For many restaurants, great marketing is the difference between being successful, and struggling.
But how do you actually market a restaurant? Well, it all starting with a marketing strategy.
Creating a successful restaurant marketing strategy helps to drive customers to your restaurant and keep current customers coming back.
So what does it take to create one?
What is a Restaurant Marketing Strategy?
A restaurant marketing plan is a multi-faceted breakdown of how you will entice people into your restaurant.
You should start the process by brainstorming to determine what points you can use to draw people in. Even if you think an idea won't work, write it down. You just never know what the future will hold and how these ideas might come into play later.
Some examples of this include:
- Local events that could lead to an annual marketing point
- Unique menu items that appeal to local individuals and visitors
- Tourist's needs that your restaurant can meet
- Special demographics, such as college students
- Budget-friendly or value-based offerings
- Family appeal for people with children
- Fundraising possibilities for non-profits or other groups
- Farm-to-table availability if you're locally sourcing ingredients
- Theme days or months
- Accommodations for large groups
- Seasonal or weather-based advertisements
When you're coming up with a marketing strategy, you should remember that it will include more than one type of ad. Many restaurants have several campaigns going at the same time to bring in the most customers.
Restaurant Marketing Ideas and Examples
The marketing strategy you use has to be unique to your restaurant. Online campaigns are particularly effective because you can target them to reach your intended audience. Think about these strategies as you're making your plans.
Themes for Your Ad Campaigns
Some restaurants are built on certain themes, which can be used as a focus of your ad campaigns. A bar and grill might advertise wings at a special price during certain sporting events, such as discounts during college or NFL football games.
Consider adding a monthly theme that includes special dishes during that month. You can use this as the basis of an ad campaign. You do need to consider special things like pricing, ease of implementation, and effect on the business if you're going to do this. It may require significant planning if you're going to do things like alter the décor for the month. You also need to ensure you'll be able to get the ingredients for the dishes during that period.
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Many people enjoy supporting local businesses. If you're purchasing ingredients or other supplies from local sources, you can base an ad campaign on that fact. This may encourage locals to visit your restaurant since they can support more than one business with a single purchase.
If you choose this type of ad campaign, it's best to keep the advertising within the area of the restaurant and the small businesses you're purchasing from. You should train your employees to be prepared to answer questions about what "local" means to your business and what you're purchasing.
This is also a chance to launch a seasonal campaign that's based on the produce available at that time. For example, if you're buying strawberries from a local farm, you can advertise fresh strawberries with a list of the dishes that include them.
If your restaurant is in a college town, you can handle the marketing strategy for them by advertising special deals with a college identification card. Another option is to include all the information about how they can order online and have the food delivered to them. This might be helpful for students who don't have their own vehicle and would prefer to have food brought right to them. Cuboh enables you to accept deliveries from different companies without any extra stress.
Catering to college students doesn't have to be too costly. Contact fraternities or sororities, student life, and other campus-based services to find out if they have any advertising opportunities you can take part in. Talk to students when they come into your restaurant to find out if there are any sponsorship opportunities with the clubs they're involved in.
You can't lose the customers once they visit your restaurant once. Impeccable customer service will keep people coming back, but some may want to feel like they've valued. These customers may appreciate loyalty benefits. Reward programs for loyal customers are highly effective. You can either do this yourself or work with a third-party app to get it done.
Another thing to consider with the in-house marketing is that you want your customers to tell their friends and family members about your establishment. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to do this is to make their experiences as pleasant as possible. The food should taste amazing, the ambiance must be welcoming, and the service has to be personalized.
Social Media Inclusion
Social media is a very inexpensive way of marketing that should be a cornerstone of your strategy. You can hire a contractor to handle this for you if you aren't able to do it yourself. The ads should be targets on different platforms. Keywords and hashtags are also important.
Be sure you think about the free social media advertising your restaurant can receive. People love to post about what they're doing. Make the dishes you serve picture-perfect so they'll want to show off their meal on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and SnapChat. Some might even want to write a Google review. Harness this free advertising.
You'll likely have to tweak the marketing strategy often. Take a look at what's working and what isn't. You can make the changes you feel are necessary to make the most of your marketing budget.