Do you want to attract more customers and increase your revenue? Are you tired of seeing your restaurant’s sales plateau year after year?
Of course you are.
It’s 2023. The restaurant industry is buzzing with innovative and exciting marketing strategies to help you achieve your business goals. From TikTok challenges to virtual cooking classes, and everything in between.
But, that’s not what we’re talking about in this post.
No, in this blog, we’re not diving into all the flashy new stuff. Instead, we’re digging into the foundations of your restaurant’s marketing. The tried-and-true strategies that, while maybe not as fun as learning the next viral dance trend, will definitely move the needle in the right direction.
So today, let’s explore the must-have marketing strategies for restaurants to try in 2023. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and get ready to learn how to take your restaurant’s marketing game to the next level!
Covered in this guide:
In the sections below, we explore how to create a plan, evaluate the data, and utilize resources to achieve your goal to get the most out of your restaurant’s marketing tactics.
Step 1: Create a Restaurant Marketing Plan
A restaurant’s marketing plan is crucial since it aids in promoting its menu items and brand in a way that draws in and keeps customers coming back. Through focused advertising and promotional initiatives, marketing also helps your restaurant stand out in a crowded market and draw in new consumers.
A well-planned marketing strategy can also assist a restaurant in enhancing its image and cultivating client loyalty, both of which can result in higher sales and profits.
Every restaurant needs a marketing plan to be successful and for sustaining long-term growth. It’s a vital step toward executing a successful overall marketing strategy.
Here are a few of the things you’ll need to consider when crafting your restaurant marketing plan:
#1 Define Your Target Market
Knowing your target market is the first stage in developing a marketing strategy. Take into account variables like age, gender, income level, and geography. For instance, if your sandwich shop is close to a university, a sizable chunk of your target demographic may be students.
#2 Develop Your Brand
The perception and overall impression that diners have of your restaurant is your brand.
Create a distinct brand identity that distinguishes you from the neighborhood’s other sandwich shops. This could include your logo, branding components like color schemes and fonts, and messaging that expresses the character and values of your company.
#3 Establish a Website
A restaurant’s website is a crucial marketing tool. Showcase your menu, promotions, and events on your website, plus post images and descriptions of your food. Include options for online ordering – pick up or delivery, as well as your location and contact details.
#4 Use Social Media
Use social media to connect with and engage with potential clients. Social media is a fantastic tool for this.
Select the social media channels where your target audience is most active, then establish a strong presence there by sharing content frequently and interacting with followers. Social media can be used to highlight menu items, advertise promotions, and promote your restaurant’s culture and ambiance.
#5 Run Promotions & Discounts
Giving discounts and promotions can be a fantastic method to draw in new clients and promote repeat business. Consider giving new customers discounts, rewarding longtime customers with rewards, or running special sales around holidays and other occasions.
#6 Partner With Complementary Businesses
Forming a partnership with neighborhood businesses can be profitable for both parties. Think about working together with local companies to promote each other’s goods or services.
For instance, a deli could collaborate with a nearby coffee shop to provide a combo package that includes a sandwich and coffee.
#7 Utilize Email Marketing
Reaching and interacting with your customer base through email marketing is both affordable and successful. Gather email addresses from patrons and use them to send newsletters and promotional emails to keep them up to date on the specials and activities at your restaurant.
#8 Participate in Local Activities & Festivals
Participating in neighborhood events and festivals is a fantastic way to promote your business and draw in new clients. Think about setting up a booth or catering a local event.
#9 Use In-Store Marketing
Don’t neglect to market your restaurant as well. To advertise your products and build a consistent brand experience, think about employing menu boards, in-store signs, and other marketing materials.
#10 Measure & Analyze Results
Track the success of your marketing activities so you may make any necessary adjustments by measuring and analyzing your outcomes. Track the success of promotions and discounts by using tools like Google Analytics to monitor website traffic, social media analytics to monitor engagement, and sales statistics to monitor ROI.
Step 2: Make Sense of All the Data Collected
A restaurant can gather a variety of data for marketing purposes. In general, the aim is to gather information that allows the restaurant to better understand its patrons and adjust its marketing initiatives to appeal to them.
Here are some methods to do so:
#1 Customer Demographics
This includes details on the location, age, and gender of customers. By knowing your regulars, you can better target marketing initiatives to ensure they keep coming back.
#2 Purchase History
The restaurant may better understand its customers’ tastes by keeping note of what they have previously purchased, and then they can adjust their marketing strategies to cater to those preferences.
#3 Customer Feedback
Customer feedback includes comments made by patrons on the restaurant’s website or on social media, as well as comments made in surveys or through in-person interactions. This can assist the restaurant in learning what aspects of the dining experience patrons like and don’t like so it can adjust its operations accordingly.
