There are a lot of mistakes that are made in restaurant marketing, but some are more egregious than others. Today, we’re breaking down the most common restaurant marketing mistakes that we see time and again. After all - we want you to succeed, and marketing is one of the most significant steps to creating a successful, long-term business.
Now - let’s talk about restaurant marketing mistakes.
As a forewarning, most of these will be directly related to technology. If you’re one of the businesses that have opted to forgo internet presence and modern technology, you will feel singled out.
I don’t want you to think it’s personal - because it’s not. The truth of the matter is that each of these mistakes we highlight is often quite easily remedied, but they affect so much that most people aren’t even aware that they can influence.
So, let’s get that marketing campaign up and in the black - yeah?
This is one of the most common mistakes that we find. You’ll notice that the first three mistakes are all highly intertwined - this is because of something we call Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The long and short of it is that SEO, whether you like it or not, affects how (if at all) people can find your business.
The three pillars of SEO in terms of businesses are:
As spoiled by the headline, we’ll focus on the website first. This is where you should invest most of your time, as it’s pretty essential. While you’re more than welcome to build a site yourself using a service like WordPress or Squarespace, it’s worth noting that there are more straightforward methods out there.
If you don’t have the time to build and run a website yourself (I don’t blame you there), hiring a marketing or design team to do it for you is an excellent approach. It ensures that you don’t need to learn SEO overnight, along with all of its finer workings, and allows the professionals to do what they do best.
When building a website, you need it to meet the following criteria:
Have online ordering
Have high-quality pictures
Understand the basics of SEO
In short, understand and (crucially) have a functional website for your restaurant - it’s one of the most significant factors in restaurant marketing.
Love it or hate it, social media is an integral part of our life in this day and age - and that applies even more to marketing.
We already talked above about why social media is crucial (SEO), but let’s discuss the mistakes we see in restaurant social media marketing:
1. Trying to run social media alone (as a business owner or chef)
2. Letting a non-professional run socials
3.Not responding to your community
4. Generalizing the audience
Ultimately, the best way to correctly manage social media is to do the opposite of each of the points above. Interact with your audience regularly and recognize that they’re all different - meaning you will need different tactics for various audiences. And seriously, don’t try to run it yourself. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
You wouldn’t try to fix your restaurant’s gas lines yourself, so why would you put its public image in your inexperienced hands? Pay a professional, and you’ll see far better (and faster) results, guaranteed.
This is a simple one. Google allows businesses to claim their listing - though you should have done that ages ago. If you haven’t, it’s simple:
The only significant caveat for Google Business marketing is ensuring you regularly update it with accurate information.
Essentially, treat it as your second website - all hours, menu changes, and updates should be on Google - and for the love of all that’s holy, update your website if it changes.
Traditional marketing is a double-edged sword. When used correctly, it can have excellent results. But when relied on too heavily, it can destroy a business’s brand recognition. So, for this section, the things to avoid in traditional restaurant marketing are as follows:
Relying too heavily on something that worked 10+ years ago
Assuming that the community will “catch up”
As for things to keep in mind for proper restaurant marketing, you likely already know these.
It’s okay to accompany 21st-century marketing tactics with old-school ones. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
This is the one that irks me (and most marketing professionals) the most. As I said earlier, you wouldn’t try to fix a busted gas or sewage line yourself. No, you’d call a professional to do it correctly the first time and, notably, faster than you ever could.
So why on God’s green earth would you assume you can do a marketer’s job? Most reputable marketing agencies have dozens, if not 50+ years of combined experience, and refuse to hire individuals who haven’t at least acquired a Master’s in communication. They do this because they take pride in their work and, importantly, because they’re professionals.
The truth of the matter is that marketing can get very expensive, very quickly. So while I’m not saying to just… throw money at the problem until it goes away, I am saying to be strategic.
Think about what your business lacks, reach out to real professionals, and ask what to do. Even if one marketing agency can’t help you, they’re likely to point you in the direction of someone who can - or at the very least, provide tips on where to start.
Ultimately, restaurant marketing is an ever-increasingly convoluted beast. It requires that business owners not only create and run a functional business but promote it constantly. Many restauranteurs make the mistake of trying to do it all themselves - but now that you’ve read this, hopefully, you won’t make that same mistake.
Knowing when to ask for help is absolutely vital to your business’s health, just as knowing when to hire an extra line cook or hostess is going to affect the restaurant’s performance. Similarly, recognizing when it’s time to ask professional marketing and/or web design teams to step in is key to your business’s long-term success.
If you do opt to do it all yourself, you’ll need to learn how to manage a social media account, a Google Business profile, and your restaurant’s website - and that’s a lot. Cuboh can help with a swathe of seamless, simple tools to ensure your site is healthy, your menu appealing, and to track a few handy data sets to further to boost your business’s prevalence in the community.