Need some restaurant marketing ideas to attract more customers through the door?....We hear Ya!
Working in the restaurant business can be a complicated process because it requires a great deal of attention to every aspect of the business. Getting people in the door, likewise, can be a difficult aspect because there are so many different restaurants out there.
But if you’re paying attention to the marketing process it’s definitely possible to make a difference in your sales and that’s what this restaurant marketing guide is all about, helping you get what you’re looking for as far as the customers who keep coming back to your place.
So let's dive in....
1) Offline Marketing
One of the first areas that you want to start paying attention to when it comes to restaurant marketing, is the effort you are putting into your marketing is offline. You want to make sure that you have a good, steady stream of people coming in who are actually located right in your neighborhood. You want to make sure that you are doing things like flyers and leaflets.
We’ll talk about different options when it comes to marketing your restaurant without having to get yourself online, because it’s definitely going to be an important part of the process. And when you start out this way, you’re going to be more than ready for the additional steps we’re going to talk about .
Leaflet Printing for Restaurants
If you know anything about the restaurant business and restaurant marketing, then you'll know how important printed products are in the effectively marketing a restaurant. So where do you begin?
First, you may want to find a printing service that can help you with creating everything your restaurant needs to stand out from the crowd.
You need items within the restaurant, of course, like menus and you may need signs and things outside, but you may also want those items to be posted in other areas.
If you work with the right company and you get all of your printing needs taken care of the right way you can get all of the different materials that we’re going to talk about and more. After all, your business is going to depend on word of mouth at first, and who sees the information that you’re posting.
Printing could refer to leaflets, signs, flyers and other marketing materials. Overall, it’s going to refer to things that your business needs in order to be successful.
The key is finding a company that can get those marketing materials printed properly, because you need something high quality to get people in the door.
Design of Your Restaurant
The design of your restaurant itself is going to be an important aspect of what people think when they walk in and can make or break your restaurant marketing efforts.
For many restaurants one way to really attract attention and get people even more interested is to update the design frequently, especially by paying attention to different seasons.
When you update your design for the season you’re showing that you continue to care about your business. After all, updating means you’re paying attention to what’s already there and you’re paying attention to the changing weather. If you were just going to sit back and let what happens happen then you wouldn’t keep innovating.
You may want to hire a firm that will take care of regularly updating your look and making sure that it fits with the theme that you want. These would be professionals who can make sure that the brand you’re creating matches throughout all aspects of your business.
They would also be able to help you along with making your business look great from the bottom to the top.
Leaflet Distribution for Restaurant Marketing
If you’re going to run a restaurant business, you need to make sure that you’re letting people know that it exists. After all, even if you have a restaurant set up right in the middle of town there are going to be people who don’t notice or who don’t try it out. People want to know what they can expect before they venture into anywhere new. You can do this using the power of leaflet distribution.
Leaflet distribution is one of the most important and successful restaurant marketing strategies out there.
When you distribute leaflets, or when you hire someone to take care of it for you, you want those leaflets to let people know as much as possible about your restaurant.
Your leaflets need to be so good that people google, or even come in to your establishment to see what you have to offer. Leaflets are the shop window to your restaurant.
It should talk about your food, and especially the time of food you provide. It should also have some idea as to the atmosphere of your restaurant. If you’re focusing on branding and design that shouldn’t be a problem.
You also want to make sure that you pass out those leaflets to as many people in your neighborhood as possible as well. In fact, if you hire a service you could have them hand out leaflets directly to people in a certain square radius of your business.
Or you could focus on specific districts that you think are going to be most interested in what you have to offer.
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Local Restaurant Boards
There are probably places that you can get your business listed that people are going to notice. Does your town have mailers that go out listing the best places to eat? Do you have small town papers that compile new restaurants?
Maybe there’s a local list that gets posted around town. Whatever might be out there you want to make sure that your business is on it. After all, you want to get all of the advertising you can. It might cost you a little bit of money, but it’s definitely going to help you attract even more attention.
When you get yourself listed with some of the places that everyone already loves it’s definitely going to make them pay even more attention. It’s also going to make them think about you even if they’ve never noticed where you were or what you offered before.
