Irrespective of the location or cuisine, restaurants face fierce competition. As of 2019, there are more than 116,800 food and drink premises in Great Britain.
You don’t just compete with other restaurants, but also with supermarkets (who sell packaged or half-cooked foods), food trucks, and convenience stores.
To outdo your competitors and thrive in the restaurant business, you need various smart marketing strategies that would help you get more customers.
Here are the six best restaurant marketing ideas to attract more customers:
1- Boost Your Social Media Presence
With over 45 million active users, social media proves to be a great place to promote your restaurant. Set up business accounts on social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Once you’ve created accounts on social media, follow these tips to make your presence felt and attract customers:
- Write an intriguing bio. Mention what your restaurant is all about (e.g., cuisine).
- Add key details related to your restaurant in the “highlights” section. For example, El Cartel, a Mexican restaurant in Edinburgh, has a well-written bio and highlight section. They have mentioned availability (take away and click & collect), website URL, menu, and how to order in its highlights.
- Post mouth-watering shots of your menu items, restaurant’s interiors, chef, and behind the scenes of what goes on in your kitchen.
- Highlight happy customers to encourage them to revisit your restaurant. Check the “tagged” section and messages (including requests) to identify people who have mentioned you on their posts or stories. Re-post their pictures from your restaurant account to highlight them. It also acts as social proof for your business.
- Notify your customers about upcoming events on your restaurant, special menus for the day (use stories for it), and exclusive offers.
- Use the right hashtags when posting on social media to widen your reach. For example, if your post is about pasta, use hashtags like #pasta, #bestpastaintheuk, #italianpasta, etc.
Tip: Stay super active on social media and engage with your followers (who tag you or comment on your posts).
2- Convert Your Existing Customers Into Promoters
Your existing customers are your biggest asset. With a little push, you can convert them into promoters of your restaurant.
Here are some ways to turn your existing customers to promoters:
- Treat them well every time they visit your restaurant. Try to recognise them, what they previously ordered, and any specific instructions they gave (e.g., less sweet, spicier food, etc.). Such actions make customers feel valued.
- Give them exclusive discounts or free desserts for being a regular customer.
- Create a loyalty program to encourage your customers to visit repeatedly. They are also likely to inform their friends and family about the benefits associated with your loyalty program. 40% of the sales in Starbucks happen because of its rewards program.
- In the end, ask the customer how their experience was. For online orders, send emails (or call the customer) to know if there was any problem with the food. If there was, try to compensate the customer for showing them that you care for them.
- Incentivise your customers to post about your restaurant. For example, you can ask them to check-in on Facebook or post a photo on Instagram for a discount.
Note: Trying to convert first-time visitors into promoters is not a good idea. It might hurt your objective, leading them to post negatively about your restaurant.
3- Run Geo-Targeted Ads
Geo-targeted ads are yet another great way to reach potential customers and attract them to your restaurant. It is recommended to run mobile ads only as most users use their phones to look for nearby dining options.
Besides, you get all kinds of customisation options in mobile ads. For example, you can increase your bids in Google Ads during a specific time of the day (lunch, dinner, or snacks) to increase your chances of appearing for your target keywords.
Also, consider running ads on social media to promote your restaurant, offers, or the latest food on the menu.
4- Use Email Newsletters to Offer Coupons and Discounts
Emails help you reach your customers directly and build a long-term relationship with them.
Use email newsletters to send special offers and discounts to your customers to encourage them to visit your restaurant. You can also use emails to inform them about any upcoming events you are hosting (or joining).
For example, Yo Sushi sends discount codes and a gift to its customers on their birthday. They wish the customer “happy birthday” (which is a great way to build a long-term relationship) and give them a special offer to encourage them to spend their special day in their restaurant.
Tip: Send emails to customers who haven’t visited your restaurant for a long-time to know the reason. It makes them feel valued as you have not forgotten them.
5- Join Local Events
Local events are a great place to spread the word about your restaurant and attract customers.
Check if any event is going to be held in your neighbourhood that allows food stalls. Set up a stall of your restaurant to sell your best items. Make sure you have a huge banner to advertise your restaurant. Also, give your customers a visiting card (with your restaurant’s address) to encourage them to visit.
If possible, host events in your restaurant to rope in customers. You can host:
- Food and wine tasting events
- Live music events
- Charity events
- Invite local bands
- Cooking classes
- Live sports on television
6- Partner With Food Delivery Apps
Over the last few years, the use of third-party food delivery services, such as Just Eat, Food Hub, etc. has skyrocketed. By partnering with food delivery apps, you increase your audience base and get more orders.
Another benefit of partnering with food delivery apps is that you can process more orders in less time as customers won’t be forced to wait around for your staff to serve the food.
However, make sure to encourage online customers to leave reviews. The more positive reviews you have, the more orders you will get.
As a restaurant owner, you need to market your restaurant continuously to attract more customers. The six tips mentioned above can help you widen your audience base and get more sales. However, make sure to test each tactic and optimise the ones that are not working. Happy Restaurant Marketing!