#4 Social Media Engagement
Your restaurant can better understand what resonates with customers by monitoring the likes, comments, and shares on social media. Try posting different types of content to see which gets the most interaction.
#5 Website Analytics
Your restaurant can better understand how customers are interacting with your website and make necessary changes by assessing data like search engine traffic and conversion rates.
#6 Email Marketing Data
The restaurant may better evaluate the efficacy of their email marketing campaigns and make modifications by measuring metrics like open and click-through rates.
Step 3: Use Social Media Effectively
In general, in order for a restaurant to increase its following, it is essential for them to have a robust presence on social media and to consistently provide content that is both interesting and engaging.
Here are some of the best ways that a restaurant can use social media to grow its following:
#1 Post Engaging & Visually Appealing Content
You should post information that is both interesting to read and visually appealing to look at. This could include images and videos of dishes, behind-the-scenes peeks at your restaurant, and other content that provides followers with a window into the culture and ambiance of your restaurant.
#2 Use Hashtags & Participate in Contests
Utilize hashtags and take part in social media competitions pertinent to your interests. By doing this, the material produced by your restaurant has a better chance of being discovered by a larger audience and could even become viral.
Here are three guidelines for using hashtags in social media posts from restaurants:
- Use pertinent hashtags: It’s critical to use hashtags that are appropriate for your business and the material you are sharing while using them. Use hashtags like #foodporn, #newmenu, or #foodie when publishing a photo of a new dish, for instance.
- Use location-specific hashtags: If your restaurant is situated in a particular area or city, you could want to use such hashtags to connect with local clients. If your restaurant is located in New York City, for instance, you might use hashtags like #NYCfood or #NYCeats.
- Mix up hashtags: Use a range of relevant hashtags to reach a wider audience by mixing up your hashtag usage. Don’t use the same hashtags in every post. By doing this, you can avoid sounding spammy or repetitive.
#3 Interact With Followers & Respond to Comments
It is important for restaurants to interact with their followers and reply to comments and reviews since this demonstrates that the establishment loves their consumers and is prepared to engage with them.
Responding to social media comments and reviews is crucial for restaurant owners because it demonstrates that they value their patrons’ opinions and are prepared to address any problems or difficulties that may emerge.
Responding to comments and reviews shows the restaurant is involved with its audience and ready to solve any concerns that may occur, which helps to establish credibility and trust with potential consumers.
Additionally, addressing reviews can also assist to enhance the general customer experience and boost client loyalty, both of which can ultimately result in more customers and more money for the restaurant.
#4 Utilize Paid Social Media Ads
This can assist your restaurant in reaching out to a specific audience and driving more traffic to social media accounts as well as your website.
A restaurant owner should run sponsored social media advertisements for a number of reasons:
- Targeted reach: With the help of paid social media ads, restaurant owners can target customers with certain interests and demographics, ensuring that the correct people see their ads.
- Increased visibility: Paid social media advertisements can aid in enhancing a restaurant’s visibility, particularly if it is new or not well-known in the neighborhood.
- Cost-effectiveness: Since the price of paid social media advertisements may be changed in accordance with the restaurant’s goals and budget, they can be an inexpensive way to reach a wide audience.
- Measurable results: Paid social media ads offer in-depth statistics and metrics that can assist restaurant owners in determining the success of their advertising campaigns and in making decisions regarding upcoming marketing initiatives.
#5 Collaborate With Influencers & Local Businesses
Collaborate with other local businesses or influencers to assist the restaurant reach a wider audience and maybe receive exposure to a larger following. This can help the restaurant become more successful.
Restaurant operators can work with nearby companies or online influencers in a variety of ways:
- Partner on social media campaigns: Partner with local companies or influencers to develop co-branded content and promotions for social media sharing. Restaurant owners can collaborate on social media campaigns and by doing this, your restaurant can reach a wider audience, become more visible, and draw in more patrons.
- Host special promotions or events: Restaurant owners can work with neighborhood influencers or other companies to create unique promotions or events that provide guests discounts or food tastings. Social media can be used to advertise these events, which can raise awareness of the restaurant and interest in it.
- Offer cross-promotional opportunities: By including neighborhood business’ goods or services on their menus or in-store displays, restaurant owners can create cross-promotional opportunities. In theory, both parties benefit from increased publicity and business as a result.
#6 Offer Exclusive Promotions to Followers
Customers may be motivated to follow the restaurant’s social media accounts if they are offered special bargains or promotions that are only available to followers. This may also inspire people to visit the restaurant.
Step 4: Use Your Menu to Grow Your Marketing List
Finding methods to get consumer contact information that is advantageous for your marketing efforts and convenient for the customer can be tricky.