2) SEO for Restaurants
When it comes to getting online the first thing that you want to do is make sure you have a website of your own. After all, you’re going to want people to be able to find you and when they do search you want to be in control of what they find. If you don’t have a website that means anyone can take over the image you present.
SEO refers to the way that you Search Engine Optimize your businesses online presence. That means you need to make sure that when someone is searching for your restaurant or for something that your restaurant provides you should be one of the top results on the search engine. It takes some work, but if you work on these things you can absolutely do it.
Link building is one of the biggest factors with SEO because it gets other people to refer to you and to talk about you.
When you use link building it means that you are writing content and linking out to other people as authorities. It also means that other people are linking back to you as an authority.
Now, you may be wondering just how to do that when it comes to restaurant marketing.
The truth is that it’s really easy. The best thing you could be doing is talking about your products and then link to the companies that you get products from, especially if they’re local companies. You could also be linking to different locations that serve your food.
We’ll talk more about blogging in a moment, but that’s a great place to link to things like special events that you’re hosting or that you’ll be at, equipment brands that you use and recommend and a whole lot more.
By linking out you’re going to get a higher ranking from Google and people are more likely to find you and your restaurant.
Google My Business (GMB)
You’ve probably heard of Googling a business before, but you may not have thought of it in quite this way before.
That’s because Google My Business isn’t just about typing words in to a keyboard, it’s an actual program that Google has launched for you to take charge of what people see about your business.
When you sign up and you set up your profile you’re going to have the opportunity to decide what you want to say about your business and you’re going to be able to set things like contact information and what your hours are.
This makes sure that everyone is getting accurate information about you when they do their research.
This profile is actually all about people who search directly for your business or if you have really good SEO rankings it could come up if they start searching something similar. Keep in mind that you need to update this profile every time something changes in your restaurant.
You may even want to change it up regularly with a different description just to show you’re still paying attention.
Blogging and Content
Finally, your SEO is greatly going to be affected by blogging and content. If you can start a blog on your website it’s going to make a huge difference, but even just being careful about your content is going to be a good start.
Content like your home page, your about page and anything else that you create should have text, not just pictures, and that text should be high quality.
Talk to people about what you’re doing and what you’re offering and who you are. And while you’re at it, make sure you use some keywords in there as well. Keywords are any words that someone would search if they were going to look for your business or one like it.
If you have a Mexican restaurant you might expect people to be searching for ‘best tacos in town’ so you could put that into your page, for example.
Next, the blog. Where your content will generally stay the same for an extended period of time, your blog should be updated frequently.
A blog could talk about those events we mentioned above or different types of equipment or it could talk about new things in the restaurant world or new foods and experiences around the world.
Consistent new content, and especially content sprinkled with keywords and links, can get you more attention from Google.
3) Email Marketing for Restaurants
Next up, let’s get into the email marketing. This is where you’re going to need to get people to sign up to receive emails from you and that can be a little tricky. The best thing that you can do is offer people some type of discount for signing up.
Whether it’s a free item (like an appetizer, chips, bread, etc.) or a discount (15% of the bill, £10 off £50, buy 1 get 1 free, etc.) these types of promotions get people to sign up all the time.
Then, you need to make sure that you are sending out information that they’re going to want to see and that they’re going to want to learn about. You want to be able to get them in the door, after all and that can be a little difficult. With your emails you want to make them more interested.
Send Out Specials
The best thing you can do is let people know when you have something special going on. Emails that tell them about special deals or about special foods that you’re offering are going to be the most interesting.
Everyone wants to go somewhere when they have a coupon. So if you can offer them one you’re going to get them thinking about going to your restaurant.
If you’re offering a limited time new item or even just a new item at all that’s likely to get them interested too. After all, they don’t want to be left out when everyone else gets to try that new item and they don’t. They want to be sure that they get the first opportunity to try it out and see if they like it.
By emailing these you’re getting into the minds of your guests and potential guests before they even drive by your restaurant or receive a leaflet in the mail. That’s definitely going to make it easier for you to get started.
Because once you add in that leaflet or drive-by you’re going to really cement your name in their head and they’ll be more likely to stop in.
