The restaurant industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the United States. Every year, it generates billions of dollars in revenue and employs millions of people.
According to the National Restaurant Association, there are now over 1 million single-location full-service restaurants in the US. 4.7% growth only this year, 2022.
This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including an increase in population, disposable income levels, and food ordering apps.
Investing in the marketing of your restaurant is not an option now, it's a must-do. Don't know how to start? Don't worry we have covered all the aspects you need to start your restaurant marketing today. Keep reading!
1. Work On The Interior And The Ambiance
The interior and ambiance of a restaurant can play a significant role in attracting customers and creating a positive dining experience. There are a few simple ways that restaurants can improve their interiors and ambiance to make them more inviting.
First, the lighting should be warm and inviting, not too bright or too dim.
Second, the furniture should be comfortable and stylish, with enough space between tables to avoid feeling cramped.
Finally, the décor should be cohesive and add to the overall atmosphere of the restaurant.
2. Get Listed On Food Delivery Apps
According to a study by the Food Marketing Institute, over half of all American adults have used a food delivery service at least once. This trend is only likely to grow in the coming years, as more and more people lead busy lives and prefer the convenience of having their meals delivered.
For restaurants, partnering with a food delivery service can be an excellent way to attract new customers and boost sales. Not only will it make your restaurant more visible to potential diners, but it will also make it easier for them to try your food.
Some of the most popular food delivery apps in the United States include Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
3. Set Up A Food Truck
Setting up a food truck in another potential location can help restaurants to attract more customers and increase brand awareness.
Setting up a food truck in a new location can help draw new customers who may not have otherwise visited the restaurant. Additionally, food trucks can help to raise awareness of the restaurant's brand by appearing in new areas and reaching new audiences.
In today's competitive market, any advantage that a restaurant can give itself will help to increase its chances of success. As such, initiating a food truck is an effective way to expand a restaurant's reach and boost its bottom line.
4. Source Fresh Ingredients From Local Suppliers
In an era when more and more people are interested in eating fresh and healthy, restaurants that work with local suppliers find themselves with a distinct advantage.
Customers are willing to pay more for meals that they know are made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, and they're also more likely to come back for repeat visits.
Local suppliers are often able to provide higher-quality ingredients than those found at large, commercial distributors. And because local growers generally use sustainable practices, diners can be assured that their meal is not only delicious but also environmentally friendly.
5. Entertain Special Occasions
Generally, most people think of restaurants as places to go for a meal, but they are also great venues for events. By hosting events, you can attract new customers and create a buzz around your business.
Some of the special events that restaurants can host are birthday parties, baby showers, book clubs, business meetings, and Christmas parties.
By offering discounts and other incentives, you can encourage more people to choose your restaurant for their special occasions, and enjoy a memorable dining experience.
It will also help you to generate word-of-mouth marketing, as guests are likely to tell their friends and family about their positive experiences.
6. Offer Variety And More Options
Social Media and fitness influencers have made people more conscious of their health and what they eat. They are now more aware of the importance of eating healthy and nutritious food. As a result, many restaurants are starting to change their menus to suit the dietary needs of their customers.
For example, some restaurants are now offering vegetarian and vegan options, as well as gluten-free and dairy-free options. By offering a wider range of options, restaurants can attract a wider range of customers.
In addition, by providing information about the nutritional content of their dishes, restaurants can help their customers make informed choices about what they eat.
7. Free Wi-Fi
Given the ubiquity of mobile devices, it's not surprising that people want to be able to stay connected while they eat and take pictures of it, and post them on social media.
People would love free wifi to remain online and save their data. Also, it would attract customers who like to work or study while having their meal.
8. Prioritize Your Customer Service
Nowadays, diners have many choices available, and they will usually go with the option that provides the best overall experience.
Good customer service starts with a friendly and welcoming staff. Greeting customers as soon as they come in and seating them promptly are both important components of providing a positive first impression.
While it may require an investment of time and resources to train employees and create systems to provide excellent customer service, the benefits are clear.
In addition, word-of-mouth advertising is more likely to generate new business if customers have had a pleasant experience. Good customer service can also help to build brand loyalty, which is essential for long-term success.
9. Improve Your Food Photography
In today's social media-driven world, diners are increasingly influenced by the images they see of food online. By taking care to stage and photograph their dishes appealingly, restaurants can make their food look more appetizing and inviting, drawing in new customers.
While it may require an initial investment of time and money, improving your restaurant's food photography is a worthwhile endeavor that will pay off in increased sales.
10. Contemporize Your In-Store Signage
First and foremost, in-store signage is one of the most important marketing tools for any restaurant owner. It is the physical embodiment of the brand and it is what customers will see first when they enter the store.
Good in-store signage should be consistent with the overall branding of the restaurant and should be eye-catching and appealing. In addition, they should be legible and clear, so that customers can easily read them from a distance.
