How to Market your Restaurant in 2020
Marketing your restaurant is becoming increasingly more complicated – it is no longer as simple as printing an advertisement in a newspaper or food magazine – now we have the internet and a massive increase in competition. However, there are many different ways to market your restaurant correctly and stand out amongst competitors. We will discuss what each marketing method involves the advantages and disadvantages of each way.
First and foremost to marketing your restaurant is by building a unique brand. Once you have a strong brand that is tailored around your target audience you will have a good understanding of how to consistently market to them through promotions, social media engagement, and the restaurant’s website. For example, if your restaurant has a vegan-based menu – you will want to craft your marketing strategy around this, which can be done in a number of ways like utilizing a natural color scheme, stressing the importance of veganism on your blog page or by interacting with vegan influencers.
Professional food photography is a brilliant way to market your restaurant and create unique branding. The professional photographs that are taken can be used in a range of different ways on many different platforms – like social media posts, website content, print advertisements, etc. These photos will provide your restaurant with standout advertising content at high industry standards. Investing in professional food photography is wise, due to the range of purposes it can serve. An intriguing statistic to reflect the importance of food photography is that 10% of people will read information without an image, compared to a huge 65% of people who will read the information when it is paired with a relevant image.
WEBSITES FOR MARKETING YOUR RESTAURANT
In addition, your restaurant should have a fully functioning and well-designed website for marketing to potential customers. The website should have: an up to date menu, location, contact details, about the restaurant, professional photos of the food and staff, and a blog page. The layout and design of the website should reflect the target audience’s preferences and the restaurant’s vibe. So if you are a funky dessert restaurant, it would fit the audience’s preferences if the colour scheme should be bright and the design should be vibrant!
RESTAURANT BASED SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media engagement is arguably the most important way of marketing your restaurant in the digital age. On Instagram, #food has over 400 million posts and #foodporn has over 235 million posts! Posting pictures of your restaurant’s food on Instagram is a free and accessible way to promote your restaurant to all the foodies out there! Yet, you must be careful that your photos do not get lost in the crowd – you can do this by posting professional photographs that catch the attention of other users.
As well as showing off your restaurant’s delicious food – you should show off your wonderful staff who keep the place running. By posting pictures of your employees hard at work and smiling, it adds a personal and human touch to your restaurant. Friendly employees can be the highlight of many people’s restaurant experience, and can be a bonus point against your competition!
Another social media tactic you could try out to market your restaurant is to get in touch with social media influencers near you or who are visiting the local area. By sliding into their DM’s and offering a free meal or an extremely discounted meal, they are inclined to visit and post about their experience to their large following.
However, an issue with using social media engagement for a restaurant to use as a marketing technique is that it requires a lot of time and effort. Whilst the ‘free’ and ‘effective’ element of social media is very attractive, to build up an audience and influence will require a lot of time to build (results are not instant) and effort to reach out to customers and implement your branding onto the social media account.
NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) optimization must be completed for your restaurant so that potential customers do not have to search around for any of these key details. Looking around for NAP details can be frustrating and off-putting, so if it appears at the top of the page on a Google search – it will both gather in local customers or tourists and ensure their online experience is easy.
Another way to optimise Google’s business tools is by using a reservation system, which can either be a hyperlink to your reservation page on your website or one through Google. Especially during the times of COVID-19, people are more inclined to reserve a table before turning up, so they are guaranteed a time slot and not rejected. In fact, some restaurants have seen a 20% increase in online reservations with this quick tip! You can find some comparisons of reservation software here (external link – no affiliation to me)
USE REVIEWS TO MARKET
Online reviews are a prominent part of promoting your restaurant in 2020, approximately 64% of people look at reviews before deciding to go to a restaurant. Having an overwhelming amount of good reviews will set you miles ahead of your competitors. To build a large bank of reviews on Google, you can ask your customers to leave reviews after their meal or if that doesn’t seem to be working you can offer a discount to returning customers who leave a review.
An obvious problem of using online reviews as a marketing technique is that if a customer leaves a bad review, this could decrease the chances of someone coming to your restaurant and dampen the reputation of the restaurant. But, all is not destroyed if a dissatisfied customer posts a review, you can respond to their review in a way that suggests you are willing to learn and that you understand their problem.
RESTAURANT LOYALTY SCHEMES
Loyalty rewards are a very effective way of marketing your restaurant in 2020. Many successful and large brands participate in loyalty rewards like Starbucks, Cafe Nero, and Nandos. These rewards encourage returning customers and form brand loyalty. Additionally, loyal customers are bringing in a steady profit for your restaurant and will likely spread the good word of the restaurant to their family and friends – so keep them happy!
Email marketing is an essential marketing tool for any company and can be a very effective system for restaurants. Email marketing or newsletters can aid your restaurant in crafting a recognizable and unique brand, through this type of communication you can establish promotions and enforce brand loyalty. If you use this marketing method, you should target your primary audience rather than just sending out a general newsletter and hoping for the best.
However, a problem with email marketing is that it is very oversaturated due to the abundance of companies that utilize this method. So if you decide to use this marketing method, you must keep in mind that you are competing for the attention of the consumer with different restaurants and large company newsletters in their inbox.
LOCATION BASED MARKETING
It is highly likely that the majority of your customers are locals or tourists – so why would you advertise your restaurant to people hundreds of miles away? When marketing your restaurant, online advertisements can now give you the option to ‘geo-target’, so the adverts will reach the people living in the local area. Also, you can optimize local discovery through SEO, which can be arranged in a number of ways like taking advantage of the restaurant’s Google business profile, optimized NAP, and keywords regarding your local area in the information box on Google and the restaurant’s website. Of some variation of the phrase: “restaurants near me” is Googled 63.5 million times per month!
As we all know – COVID-19 has turned the world upside and changed operations for all businesses. Restaurants have only recently been able to open again, and as we continue to venture through the pandemic there are continued fears of restaurants closing again through local lockdowns. COVID-19 has changed the methods of marketing and the way restaurants will make profits this year.
A new way your restaurant can market and continue to make revenue during COVID-19 is by introducing online delivery of food. It will boost profits and encourage returning customers if your food is to a high standard. Furthermore, it will allow you to stand out against competitors if they have not started this service. There are many services you can use for food delivery like Uber Eats, Just Eat, Deliveroo, or even by hiring your own private delivery drivers.
Initially, marketing your restaurant in 2020 may seem like a complicated and tedious process – however, I hope this article has provided you with further options to explore so that you can boost your revenue and outshine your competitors! Remember – the key is professional food photography, social media, and to keep pleasing your loyal customers!
Let me know in the comments if any of these have worked well for you – if you’d like to discuss getting some professional food images to use for marketing your restaurant, then contact me today.