4) Social Media
You probably know all kinds of things about social media, but do you even realize just how important it’s going to be when it comes to your business? If you have a website but you don’t have social media you’re definitely missing out.
All it takes it looking around on Facebook or Twitter to see how other restaurants are doing it and definitely getting all the traffic.
There are millions of people on social media platforms and they’re all looking for a range of different things. But the truth of the matter is that more and more people are turning to social media to find the businesses they want to frequent, whether it’s a nail salon or a restaurant.
They’re looking to their friends and what these platforms in general are recommending to them.
Facebook Marketing for Restaurants
One of the most popular platforms around and one of the first to really hit it big, Facebook has a following of millions and you absolutely want to be a part of that.
If you have a Facebook profile for your business it means you can create regular posts, which are going to show up for your followers and for those who happen to search your page. This is a great start.
On the other hand, you may want to look into ads as well. These are paid services that are going to show up on the news feed of people who don’t already know you, but might be interested.
You get to choose the settings for who gets these ads and then you can draw even more people into your business by at least getting them to see what you’re offering.
There are also sponsored posts, which are sort of like a hybrid between ads and posts. For these you would create a normal post and then you would pay to have Facebook show it to other people.
For any of these you can get more interest in you business and you can get some actual interaction from your followers and fans.
Instagram to Show Off All Your Amazing Dishes And Atmosphere
This is an amazing platform for people with restaurants because who doesn’t want to look at a plate full of great food?
Instagram is primarily picture based, so all you need on this one is a great looking picture of something you serve and a caption of what it is, why it’s so good and maybe where your ingredients come from.
Don’t just assume you can post the picture and say it’s ‘fettucine alfredo’ and be done. You need to paint the picture of fresh pasta, homemade alfredo sauce with three types of cheese and topped with grilled chicken (or whatever it is that you’re making). And you want to make sure that you use hashtags as well. These tags are what makes it possible for people to find you.
If you want to use Instagram paid content you can create ads here too and since Instagram is owned by Facebook the process is quite similar. You just fill out what you want your ad to say, along with adding images and you select what type of people you think will be most interested in your restaurant.
Pinterest Can be Amazing for Marketing Restaurants
Pinterest is one that a lot of people don’t really think of when they’re starting to build up their social media, but it’s definitely one you should be paying attention to.
That’s because Pinterest is the new search engine that a lot of people are using. If you can be found there, it might even be better than Google (okay, maybe not quite that far, yet).
With Pinterest you get to create boards and once again, just about everything relies on images. So you’re definitely going to be in a good spot here. You want to create images that are going to entice people to click and you want to save them to different boards.
For example, you might have a pasta board that shows your best pasta dishes and a steak board with your best steak dishes. Then, link them all back to your restaurant.
If you want to pay for ads on Pinterest you can get your posts (called pins) to show up higher in the rankings when someone makes a search. That’s going to make it more likely that they will pin your post and that they’ll come back to it again and again.
Not to mention if they pin something you post it makes it more likely their friends and followers will see it too.
Use Twitter to Promote Your Restaurant
Finally, we get to Twitter. Now, Twitter has slowly been losing some following, but not enough to knock it off the list of importance.
You can get a whole lot of attention by posting on Twitter and it’s super simple because everything is limited to only a small number of characters, so posts are easy.
With Twitter you can post images and then you can pose questions (like do you prefer enchiladas or burritos?) to invite people to give you some feedback.
The more people comment and react to your post the more attention you’re going to get because you’ll show up higher on the results, and that’s entirely organic.
If you want to pay to get a little more attention and possible engagement you can also create ads here. And when you do your posts are going to show up higher on peoples’ news feed.
That makes it more likely that you’re going to get their attention and that they’re going to react or respond to you at all.
5) Ordering Apps
When it comes to ordering your food for delivery you want to make sure that you’re using all of the best apps. We’re going to talk about the 5 best apps that you could be a part of and just how each of them works.
The best thing you can do is get on as many as possible so that eating at your restaurant is as easy as possible for anyone.
Ordering apps allow people to place an order at their favorite restaurant and then pay someone to make a delivery of that food to them. They don’t have to leave their home, but they still get to eat all of the great food that you’re preparing.
It makes it a win-win because you’re also not having to pay for them to sit at a table, but you’re selling the food.