Keep in mind that they should be updated regularly to reflect changes in promotions or menu items.
11. Create A Loyalty Program
A loyalty program is a system that rewards customers for their continued patronage of a business. This could take the form of discounts, freebies, or special treatment.
A well-designed loyalty program can help to increase customer visit frequency, which is beneficial for businesses as it can lead to increased sales.
Additionally, loyalty programs can also help to improve customer retention rates, as customers are more likely to continue patronizing a restaurant that offers them rewards for their loyalty
The rewards should be attractive enough to encourage customers to participate, but not so generous that they eat into profits. With a little thought and planning, you can create a loyalty program that will help keep your restaurant thriving for years to come.
12. Provide Live Entertainment
Restaurant businesses can use entertainment such as Trivia Nights and Open Mic to attract more customers. By providing an engaging and fun experience, businesses can encourage customers to come back more often and recommend the restaurant to others.
Many restaurants use Live Music as a way to create a more festive and exciting atmosphere. Stand-Up Comedy is another popular option for creating a fun and vibrant environment.
Hosting such entertaining activities can help your business to build a sense of community among regulars, which can further solidify the restaurant as a go-to destination.
Online Marketing Ideas
13. Increase Following On Social Media
Social media has become an essential tool for businesses of all types, and restaurants are no exception. By creating a presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, restaurants can reach a wider audience and promote their brand to potential customers.
In addition, social media can be used to drive sales by offering special deals and promotions. With so many benefits, it's no wonder that more and more restaurants are using social media to reach new audiences and increase sales.
Some of the most popular social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
It is one of the most popular social media platforms with over 2 billion active users. It's an excellent way to reach a large number of people. You can use Facebook to create a page for your restaurant, share photos and menus, and promote special events or offers.
You can also use Facebook advertising to target specific groups of people who may be interested in your restaurant.
Another popular platform is Twitter. With its focus on short, concise messages, it's a great way to share updates about your restaurant or give customers a sneak preview of what's on the menu.
You can also use Twitter to interact directly with customers, answer their questions, and resolve any complaints they may have.
Its highly visual nature makes it ideal for sharing mouth-watering photos of your food. You can also use Instagram Stories to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at your restaurant or run promotional campaigns.
Finally, don't forget about Yelp. While it's not strictly a social media platform, it's an important tool for helping customers find your restaurant and learn more about what others think of it. Encourage your customers to leave reviews and ratings on Yelp to help improve your visibility and attract new business.
14. Ask For Reviews
In the hospitality industry, reviews can make or break a business. Good reviews can attract new customers and help to build brand credibility, while bad reviews can dissuade potential customers and damage a restaurant's reputation.
As a result, it is essential for restaurants to encourage their customers to leave reviews and to respond promptly to both positive and negative feedback.
Social media is an excellent platform for asking for reviews, as customers are often already engaged with the restaurant's brand on these channels. Further, many review sites allow businesses to post links directly on their websites, making it easy for customers to leave feedback.
15. Run Online Advertisements
In today's internet-driven world, it's more important than ever for restaurants to invest in paid ads. Customers increasingly turn to the internet when they're looking for new places to eat, and a strong advertisement can persuade them to choose your restaurant.
Use paid ads on multiple platforms to ensure your restaurant's visibility to potential customers when they're scrolling through their feeds.
Investing in paid ads on platforms like Google, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram can help you to reach a wider audience and promote your restaurant to people who might not otherwise be aware of it.
It also allows you to target specific audiences based on demographics and other statistics.
16. Do Local SEO
Local SEO is a process through which businesses can increase their visibility in search engine results for searches conducted in a specific geographic area. For restaurants, Local SEO is particularly effective as people search for restaurants in their local area.
One method is to create a Google My Business listing. It's a free listing that provides basic information about your business, such as your hours, phone number, location, and address. People can leave their reviews on your profile which also helps in improving ranking.
Also, make sure your restaurant's NAP (name, address, and phone number) information is accurate and consistent across the web.
Another great method for improving your local SEO is to encourage customer reviews. Online reviews can have a big impact on your visibility, so it's important to make it easy for customers to leave them. You can do this by setting up profiles on popular review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Finally, get listed on Foursquare, a tool that helps customers find nearby businesses and attractions.
17. Work With A Community Manager
A community manager can help to connect the restaurant with its local community, fostering goodwill and creating a positive brand association.
By engaging with customers on social media platforms and responding to reviews, they can help turn a negative sentiment into positive PR.
In addition, they can help to promote special events, and deals driving foot traffic and more sales.
18. Run Social Media Contests
There are many ways that restaurants can use social media to increase their following and create buzz around their business.
One great way to do this is by running contests. Contests are a great way to engage with your followers, create excitement, and encourage people to spread the word about your restaurant.
