People are busy – at work, in pursuing their passions, and in watching the current hottest web series. But they are going to get hungry. And you know that for sure! In all the businesses around – you as a restaurateur should never be in a pit of anxiety because you always have customers. Maybe not many of them in your restaurant yet, but they are around, a few meters away from your restaurant – hungry and exploring innumerous ways to satiate their taste buds. Only the effort is you need to make yourself visible, you need to be there where they go out and look for food or dining experience.
So here comes the obvious suggestion – you need to market your restaurant, and to be more precise, digitally, as most of your customers are nowadays online. In fact, while you are reading this post, most of them are scrolling their Facebook or Instagram or finding a nearby place to have a dinner date with their partner.
“Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.”Beth Comstock, Former CMO & Vice Chair, GE
How to go ahead with the strategies…
Before we start with my simple and crispy digital marketing recipe for your restaurant, let me tell you – there are two ways how you can go ahead with this.
- Read this post and understand what all things you can do. But get it done from someone who already does Digital Marketing – like an Online Marketing Agency or a Digital Marketing Freelancer depending on your budget and their way of work.
- The second one is more interesting and my recommendation. First, read this post and get an idea of what all things you can do to market your restaurant and then learn yourself how to actually do that, or enroll someone from your team to learn it. Take a short term course in Digital Marketing. I would suggest this because, believe me, marketing is a continuous process. You need to market your service, your events, and your brand for the life of your business. So why not have someone from your team or you actually understand the psychology behind and implement some parts by yourself. It’s good to delegate, but why not build a low-cost and highly efficient marketing plan which works and which would get you more patrons, loyal customers, and your brand a better identity?
I have talked to many businesses who literally are unsure how actually their digital marketing agency is spending their marketing budget! So learning the simple tricks of the trade will definitely get you to communicate better and ask proper questions to your digital marketing agency, in case you decide to go with them.
Whatever you choose, I am here to help you with the best digital marketing strategies which you can start implementing from today for your restaurant.
Let’s consider Miss. Rosy as your ideal customer, whom you want to let know about your restaurant, the dishes, the events, etc. and then make sure that she keeps on visiting and bringing more people to your restaurant. Let’s see how we can work on your digital strategy.
You might be new to Digital Marketing, or you might be aware of a couple of things. I would like to introduce you to the Attract, Engage, and Delight flywheel model in marketing where we put each and every audience of our business or brand through it. In simple language, when it comes to Rosy, first we work on attracting her attention, then keeping her engaged with our brand, and then delighting her through various strategies and channels.
In this post, I will try to cover all things you can do to make sure you address each stage of the marketing flywheel model for Rosy.
Attract – Let Rosy know that the restaurant exists
In the strategies over here, we will consider that Rosy doesn’t know about your restaurant at all. Or, she had forgotten you for the time being when she is looking to eat out.
1. Be there on Google Maps
Create Google My Business account with proper name, address, phone number, open and close timings. Add good photographs (interior, exterior, and food) over there. You can hire a professional photographer for taking some pics so that the photographs are irresistibly yummy.
Every time when a customer eats at your restaurant, ask for a review on Google Maps. Give them a small discount once they submit the review. You can put this on an online menu card or print a small standee and place it on each table or a bigger one beside the payment counter. People will for sure give feedback and rating if they are getting some quick perks.
Optimize the listing so that your listing ranks high on local search.
When Rosy will search for ‘restaurant near me‘ or ‘best restaurants in town‘, provided you rank well – Google Maps will show you and if you have good reviews and appetizing photographs, Rosy will definitely think to give you a visit.
2. Be there on other local directories of the region
Have your presence on local directories and on food delivery apps like Yelp, Zomato, Swiggy, OpenTable, Zagat, Trip Advisor, Dine, Gayot, Justdial, etc. etc. etc.
Try to get good reviews over there as well. Reply politely to the negative reviews.
It’s possible Rosy is searching for online food delivery service. She can find you on one of these apps which she regularly uses to order her food. You don’t want to miss that.
Rosy might be interested in an open mic event. And you can arrange an open mic in your restaurant. If she gets to know about it from a friend or family or your promoted post on social media targeting people who are interested in music and from the same city, Rosy might show up. Once she shows up in the restaurant, then it’s a new beginning of your story with her. She might become your loyal patron and visit every weekend or bring her friends and family too.
Events are a good way to attract a new audience, which otherwise would not have thought of visiting you. Events create a different emotional connection of people with the brand – many times people are associated with a brand because a brand supports a certain cause which they too support.
