjustments and learn from the metrics you are gaining. Engagement and outreach is also an important part of the right social media strategy. Your potential customers will likely ask questions or make comments and expect answers. Don’t put in the effort and then skip this important extra step.

How’s your restaurant website?

These days a decent website is a non-negotiable. Your business website needs to be responsive and easy to digest on mobile, as most of your traffic will be on mobile (often 80+%). Responsive websites mean that your website is created to function properly regardless of the device that it is being viewed on. There are a variety of sizes of phones, but also tablets, laptops and desktop computers. We have all seen and been frustrated by sites that are 10+ years old where are we are trying to zoom in on our phones just to decipher a sea of text on an ancient website that can't scale to the devices and requirement of today. If you are going to go through the process of creating a site, do it the right way and make sure you are not turning people away with content they can’t read. The proper website development also ensures that your website will function well on all of the common browsers.

Keeping that in mind and customizing your website for your customer’s user experience will decrease the chance for frustration that will send people away annoyed and likely cause them to give up and head straight to your competitors. Visitors will want to see important contact information, menu options, hours of operation, latest specials and some pretty awesome pictures of some of your top menu items and restaurant interior. Those are just the basics required for a proper restaurant site. You could also consider adding a calendar that features special events and a plug-in for online ordering. These are just a few ideas to take your website to the next level.

Get Your Restaurant Listed

And when I say this, I mean as much as possible. The only exception to this are listings like the worst restaurant ever. Of course, no one wants that. Other than that, you want to be on Google, Manta, Foursquare, Yelp, Linked In, all the common GPS listings and so many more. The more times your restaurant has a profile and is listed on reputable business listing sites the better chances you have of being found. This is a lot of work, however. And if you change your business phone number or any information it requires a lot of updating. The right marketing team, like SDM will be able to make this process more seamless and help get your business found.

What else?

Depending on where you are at in the process, new restaurant about to open or a neighborhood favorite that has been open for decades, there are likely ways that you can spice things up and make changes that lead to growth for your business.

Other ideas to freshen up or kick start your marketing on the right track could include things like a striking menu design, strong and impactful restaurant logo or some killer photography of your delicious entrees or cocktails. I don’t know about you, but I tend to order items on the menu that have really great looking pictures, even if there is something else that I would typically order over that item. Great pictures give your customers an idea of what they can expect to arrive at their table and are helpful on your website, menu and socials. Looking for other ways to stand out?Think about ordering custom branded napkins, barware or signage. There are a lot of ways to affordably add that extra touch so that you can get your business noticed.

These are just a few of the ideas we use to help our restaurant clients achieve a successful launch or to supercharge growth and new business for restaurants that have been in business for a while. Need help with your restaurant marketing? Contact the team at Strategy Driven Marketing today to discuss your business goals.