The emergence of digital technology has changed the restaurant/hotel marketing landscape. With the cut-throat competition in the restaurant business, you will need to give it all to make it successful. Restaurant and hotel owners do not rely on conventional methods of marketing anymore but have adapted the digital way of marketing. A look at social media statistics proves that more restaurant owners are shifting to digital media to market their brands.
- 90% of people research before dining.
- 57% of people view restaurant websites before selecting to dine.
- 33% of people view other guests reviews prior to dining.
(Source: Upserve Restaurant Insider)
While some restaurants have got their marketing strategies right, and many are yet hit the right chord. No matter how appetizing your food is or special your hospitality is, your efforts will go unnoticed if you are not driving the traffic to your restaurant. Your online presence will set your restaurant apart.
Marketing is the most important ingredient to find customers and retain them apart from savory dishes. Here, we dish out 20 marketing strategies and ideas that will help you grow your business and drive traffic from hungry stomachs everywhere!
1. Show Off Your Staff
Your staff is an asset to your business in the age of robotic customer service reps. Leverage their skills, personalities, expertise, passion or personal networks. Give your customers a glimpse into your world by posting sharing posts about them. This gives your audience a sense of who you are and what your restaurant is. Let your employees also re-share the post on their network, this will boost the reach and engagement. Flaunt your happy, smiling and joyful workers which will give you recognition.
Example, you can post a picture of your pastry chef with his favorite dish.
2. Behind The Scenes Scenario
Let your guests have a look into what goes behind the scene in preparing a mouth-watering dish. Film a short video or take photos of your staff in action and put up on social media to let the curious minds of the guests get a sneak-peak into the inner-workings of your restaurant.
Example, share a photo of how you source from a local farmer or show what goes into preparing a popular dish.
3. Show Off Restaurant Features
Hospitality business is all about visibility. Show off the best part of your restaurant, unique paintings or special part which shows why it is worth visiting the restaurant.
4. Show Off Customer Reviews
Reviews impact profoundly on your business, a negative review may turn off a new or returning client. Often, small restaurant owners do not respond or skip to respond to reviews on Yelp, Zomato, Trip Advisor or Google. However, it is equally important to respond to a positive as well as a negative review. Highlight the positive reviews and share it by providing a link to the original review.
Respond promptly and in a polite manner to negative reviews by apologizing and expressing regret for the unfavorable experience or request the reviewer to get in touch at their convenience for more information to salvage the situation. You can consider sending the critic a gift card, hoping to get them back to the door for a second chance. This will have a positive impact on the reviewer and in favor of the business as they would be impressed with the generosity and knowing that the restaurant owners value their opinion and are taking measures to improve it.
5. Share Yelp and Zomato Pages
A website, as well as an app that publishes crowd-sourced reviews about businesses, have tremendous power in the restaurant industry. Positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Zomato can do wonders for your business. Even if you don’t have an account on Yelp or Zomato, people can still review your restaurant. Therefore, it is advisable for the restaurant owners to be proactive and have an account on these sites and update with the following basic details:
- Price range for two
- Innumerable photos
Also, understand how to handle positive and negative feedback and thank your customers for taking time out to review it.
6. Use Instagram
Use Instagram to promote the best visual content. Show off the photos of your restaurant, staff, food, guests enjoying the ambiance or other activities that your fan base can enjoy. Use the game of hashtags and memes to create some fun with the fans. Ask questions to engage your followers or create contests where you ask your followers to tag your restaurant when they visit you with a photo. This helps to widen the reach and make an interactive content.
7. Share Positive Press
If your restaurant has a mention in news outlet or magazines, show off by sharing it on your website and social media. Fans and followers will spread the word and will be influenced to visit you when they see trusted sources celebrating your restaurant.
8. Set Up Google Alerts
Google Alerts notify you if your business appears in any new piece of content online. This will help you track who is talking about you or have mentioned about you and your accolades.
9. Cross Promote
There are many social media channels to promote your restaurant. It is not necessary that you may many followers on all platforms. For instance, you have a huge following on Instagram v/s Facebook. Here is the chance to cross-promote other channels on the popular social channel.
10. Promote User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is an excellent strategy to develop personal and friendly engagement with the users. A little digging on social media channels will surprise you with beautiful photographs taken and stories shared by your customers. If you are wondering how to find out, here we go:
- Search by hashtags with your restaurant name.
- Look up your location on Instagram to find photos of your restaurant.
- Check out if you are tagged in any posts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- Search by your restaurant name on Facebook or Twitter to know if users mentioned you without a hashtag.
Another engaging way is to host a photo sharing competition for your customers to share their favorite meal at your restaurant/ hotel and share the submissions to a dedicated page. Draw a random lucky winner and reward him with a free appetizer or discount coupons.
11. Share Your Blogs
Featuring a blog is an excellent way to build your fan base and interact with the customer. No, you are not asked to let cat out of the bag share ingredients of your secret recipe but simple and basic recipes on the menu. It adds voice to your brand and you can update weekly or bi-weekly. Example of blog topics can be :
- Struggles and Success stories of your Restaurant
- Amazing stories of your events
- Recipes of healthy dishes
- Green policies followed by your Restaurant.
