Every modern business needs to be able to fiercely compete online if they hope to stay relevant in search engine results pages. Your restaurant's website definitely needs to be informative and include your contact information, location, and plenty of pictures showing off your brand image and ambiance for new customers. Of course, these days, you'll also need to offer online ordering and include detailed pictures and product descriptions of your menu items. It's probably a good idea to put new menu items front and center as well, so your loyal customers are always updated on any changes. Of course, online promotion for restaurants of all sizes needs to go well beyond their own websites.
Social media is one of the best ways for small restaurants and large chains alike to engage their customers and keep them informed of everything going on. You should absolutely update your Facebook page regularly and include as much information about your restaurant as possible on business aggregates like Google My Business and Yelp. You might even want to put some of your items up on Facebook ordering as well. You can't stop here, however. One social media platform that's taking the restaurant industry by storm lately is Instagram. This mobile app is incredibly popular with potential customers of all ages and backgrounds, and restaurant owners can't afford to miss out on the online sales that this giant can bring in. Once you're comfortable with your own website, here's how you can start growing your restaurant's Instagram following and take advantage of the benefits.
1. Stay consistent with your brand image.
For any business, brand image is of the utmost importance, and you need to demonstrate this with your Instagram content. Only include photos that are consistent with your restaurant operation, and avoid any picture with an unusual premise that might confuse your customer base. You want to nurture customer relationships, and if they're choosing to follow you on social media, it's because they like what you do. You wouldn't post irrelevant pictures on your restaurant website, so avoid doing it on your Instagram as well.
Most restaurant owners would likely focus on showing the restaurant experience from the perspective of a guest. This means showing off pictures of your most impressive-looking or popular items that attract repeat customers or the atmosphere people can expect when they dine in. If you like to have your patrons dine while listening to live music, for example, you can focus on some of the acts or bands that perform on location.
2. Be active within your niche.
If you want to maximize your followers online, it isn't enough to just post good pictures with relevant captions every day. It's called social media for a reason, and you need to participate in other ways. One of the best ways to do this is to seek out other accounts relevant to your target niche and like and comment on their posts. This doesn't need to be done during business hours, of course—just hop on your mobile device, and start building connections any time. People often visit sites and mobile apps like Instagram to find things to do, and your restaurant is a perfect contender.
3. Use calls to action in your captions.
While just blatantly asking for likes and follows will come off as desperate and fail to get you followers, you can still practically do that in a different way. If you're a seafood restaurant, for example, your captions can include a call to action for people in the local area to swing by and try some of your most popular menu items (don't forget to include your location as well). If you want, you can do promotions on Instagram as well, offering discounts or coupons to customers who come in or order takeout during a certain window of time. Guest who have a pleasant ordering experience and enjoy your food will be inspired to follow you.
Of course, you can also take this opportunity to showcase your other social media accounts and request customers to follow you on those as well. Every bit helps, after all.
4. Use your POS system to gain real-time insights.
This is a more roundabout way to get followers, but any modern restaurant that offers convenient takeout options and online ordering should be using a point of sale system (POS). A POS can give you valuable insights into your most popular menu items with its instant tracking of credit card payments and other transaction fees. This also makes inventory management easier, since it will always be clear when you'll need to contact your vendor for more supplies.
A POS is even better with integration with a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. These systems make it easy to automatically store and retrieve customer data, so you can determine who your best customers are. This makes it even easier to create loyalty programs for repeat customers and inspire further customer loyalty. It also helps you with email marketing, so you don't have to bet everything on social media. With intelligent insights from your POS system, you can determine what people love most about your restaurant and focus more on those elements in your future Instagram posts.
5. Show off delivery options and other conveniences.
Convenience is one of the most important aspects of good customer service, and the COVID-19 restrictions have made customers used to using an online order system for pickup and food delivery. If you're offering curbside pickup and delivery at your restaurant, you need to do everything in your power to make sure the whole world knows it.
Many restaurants decide to partner with online ordering platforms like ChowNow, Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates. While these delivery systems provide convenient mobile ordering that's great for customers, they also charge commission fees for delivery orders, which might eat into your revenue stream. Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to unite your online order system and all your delivery platforms in one location for a flat monthly fee?
That's the exact service we provide at Cuboh. For a single install fee, we can offer you seamless POS integration with all of your delivery apps in one convenient location. You'll also have one dashboard for convenient reports from your online ordering software and POS. After that, it's just a monthly fee with no additional costs. By simplifying your ordering system, we free up your team members to focus on actually making the food and ensuring that you don't have any 86'd items. Boost your bottom line and your Instagram follower count by offering the most convenient service available.