Over 100,000 restaurants are found in the United States. They range from dive bars and Michelin five-star restaurants to fast food, fusion, sandwich-to-steakhouses, and everything in between.
The competition is fierce among restaurants, so you need a bulletproof restaurant marketing plan. You’re in the right spot, friend. This all-inclusive restaurant marketing guide will provide you with all the creative, strategic, and competitive inspiration that you need to attract, gratify and keep customers coming back.
How to market a Restaurant
There is no “best” way to market a restaurant. It all depends on the category, audience, and location. However, these are the essential steps that any food-friendly establishment should follow:
Create your restaurant’s brand identity
Your brand identity goes beyond your brand colors. It is your business’s personality and the tone of your content. It also reflects the emotions you wish to instill in your customers. It is not enough to be happy. Consider the most popular restaurants.
Understand your target audience. Then, the further segment that audience into buyer personas that are interested in the lifestyles and interests you cater to. You should establish a consistent theme and feel for all your personas and communicate that throughout every piece of content and action.
Our tips to help you develop your identity are a great resource.
Register for a website
This is a non-negotiable requirement. You will need a homepage, information, menu, and contact page. You will want to have a blog, photo gallery, FAQ page, and review page. While optimizing your website will be covered in more detail later, the most important thing is that it is your go-to place for potential and current diners. Your website must look professional. These examples of restaurant websites can be used as inspiration and ideas.
Do you already have a website? Use the LOCALiQ free website grader to improve your site.
Establish your mission statement
This statement should be in line with your brand identity and should be documented. It should explain the purpose of your company. Does it make healthier food more affordable? Do you want to foster family bonds? Promote sustainability? What do you offer, to whom and why, and what your mission statement should say? These mission statements can be a source of inspiration.
Create your social media accounts
Your social profiles are next on the list to help you build your online presence. Facebook and Instagram are the most used social media platforms by restaurants, but TikTok and YouTube and even LinkedIn can also be useful. To get your strategy and profiles up and running, you can refer to our complete guide for social media marketing.
A sleek and functional online menu is possible
Do not make it difficult for users to locate your menu, or to see it clearly. Make sure your menu is accurate, up-to-date, and easy to read. Not sure how? You can publish your menu online free of charge on some delivery websites, such as the ones listed below. Open Menu can also help you create a stylish menu. It even has social integration for both paid and non-paid users.
Nevertheless, your menu should be published on your website. This is often the first piece of information that users look for when they visit your site.
Your restaurant marketing efforts are useless if you don’t offer a great online menu that is easily accessible to customers. Customers in this age must have access to an online menu or they will simply go elsewhere. Restaurant marketing strategies?
Restaurant marketing strategies
Once you have a solid foundation, you can start to develop strategies that will attract customers to your restaurant.
Ask for reviews
Online reviews are a powerful tool that customers love to leave. They still need some prompting. Asking for reviews is a key part of your restaurant marketing strategy.
Here are some methods to make it happen:
A framed, artistic sign can be placed near the mints. It should include a QR code or link that is easy to remember.
Add a link to your site, menus, coupons, and punch cards. Also, include a request.
React to reviews
How you respond to customers’ reviews can impact the perception of your restaurant. Here are some tips.
Positive reviews are a sign that you value customer input and encourage them to leave more.
We thank our customers for all their positive and negative reviews.
React promptly to negative reviews, politely and professionally, and then offer to resolve the issue offline.
This has been a good idea for many businesses. Reviewers are often grateful for the feedback and are more open to criticism when they know that the owner of the restaurant values it and is trying to improve.
Your Facebook page can be turned into a community
Companies with strong social media presence will be the most successful. In the highly competitive food industry, it is impossible to ignore social media. Although we have already discussed creating a Facebook Page, it is not about using its power to market your restaurant. Here are the steps:
Your page should be treated as a listing. Facebook is a business directory. Complete all fields, encourage reviews, and keep it up to date.
Post frequently: Customer photos, upcoming events and special offers, hours updates, and so on.
Engage with your followers. Inspire discussion, respond to comments, and follow them back.
Seasonally change your cover photos.
Check out this list of Facebook marketing ideas that are easy to implement for any business.
You can also give out punch cards to show your appreciation. Although they aren’t as popular as apps, they show customers that you care and appreciate their loyalty.
Google can determine your location based on your online information and searchers’ IP addresses, but that does not mean you will rank high in local results for all relevant searches. This means that you must do your local SEO:
Register on the top listing sites (we have already touched on this).
In your Contact Us page, embed a Google Map showing your location.
Regularly publish content that is specific to your area.
Online reviews are the number one ranking factor for local SEO.
Your information should be as consistent as possible across all of your online assets. Google doesn’t like inconsistencies!