Write on such topics that captivate the attention of your followers. Make sure you link the blog to your website as it will help in your rankings on Google search engine and create a fan base.
Example, Starbucks has its own “Starbucks Channel” where they share in-depth blogs about the locations where new coffee is sourced, video content, and behind the scenes.
A quick tip: Write a blog of minimum 1000 words depending on the content. Google looks quality or over quantity but it is always this way with Google algorithms and more is more.
12. Food Blogger Outreach
One of the most underutilized marketing strategies is inviting a food blogger to your restaurant to give you a try and politely offer them a free meal or an appetizer. You can ask them to review your restaurant and share their experience online.
These food bloggers have an established fan base and influence them helping you to get the attention and wider reach. You cannot outrightly ask for a positive review which will be ethically wrong but can ask for an objective restaurant review.
13. Make Announcements In A Creative Way
Posting announcements on social media in a general way is common but you can make it creative to stand out. Here are ideas on how it can be done:
- Highlight new seasonal item added to the menu.
- Show off any award you have received.
- Run special promotions or offer for special occasions or festivals like Christmas or Valentine Day.
- Let your followers know if you are hiring and congratulate the newest employee on board, sharing their background and work they will be doing in the restaurant.
- Build buzz around the opening of the new chain soon at another location.
14. Foodie Photos
If you check Instagram or Pinterest, you will understand what #foodporn is about. Visual Content is high on demand and nothing best than posting high-quality photos of finger licking and delicious dishes of your restaurant across social media and website.
15. Video Content
Video Content is the most powerful and effective marketing strategy. As per Animoto reports, 76.5%of marketers are getting desired results with video marketing.
Though it is time-consuming to produce, the traction is high. Since the attention span is decreasing, you can produce a short video for social media (60-second video for Instagram) and longer videos on YouTube and the company website. Once you have published the video, you can opt for paid advertising to boost video visibility. The call-to-action can drive viewers to your website to know more about your restaurant.
Few video-making ideas like you can take a tour of the restaurant or hotel or shoot a recipe for the audience or let the viewers know the staff and their work.
Example, Footage captured in this video about the Gordon Ramsay Restaurant Group.
16. Share Your Menu
Customers do their research online before dining out. Entice your customers by sharing the menu of the cuisine awaiting at the restaurant. Don’t make the users struggle to search for a menu- publish a high, quality, sleek, accurate menu. Make sure you also publish on your website and share recommendations including bright and mouth-watering photos or video as this is the first piece of information users will look for on visiting the website.
Highlight your vegan, vegetarian and allergy-friendly dishes. Use hashtag while introducing new dishes on the menu to reach new people.
17. Show Off Your Delivery Partners
A very important and vital aspect of the restaurant business. Today, online users along with the menu, check out the availability of online delivery services. It simplifies the online ordering process and discovers a chance of getting new customers.
18. Offer Discounts & Coupons
Offering coupons and discounts is an attractive way to lure your customer to enjoy a meal at your restaurant.
Example, Offer a free dessert to first time visitor or x% discount over a meal.
19. Promote Online Reservation
You should have to have an option of online reservation on your website. Alternatively, you can sign up for Open Table – an online reservation tool which allows customers to book a table online for your restaurant. You can also tap the loyal fanbase of Open Table.
20. Geo-Targeted Ads
Local is the name of the game. Most people prefer to dine at a restaurant near their home. Therefore, invest in geo-targeted ads which will save you money and ensures that users in the specific or nearby area see your ads and eliminate non-relevant clicks.
21. Mobile Ads
Orders placed via smartphone and mobile apps will become a $38 billion industry by 2020. Established brands like Dominos have developed a mobile app which is the key to the success of their marketing strategy. Restaurants are the best candidates for mobile ads, as users are always referring to their phone first to search for nearby dining options. Mobile ads are less expensive and have more conversion rates.
22. Support Causes & Community Activities
Promote local activities that the customer would care about. Support causes or charities and publishes about it encouraging the customers to make a donation for their latest campaigns.
23. Send Email Newsletters
A monthly newsletter with a link directly to sign up page should suffice to give the latest updates, discuss new menu items, special discounts or celebrate occasions.
24. Get Your Tweet Timing Right
Twitter can be a true treasure only if the timing of the tweet is right. Craft, schedule and publish tweets suitable at different times to target specifically breakfast, lunch, and dinner crowd.
25. Source Local Ingredients
Share the story of ingredients you source from on social media. Customers would be delighted if they know that the ingredients sourced are grown local and fresh. It will create a positive impact on the community and brand. Example, you can share photos of vegetables harvested or an interview with the local supplier.
Wrapping It Up
Here’s an infographic to summarize this blog article:
Now you are equipped with few marketing and advertising ideas on social media for your restaurant. The performance of your marketing strategies depends a lot on planning and execution. Hire an expert to help you prepare content for your restaurant marketing.
Hopefully, you can put these tips to use for the success of your restaurant and capitalize on the industry trends.
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About The Author
Neha is a content writer at Visual Deck who writes on the topics related to Content Creation and Marketing. Her journey started as a financial professional but she soon realized her passion for writing and is now living her dream as a content writer. She is geeky and friendly. Her goal is to enlighten the audience on various topics through her writing style.