Just-eat.co.uk - You've got to be on it!
With the just-eat app, your potential guests get a simple system that lets them sort based on location or based on reviews or the type of food that they want. They can use Facebook to create an account and then from there they can place an order for their favorite foods from that restaurant.
The company itself boasts that they work with over 30,000 different restaurants and that’s definitely a number that you want to be a part of. Plus, because it’s an app it means that people are able to locate restaurants even on the go, and they can get that delivery for as soon as they get home.
Partnering with this service is extremely easy and allows you to get attention from even more people. This app is relevant throughout the UK, which means you’re going to have no problem getting into it and making sure that people in your area and visiting your area are able to check you out.
UberEATS - Another Biggie!
This one is definitely gaining in popularity and for good reason. It’s a simple site or app that anyone can use and all they need to do is choose their location, the type of food they’re looking for or the nearest large city.
From there, they can see different restaurants that are offering their service and then they can order and have it delivered to them.
You can get signed up on this app by partnering with the company. After all, they appeal to people who don’t want to go out but do want to get good food.
That’s a totally new market for you and you definitely have nothing to lose by getting new people to eat your food and potentially tell their friends and family about it.
Plus, they offer specials and deals for restaurants to get in on their services without even having to pay a fee to start. So you just pay the partnership fees and you’ll be able to try it out for a lower cost, which can really show you the benefits.
Quiqup - Not The Biggest, But It's Worth It!
The Quipup app is designed to make booking a delivery quick and easy. In fact, users can make a delivery selection in just a few minutes and then they can have their food sometimes within an hour. That means it’s a great option if you’re really ready for dinner right now, but you don’t want to go out.
The Quiqup app advertises that they deliver food extremely quickly, so that means it’s still going to be pipping hot and the best possible quality for your customers and guests. Which means it’s one you may want to consider for yourself as well.
There’s even an option for customers to set up recurring orders, so you’ll have constant customers.
The company has delivery people that will deliver food throughout the urban area and they have different levels of delivery offerings for businesses. Those who have a lot of takeout orders can even set up courier services that are dedicated to them while small businesses can get simpler plans and services.
Deliveroo - Can't Live Without it!
The top restaurants are definitely using Deliveroo and customers are taking it to heart because they want to find their favorites.
They’re using this app to search different types of food from catering and desserts to healthy food and comfort options. From there, they can submit their postcode and get a list of places to order from.
What’s unique about Deliveroo is that there are some restaurants that aren’t actually physical locations. That means they only have a kitchen to do delivery and when the order is placed they get it together and send it out.
That means the only way to get their food is through this service, which gets some people on the app even if they’re not ordering from those locations.
If you get on this app it means that your food is going to be seen by more people. Also, the app boasts that restaurants who sign up with them could see as much as a 30% increase in their sales.
That’s definitely something that you want to get on board with and it’s going to help you continue to improve your restaurant along the way.
FEAST (London) - Reach Those Late Night Eaters!
Located strictly in London, this is the app or website that you want to use if you’re looking for a great meal just about any time and especially at night.
Where most apps aren’t going to be available all night long, this one will deliver your food all the way from 11:00 am to 5:00 am, so it’s great for those third shift workers and more.
Those who do need food at all hours are more likely to check out this app even during regular business hours as well. After all, it’s the app they use during those special times why wouldn’t they use it all the time? And that’s going to make it a good pick for you if you’re open during most or all of those hours.
For those restaurants that are open later hours or open 24 hours this is a great way to go because it gives you more options. Your guests can actually get your food the entire time that you’re open (or most of it) and that’s going to make them more likely to find you.
After all, people who want late night food want options and they may not know you’re there otherwise.
Overall, you’re going to have a number of different ways that you can improve your marketing and really get people interested in what you have to offer. Your restaurant can absolutely thrive and do amazingly well in your area.
The key is that you need to pay attention to all of your marketing avenues and make sure that you’re making the most of them.
You can use both online and offline methods of reaching a target audience and you can absolutely make a big impact on the food scene. Just make sure that you’re offering your food in as many different ways as you can and draw in the people.
You never know who is going to be your next biggest fan and rave about you everywhere.