The key to using your menu to grow your list is to get readers to take a specific action and using a QR code is a great way to do so. After scanning the code, customers can be taken to a page to input their contact information in return for something of value, like a discount or special offer.
There are various activities you can do for customers to grow your marketing list via your menu, both a paper takeaway menu and the one you use in-house:
#1 Create a Rewards Program
By providing a loyalty or rewards program that asks participants for their contact information, you can compile a list of potential consumers who could be interested in being contacted for marketing purposes.
A restaurant owner can set up a rewards program by:
- Establish the rewards: The restaurant should first choose the reward it wants to provide as a part of the program. These could consist of rebates, gifts, or special deals.
- Set up a rewards tracking system: The restaurant can implement a rewards tracking system, such as a loyalty card or a digital rewards platform.
- Promote the rewards program: To get consumers to participate, the restaurant should advertise its rewards program. This can be done using promotional materials, social media posts, email marketing, or in-store signage.
In general, a rewards program can help to enhance customer loyalty and retention because it encourages customers to keep going to the restaurant to collect prizes. Additionally, it can result in more satisfied customers, more diners, and, eventually, more money for the restaurant.
#2 Collect Email Address at Checkout
At the point of purchase, you can ask customers for their email addresses. You can then use this data to send customers newsletters, limited-time offers, and other promotional materials.
Restaurants can sell their services in a number of ways by using client emails:
- Email newsletters: Restaurants with an email list can send out email newsletters to their subscribers with information on new menu items, special offers, and upcoming events.
- Email campaigns: Restaurants can develop customized email campaigns to advertise particular products or services, such sales or limited-time promotions.
- Personalized emails; Restaurants can send tailored emails to specific patrons based on their past purchases or preferences, which can boost patron engagement and loyalty.
In general, leveraging patron emails to promote a restaurant’s offerings can be a successful strategy to engage a specific audience and increase sales. Additionally, it can aid in fostering customer loyalty and keeping patrons up to date on current events at the business.
#3 Host a Contest or Sweepstakes
Create a list of interested customers who can be contacted for marketing purposes by holding a contest or sweepstakes that requires participants to supply their contact information in order to enter.
The following are three types of competitions or sweepstakes that a restaurant can run:
- Like and share contest: Your restaurant can run a “like and share” contest on social media, inviting followers to do so in exchange for a chance to win a prize like a free meal or a gift card.
- Customer photo contest: Customers can participate in a photo contest by posting pictures of themselves enjoying the food or restaurant ambiance on social media. The winning photo is chosen based on creativity or interest.
- Referrals sweepstakes: The restaurant can offer a sweepstakes entry to those who recommend a friend to dine there. The winner is chosen at random or when a certain threshold is reached.
In conclusion, running contests and sweepstakes may be a fun and interesting method for restaurants to grow their social media following and create excitement. Additionally, they can promote consumer loyalty and draw in new patrons.
#4 Add a Call-to-Action to Your Menu
You may encourage customers to join your email list or follow your social media accounts so that they can receive updates and exclusive offers by including a call to action on the menu.
Three effective call-to-action examples for a restaurant are provided below:
- “Book a table now!”
- “Order online for pickup or delivery!”
- “Join our loyalty program to receive benefits!”
Overall, a great call to action should be crystal clear, succinct, and should compel the reader to take a certain action, such as making a reservation, placing an order online, or signing up for a loyalty program.
Step 5: Use Paid Ads to Get More Customers
Paid advertisements on Google and Facebook can be an effective method for increasing restaurant patronage. The following pointers can help you run paid advertisements on Facebook and Google to increase restaurant business:
#1 Establish Clear Goals
Decide what you want to do with your paid advertisements, whether it’s to increase brand recognition, drive visitors to your website, or produce more online orders. This step enables you to develop more targeted and successful campaigns.
#2 Run Targeted Ads
Facebook and Google both have a variety of targeting choices that let you connect with particular audiences based on things like location, interests, and demographics. Utilize these choices to direct your advertising toward the customers who are most likely to be interested in your restaurant.
#3 Use Effective Calls to Action
Be certain that your advertising have a compelling call-to-action that motivates viewers to do the instruction, such as visiting your website, ordering something online, or making a reservation.
#4 Use Eye-Catching Imagery
The images you use in your advertisements can be just as crucial as the content. To draw in new clients, use high-quality pictures and videos that highlight your menu and setting.
#5 Optimize Ads & Landing Pages for Mobile
Since the majority of consumers browse and place online food orders on their smartphones, it’s critical to make sure your website and online ordering platforms are responsive.
Step 6: Use Google Search Enhancements
Features that add more data or functionality to the Google search results page are known as Google Search enhancements, or sometimes as search features. In general, Google Search aims to make it simpler for people to locate what they’re looking for by giving them access to more functionality and information on the search results page.