4. Paid Campaigns/Ads
Create geo-targeted restaurant ads with online advertising platforms like Google Ads and social media platforms – like Facebook & Instagram ads.
This means you can pay to show your listing on top of Google for certain keywords when people search for them in a particular location. It has no meaning if Rosy is in New York, USA and she sees an ad for a restaurant in Delhi, India. Hence, geo-targeted ads are important when it comes to local businesses.
But you need to remember that Rosy can search for ‘restaurants in Delhi‘ from New York. It means that either she or any of her relatives or friends are visiting Delhi and hence she is planning her trip beforehand. That time your ad should appear to her. Does it make sense?
Same is the case with social media ads – you can re-target Rosy on Facebook or Instagram if she has visited your page or profile or website. So that when she visits Delhi, she already remembers your restaurant’s name.
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Well, ads become more important if your competitors are already into paid marketing, and you too have to be there. In other cases, you can occasionally run campaigns promoting special events which you organize at your restaurant – for example National Pizza Day or Chocolate Day or an event for Women’s Day etc.
5. Create a website and blog regularly
Rosy might love to read blogs. Say, when she searches for a certain query regarding the places to visit in the city, she finds your blog in search results. And you wrote about various places along with your restaurant as a dine out place with attractive photographs. Chances are that Rosy might visit your restaurant along with the other places which you have mentioned.
Learn how to create amazing content. Follow me on Instagram. – Tejaswini Deshpande
Your website gives you an opportunity to showcase your photographs, videos, your expertise, your team, your testimonials from influencers, food critiques and your press coverage at one place. Also, you can direct Rosy to your social media pages, so that she can engage over there and you too can make sure whenever she gets in the area and thinks of eating out – your restaurant is the first name that pops in her head.
6. Guest Blog
Write some good content on others’ website or blog too. It might happen, Rosy already reads that blog or follows them or they appear higher on search engine. You have an opportunity to attract her attention by writing on other people’s blog. But I won’t suggest you to write on other restaurant’s blog as if your content performs well, it will be more of a benefit to them than you. But you can blog on a hotel’s blog – where travelers and tourist stay but they don’t have an in house restaurant.
You can also guest blog on a travel blogger’s website or on a website of another category of local business. They will get some good content and you will get an extra exposure.
7. Collaborate on Social Media
I am considering that you already have a Facebook page and an Instagram Page for your restaurant. If not, create them on priority. Once you have a social media presence, you can add content and photographs over there. Also on social media, you can collaborate with food influencers of the city and around and travel influencers – either give them free meals or minimal compensation to give you a shout-out or write about you.
These people have good amount of niche following on social media. It is possible that Rosy or some of her friends follow any of these influencers. And due to their post or shout-out, Rosy comes to know about your restaurant. Then she goes and searches on Google and finds more about you – photos, reviews and all. But at the first place, you know how did you got her attention!
8. Partner with online food delivery apps
I might be repeating this point. But this one needs extra focus. Nowadays, post the Covid-19 pandemic situation, people are habituated to order food online using their favorite food delivery app. You can create a connection with your patrons, give them your number or ask them to install your restaurant’s app for ordering. But remember, you might find totally new customers on these food delivery apps.
The reason is, these apps are already rigorously running their marketing campaigns. Many people, including those who are new to the city, know these apps but not you. So being on them will give you more exposure and chances are that if Rosy doesn’t know about you, but she has already installed Zomato on her mobile, she could find you, order from you once, fall in love with your food and then visit you or keep on ordering online.
I think the above pointers are sufficient to start with to attract Rosy’s attention and it might 99% result to a visit. Let’s be optimistic here 🙂
Engage – Keep Rosy hooked to your restaurant
“It’s important to remember your competitor is only one mouse click away.”Douglas Warner III, Former CEO, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co
Rosy knows your restaurant, perhaps she has visited once or twice. But you too know – good food and good experience can bring back Rosy again and again. But what if in a couple of days, Rosy loses touch with your restaurant as there is a new one open near her house? You still want Rosy to travel a bit and give you regular visits, don’t you? Returning customers are the surest and sometimes huge percentage of the revenue for many businesses.
Below are some strategies on how you can keep Rosy hooked to your restaurant and whenever she thinks of dining out or taking away food, she for sure thinks first about you.
1. Email Newsletters and SMS Alerts
When Rosy visits your restaurant for the first time, you can collect her feedback in a form as well and get her email address and/or phone number. Send her greetings on her birthday, anniversary.
Make sure you send her discounts and coupons now and then in the newsletter and on the SMS. You can give her a special group discount and a part of a private area for her birthday celebration through email or call.
