Here are 20 marketing ideas for restaurants and the food and drink industry. Marketing today has changed so much with everyone having such a greater online presence. If your restaurant has not taken a piece of the pie, you are truly missing out.
Some of these marketing ideas can be really simple but also very powerful! Implementing these restaurant marketing tactics are a sure-fire way to increase business, gain more awareness, and bring in more customers.
For starters, any time you are putting together a marketing plan, you need to understand the importance of market research. This will give you an inside look at who the target audience is, their buying behaviors, interests, demographics, etc.
Having a stunning website is key when visitors are looking for menus, hours, locations, etc. This is extremely important for small restaurant owners, including local businesses. The reason is, 74% of people who visit your website base use the design to determine your credibility. So if your website isn’t up to par, and if they have never dined with you before, they will probably find a different restaurant.
You can start a website by using Bluehost and WordPress! Here are some pros and cons of a DIY website versus a professional.
Your restaurant, cafe, brewery, whatever your business is, you have to have a Facebook business page set up. There are over 3 billion people on the platform, and most are regular users. Be sure you optimize the page for aesthetics, along with completing the about section.
The more you can put there the better! Be sure to post consistency. Not only for the sake of your audience, but Facebook’s algorithm is set to show your posts to people as long as you are active. The minimum amount you should be posting is 3x per week.
The food industry definitely has its place on Instagram. This platform is built for beautiful images. So what better way to get in front of your customers than showing them delicious food and drinks that will get them drooling!
Make sure your Instagram account is set up for business, post consistency, and target local hashtags so you can show up in the rankings.
Google My Business
Be sure you have all of the relevant details inside your Google My Business listing. This is very important for local businesses for both your customers and SEO. Local SEO is different from general SEO, here are some differences.
Be sure you are sending out emails for reviews or that your CRM has this built-in feature. Don’t be afraid to ask on your social media platforms for people to review their dining experience.
Yelp is also another platform that is pretty powerful in the restaurant industry. People can leave their reviews and photos. It’s best you optimized your profile with as many details you can, along with photos inside showcasing the dining areas.
Depending on your target market, snail mail still has its benefits. Most promotions sent out by mail offer coupons or discounts.
Maybe people do not want to come into the restaurant but they still want your delicious meals. Sign up with a delivery service such as Grub Hub, Door Dash, or Uber Eats. This ensures that your customers can still conveniently access you even if they don’t want to leave the house.
This is a great way to reach your audience and beyond. You can go into your ad manager and set parameters to reach people in certain zip codes, target demographics, or their interests. Running small campaigns can be really cheap. These are typically used to get more followers and likes. But you can also run discounts that do really well.
If your restaurant is more than that and falls into an experience category, Groupon is a great option to utilize. This is another good way to gain referrals because people always converse about the deals they find.
Running Google Ads can sometimes be expensive, but the ROI can be invaluable. Plus you only pay when people click. You always want to shoot to be ahead of your competitors. Do a quick search to see if they are running ads, if not this is the perfect opportunity.
This marketing strategy has the ability to geotarget, which is great for the local owner. People may search “takeout near me” or “half off appetizers” if you offer these services you want to show up in the Google search results.
Partnerships and Alliances
Local networking is so valuable, especially in smaller towns. Reach out to other business owners and build a strategy to benefit both of you. If you offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner you could partner with a brewery or bakery.
You could also network with attractions. Say there’s a mini-golf nearby, each of you could offer discounts or coupons for the other business.
Build your email list! That means these are your people. They trust you enough to give out their personal email, so make it worth their while. Email them for holidays, menu changes, specials, promotions, etc.
Host a contest on social media. This could be a like and share your page type thing, or you could do fun things like Never Have I Ever – Restaurant Edition or One Has To Go. Then you would use a random name generator for the winner!
People love free stuff, as a restaurant owner, you know this! So hosting a giveaway for meals from the restaurant, a local basket filled with all kinds of stuff, or gift cards are all great ideas. The point is to get your name out, get people sharing your pages to build your brand awareness.
You want to reward your loyal foodies, so try to add in some sort of punch card system or even an app where they don’t have to keep up with paper documents.
Add a Blog Section to Your Website
While many of your customers may not even read this section on your website, it helps with SEO. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about getting your site to rank #1 on Google for the keywords you are targeting.
If you are DIYing this scenario, or want to write your own blogs, try using a research tool such as Keysearch. If you write things that people aren’t searching for, you are just wasting time. Keysearch gives you the ability to see what people are searching for, a birds-eye view of what competitors are ranking for, and suggestions for other keywords.
Respond to Reviews Even If They Are Negative
Anytime someone leaves you a review you need to respond. If they are positive reviews, thank your customers and acknowledge them. If they are negative, find a way to smooth it over so potential customers don’t get a bad vibe.
Become a Member of Your Chamber Of Commerce
You’ve heard the saying, “It’s about who you know”. As a member of your Chamber of Commerce, they highlight local businesses and you can also connect with other entrepreneurs. This is a great spotlight and they often promote your business on social media, in newspapers, and at local events.
It’s a proven statistic that people love when they support someone who is giving back. Partner up with local charities to do some good in your community. Be sure to take photos to post in the restaurant, on social media, and your website.
Incorporating a text messaging system is another good way to stay in touch with your customers, giving them updates on their orders, sending out coupons, and being able to send them a link so its convenient to leave reviews.
Why Is Marketing Important For A Restaurant?
Marketing keeps you connected to your regular customers and gives you the ability to reach potential customers that otherwise may never hear about you! When thinking of marketing ideas for your restaurants, it’s important to get a feel of what will work for you. What’s works in big cities may not work in small towns, and vice versa.
Maybe you are already using some of these marketing ideas for restaurants. If so, carefully review your vendors to maximize your ROI. If you arent using these, start implementing these techniques to get in front of your local foodies and show them whos the best restaurant in town!