These enhancements can include things like:
#1 Knowledge Panels
These are the boxes that show up on the right side of the desktop results page for a search and offer details on a certain subject or company. They often contain details like a brief overview from Wikipedia, contact information, and links to social media channels.
A restaurant can enhance Google’s Knowledge Panel in a number of ways:
- Claim and verify your listing: Claim and verifying your Google Business Profile listing is the first step in maximizing your Knowledge Panel. By doing this, you’ll be able to manage and guarantee the accuracy of the data displayed in your restaurant’s Knowledge Panel.
- Include pertinent business details: Be sure to include pertinent details about your restaurant for the Knowledge Panel, such as its address, operating hours, holiday schedule, menu items, and contact details.
- Get more customer reviews: Since Google considers customer reviews when deciding what information should be included in a Knowledge Panel, it is crucial to encourage customers to do so. Positive ratings can increase your restaurant’s exposure and authority in search results.
Overall, boosting your Knowledge Panel’s details can help your restaurant become more visible and credible in Google search results, which can eventually drive more first-time customers.
#2 Rich Snippets
These are supplementary pieces of data that are displayed alongside your restaurant’s result in Google search that provides additional information about the website.
Restaurants can optimize their sites for the following rich snippets in Google:
- Recipe: You can mark up a recipe on your website with structured data so that it can appear in search results as a recipe card.
- Events: You can mark up event information with structured data to have it displayed as a rich snippet in search results. If your restaurant hosts events like live music, for example, you can display the acts, date and time, pricing, and more.
- Business hours: You can use Local Business structured data to mark up your restaurant’s hours so that they appear as a rich snippet in search results.
- Ratings and reviews: You can have your ratings and reviews displayed as a rich snippet in search results by marking them up with Review schema. This can assist to raise the authority and visibility of your restaurant.
- Menu: You can mark up your restaurant’s menu with structured data to have it appear as a rich snippet in search results if it is complicated or extensive.
Overall, rich snippets can help to improve your restaurant’s exposure and authority in search results, which may ultimately enhance customer traffic and sales.
#3 Google Maps
When looking for a local establishment, Google may provide a map with the establishment’s location highlighted as well as relevant details like its address, phone number, and customer testimonials.
Here are several strategies restaurants can employ to increase their consumer base while using Google Maps:
- Create or claim Google Business Profile: By doing so, you can make sure that the information Google Maps has about your restaurant is accurate and up to date, which may help it draw in more customers.
- Utilize photographs and reviews: You should add photos to, and encourage reviews on, your listing on Google Maps, which can assist to highlight your business and draw in more consumers. To improve your visibility and trustworthiness, ask your customers to post reviews on Google Maps.
- Utilize special deals and promotions: Google Business Profile gives you the option to add special offers and promotions to your listing, which can be seen in Maps and aid in increasing traffic to your restaurant’s website.
Using Google Maps can be a helpful tool for boosting your restaurant’s visibility in search results and bringing in more paying customers.
> Dive Deeper: 7 Steps to Rank Your Restaurant on Google Maps
Google users can navigate through carousels, which are collections of pictures or links that appear horizontally over the top of the search results page. They are frequently employed to display goods, photos, or articles associated with the search term.
In order to be eligible for the carousel search feature, your restaurant needs to meet the following requirements:
- Have a verified Google My Business listing: Your restaurant has to have a verified listing on Google My Business in order to be eligible for the carousel search feature. This gives you control over the data displayed in your listing and allows you to make sure it is correct and current.
- Get high-quality photographs: When deciding whether businesses qualify for the carousel search feature, Google takes high-quality photos into account. Make sure to update your Google My Business listing with high-resolution images of your restaurant and its offerings.
- Have favorable ratings and reviews: When deciding whether businesses qualify for the carousel search function, Google takes ratings and reviews into account. To improve your chances of appearing in the carousel search function, ask your customers to give you good ratings and reviews on Google.
- Use structured data: Structured data is required to assist search engines comprehend the meaning and context of your website content. Structured data is a means to mark up the content of your website with particular tags. The visibility and clarity of your restaurant’s listing in search results can be improved with the usage of structured data, which may improve your chances of being featured in the carousel search function.
For good reason, a restaurant needs a marketing strategy that sets it apart from its competitors and expands its customer base.
One reason to have a solid marketing strategy is to stay ahead of the competition. The restaurant industry is quite cutthroat, so using a marketing plan to differentiate your establishment from the others can help you draw in and keep consumers.
Additionally, branding is critical for success and a well thought out strategy can embrace this marketing facet. A marketing plan can assist in creating and sustaining your brand identity and messaging that makes it stand out.
Finally, a proper marketing strategy is key for new customer acquisition. A marketing plan can assist in bringing in new business, while also cultivating a foundation of devoted patrons for your restaurant.