Manual Restaurant Marketing Tips & Strategies

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To help you navigate this new marketing reality we put together an up to date list of 30 restaurant marketing strategies and tactics. Unlike the majority of the posts on restaurant marketing currently at the top of Google, this one gives you up to date ideas and information for your next promotional initiative! Are you still obsessing over your Yelp reviews? The reality is that Yelp is becoming increasingly irrelevant as Google dominates online food searches more and more.

In fact Google's domination of local restaurant discovery was one of Skift's megatrends. Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already have a Google Business account which shows your location, some pictures, website link etc etc. For restaurants this is Google Business Once you've done this, and started taking advantage of Google's Open Graph and local discovery, you want to start thinking about how GMB start bringing in more revenue.


One of the ways of doing this is by taking reservations directly from your GMB page. Google now gives you the option to add a link in a field called 'reservations' that adds a link to your website or reservation system on your profile. This link gives you a frictionless way for people to place a reservation with you from your Google profile. Almost all articles about restaurant marketing suggest sending an 'email newsletter' as a way to get more customers.

But as email marketing is used by pretty much every company under the sun, just sending sending out a general email once a month will usually have no impact. Email is still a great marketing channel if you know how to use it - just remember you are competing with almost all of the biggest brands in the world for attention in people's inboxes. So how do stand out from the crowd? By sending email that is targeted to the recipient based on their history with your restaurant.

Top 27 Creative Restaurant Marketing Ideas

What would you send to someone who has only dined with your once in the past 3 months compared to someone who has come in once a week? By using your customer data and combining it with email marketing automation you can create email marketing that is relevant to customers rather than just 'spraying and praying' To get started with upgrading your email marketing, start by researching CRM for restaurants as well as email automation solutions like Mailchimp or the many many alternatives available. Birthday's the single most important dining day for most people in the year.

Restaurants want to capture these diners as usually the party size is large and the total spend is high. Smart restaurants focus on these guests as a fundamental marketing strategy. The 1st step is recording the birthday's of your guests. You can ask them over the phone, run survey's or ask them when they are making an online booking.

You could also consider adding in a special discount to sweeten the deal. Have you ever been on website and seen a little live chat pop up from the corner of your screen? Recent advances in live chat tech means that it is fast becoming the go to way of communicating with customers online. After all you love texting your friends, so why not do the same with businesses? Having your live chat operated by your host stand or reservation staff gives people direct access to your restaurant as well as a human touch. Potential diners can ask questions and you can grab those all important bookings directly from the chat box.

It's another way to get diners interacting with you, and something your competitors probably aren't doing. So use it to stand out. Online booking platforms are pretty much a requirement for fine dining restaurant marketing. They give you access to millions of diners looking for places to eat each month. In the US, OpenTable used to be the only player but in the past few years diners now have plenty of other options like Resy and Reserve. It really depends which country and city you are located. These types of online platform provide websites and apps that give customers tools to book online.

People find the convenience and ease of reservation discovery platforms irresistible so consider tapping them as part of your strategy. Most upscale restaurants add the cost of these services as part of their yearly marketing budget. But you should work out these platforms are really cost effective for you as you may benefit from a free reservation instead.

Vision Advertising

The basic idea is that the plating and presentation of a dish encourages people to take photos and share them online - especially on Instagram where hashtags like foodporn are extremely popular. We're talking millions of pictures. Creating Instagrammable dishes is a super powerful promotion tactic because it leverages user generated content to spread the word about your restaurant rather than spending ad dollars. You can create the same dish over and over again and each time it is potentially spread to a whole new audience through social media for free. Mastering this technique involves coming up with a unique idea that isn't twee or traditional.

Get it right and you can create a viral effect online for your restaurant. When it takes off this could be the highest impact strategy of all. Coupons and discounts are always an option to get people through the door. For higher end restaurants, discounts can often lower the tone of the brand. Do them too much and customers can begin to expect them from you.

Learn more about the types of offers restaurants can use for marketing.

Restaurants Marketing Strategy - Restaurants Owner Isse Jarur Dekhe

Loyalty - getting customers to come back again and again should always be one of the main parts of restaurant marketing. Loyal customers cost the least in marketing to get them to come back, and are also more likely to tell their friends. They are great for word-of-mouth. Loyalty often results from simply having an awesome dining experience - great food, enjoyable interior, perception of value from the customer etc. But you can also actively encourage loyalty through loyalty programs and reward schemes for repeat customers.

You can administer the whole thing in house or team up with an app provider that deals specifically with loyalty. Upscale restaurants can focus on free upgrades to the dining experience like free champagne or dessert. More casual restaurants might want to just straight up offer a discount to loyal guests. Unless your restaurants is based on remote island, the vast majority of your customers will be local. This of course means you want to direct your marketing spend to your local neighborhood. Online ad platforms give you the ability to 'geo-target' your advertising. In the ad platform you simply use your city or zip code and tell the system to only target people in your nearby location. For most restaurants geo targeted online ads are essential if you are going to run advertising at all.

All the major ad networks like Google Ads, Facebook, Snapchat etc offer geo targeting so make sure it's up and running if you are running ads online. Fun fact: Did you know that across the globe people search the terms 'restaurants near me' 20 million times every month! A modern restaurant marketing plan needs to consider how your restaurant will be found for these types of local searches online. This is a huge topic for restaurants looking to dominate in SEO. Your menu is the most looked at thing on your website and it should be part of your marketing strategy. Having an easy to read and well designed online menu helps people pull the trigger and make a reservation.

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A few tips for online menus. Don't bury the menu on a subpage pvut it on your home page. Make sure it's mobile optimized so people can easily read it on their phones. And use a font that people can easily read online. No crazy cursive text styling! What are retargeting ads? In a nutshell retargeting is an ad system to show advertising to people who have visited your website but not made a transaction. For restaurants this is usually an online booking or a phone call. Retargeting is available on all the major at platforms.

Bottom Line: Restaurant Marketing Ideas

It requires a little bit of setup but once setup it is a very powerful ad channel. Perhaps the best. Your restaurant's brand identity has a very direct impact on customer loyalty. When you have a strong brand this is an effective promotional tool in itself and building a brand can happen in the restaurant but also on your social media and other marketing channels. Strong restaurant brands are based around a firm grasp of your restaurant's target market.