Give her special treatment. Become her dining partner. She won’t forget you because here she is getting personal attention.
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In the email newsletter, you can also send some special coupons which you have received from your collaborators, or in case you are hosting some events, send her invitation or free tickets.
Email, phone number, or WhatsApp are perfect ways to keep in touch with your patrons and at the same time keep them hooked. In order to get these details at the first visit, you can also use a fishbowl business card giveaway – i.e. you can ask people to drop their business cards in a fishbowl on the counter and you can take a lucky draw winner – you can give a group lunch free or a certain number of free drinks/beverages.
2. Social Media Engagement
Host a ‘best dish from your restaurant‘ photograph contest on Instagram – ask them to tag you in their posts. This will give you a lot of user-generated content as well as you can showcase good photographs in your stories or feed and give credits to the customers.
Rosy will feel delighted when every time you mention her or give her credit on your social media. Human beings need to feel to be a part of something significant. By doing this, you are telling Rosy that how much you value her contribution and her participation.
Always reply back to her comments and messages and help her in case she has any queries regarding your niche i.e. food and dining out.
3. Show off your chef and staff
Rosy loves your food. She loves your service and overall experience. But if you post the pics and stories of your team on social media, Rosy will know the people behind your brand too. She will connect with your restaurant more as people love to buy from people and usually not from businesses.
As well, people enjoy nosing around and finding personal things about other people. That’s not harmful. This is the way we socialize. We are human beings and not robots. We love stories and are more intrigued by the inside stories and peeks. So share good backstage stories about your brand, it will connect people more.
Delight – Keep Rosy happy
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”Maya Angelou, Civil Rights Activist & Poet
You need to make sure that you keep Rosy delighted so that she refers to your restaurant to her family and friends. Considering that your food quality and service are already top-notch, you can have a couple of strategies for delighting your customers so that you get more and more referrals.
1. Loyalty Programs
You can have a special user area on your website as well, and you can endorse Rosy with loyalty points every time she eats in your restaurant. Once she accumulates a certain number of points, you can again give her some reward or a gift coupon. This will invite her to eat again and again in your restaurant as well as choose you over any other restaurants as she knows that she could get this XYZ reward once she accumulates these many points.
You can also add up numbers to her points when someone from her reference comes to your restaurant. This system can be integrated with your website with some extra efforts, but it will be beneficial in a long run.
There are some foodie apps as well available to calculate the loyalty points, but if you want to save money – you better integrate it on your website or you can also handover physical punch cards.
2. Support Portal
You can have a section on your website or app where you can ask Rosy to submit her feedback in case she has any problem with the delivery or food quality. You can assure that she will get the food delivered again in case there was some issue.
What I want to say is, make sure you have a online support channel in place. You can handle it through website or WhatsApp. But make sure, you have it.
3. Recognition to influencers
This one is for food influencers or travel influencers who are actually spreading the good word about you online. Make sure you delight them with small momentos or rewards. When Rosy will come to know her favorite social media personality loves the restaurant too, well you know, Rosy will love your restaurant more.
4. Foodie of the Day
Well, you can have this kind of program, though it is exactly not a part of Digital Marketing. But this is a great way to make your patrons interested and create a community around your brand.
You can ask your social media followers to vote for foodies who visited your restaurant – maybe their pictures. And their votes can decide the ‘Foodie of the Day’ winner. I hope there will definitely be a day when Rosy too wins this title, and she would savor that memory for many following days and share it with her friends and family too.
And that’s a lot of strategies for today…
I hope this was an extensive list of simple strategies which will help your restaurant kick off with Digital Marketing and which will create a community around your brand as well.
I know that you already run or manage a restaurant which is itself hard work. Hence, I tried to avoid using all marketing jargon and have made the post as simple as possible so that you can implement the pointers. Still, I will again suggest that if you are serious about implementing digital marketing for your restaurant, do consider taking a quick course in Digital Marketing. You will have a clear idea of how you can effectively implement the above strategies and all-important tools and techniques that can be used to make your job easy and fruitful.
I tried to cover as many points as possible that can help you design your strategy. There might be some good ideas in your mind too. Sharing is caring. So kindly share your ideas in the comments section.
And a request…
Finally, I want to make a humble request to you. It takes a lot of effort for us to bring great articles and the best possible strategies for you. It would be great if you will share this article on your social media and your restauranteur friends so that it reaches and helps as many people as possible and we too get the motivation to write more in the future.
We at STAENZ Academy always look forward to help you more in your business, career and growth.