Here are some ideas for contests that restaurants can run on social media:
Recipe contest: Ask your followers to submit their favorite recipes that feature your signature dishes. The best recipe will be chosen as the winner and featured on your restaurant's social media page.
Photo contest: You can ask people to share photos of themselves enjoying your food. The best photo will be chosen as the winner and featured on your restaurant's social media page.
Product giveaway: Give away a free item from your restaurant (e.g. a free meal, a gift card, etc.) to one lucky follower. To enter, followers must like and share your contest post.
19. Collaborate With Food Bloggers
The popularity of influencer marketing is rising as they have a big impact on consumer behavior. And when it comes to food, influencers can be a powerful tool for driving sales and promoting brand awareness.
By partnering with influencers who have a large following on social media, restaurants can tap into a whole new audience of potential customers. And because influencers are trusted sources of information, their endorsement can go a long way in persuading people to try out a new restaurant.
Influencers can also help to create a buzz around a restaurant's new menu items or special promotions. As long as they're properly leveraged, food bloggers and social media influencers can be valuable assets for any restaurant.
20. List Your Restaurant On Coupon Websites
Any restaurant looking to increase sales should consider listing itself on coupon websites. Many people use these websites to find deals on meals, and by listing your restaurant, you can attract people who are looking for a bargain.
Plus, listing on multiple coupon sites can help increase your restaurant's visibility and reach. Some of the most popular coupon websites include Groupon, Living Social, and Yelp.
21. Try Guerilla Marketing
Guerilla marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on surprising and novel ways to get attention and create word about the brand. It is often less expensive than more traditional forms of marketing, and it can be very effective in getting people to remember your restaurant.
There are many ways to implement guerilla marketing, but some common strategies include street team marketing, flash mobs, and guerilla art. It can also be a viral message or post on social media to catch the attention.
Street team marketing involves sending teams out into the community to promote your restaurant through flyers, sampling, and other activities.
Flash mobs are a bit more unexpected and can involve coordinating a group of people to come into your restaurant or street to dance or sing.
Guerilla art can be any type of creative display that promotes your restaurant, such as chalk drawings on sidewalks or wheat-pasting posters around town.
22. Start Email Marketing
Restaurants can use email marketing to cultivate loyalty among their customer base and drive repeat business. By sending regular updates about new menu items, special events, and promotional offers, restaurants can keep their customers interested and engaged.
It can also be used to target specific groups of customers, such as those who live in a certain area or who have recently dined at the restaurant. You can offer special discounts to those who have subscribed to your newsletter.
23. Elevate Your Video Marketing
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. But in the age of social media, videos are worth even more. A recent study found that across all age groups, people are more likely to watch a video than read an article.
And when it comes to restaurant marketing, videos can be extremely effective. Platforms like YouTube and Instagram offer a great way to reach potential customers and promote your business.
And with phones and cameras getting better and better, it’s easier than ever to create high-quality videos. There are a few things to keep in mind when using video marketing for restaurants.
First, show off your food! Customers want to see what they’re going to be eating, so make sure your videos include close-ups of your dishes.
Second, tell a story. Customers connect with businesses that have a compelling story to tell. Use your videos to introduce customers to your staff, your history, and your vision.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative! There are endless possibilities when it comes to restaurant video marketing. So get started and see how video can help you take your business to the next level.
24. Design A Great Website
A well-designed website will showcase the restaurant's menu, provide information about special events and promotions, and allow customers to make reservations online.
It also includes the basic information about your restaurants such as timing, contact details, and pin location.
A website helps you to create an overall feeling of professionalism and credibility. Reading customers' reviews on the website can encourage potential customers more likely to visit you.
25. Focus On Your Website’s SEO
Having an SEO-optimized website is an important component for your business to be found in search engine results. It's a process of making your site more visible to potential customers through search engines like Google and Bing.
By optimizing your site for relevant keywords and phrases, you make sure customers are shown your business when they are searching for restaurants.
While SEO can be a complex and time-consuming process, the potential benefits make it well worth the effort for any restaurant that wants to stay competitive in today's marketplace.
26. Start A Blog
A blog can be very beneficial for restaurant businesses as it provides a platform to share news and information. By sharing helpful tips, recipes, and insights into the industry, a restaurant blog can build trust and credibility for the business.
A blog is also a great way to share news about the restaurant, such as new additions to the menu, renovations, or special events. You can also promote discounts and special offers coming.
With so much competition, it's important to get creative and think outside the box to attract customers and stand out from the crowd. Hopefully, these ideas have given you some inspiration for marketing your own restaurant.
If you need help getting started or want professional assistance, contact us. We'd be happy to chat with you about your specific needs and come up with a customized plan to help increase traffic and sales at your eatery.