Running a restaurant can feel like a 24/7 job. That can make marketing it a hassle. However, since 9 out of 10 restaurants fail within their first year open, it is an absolute must to market your restaurant in a way that both attracts new customers and distinguishes yourself from the competition.
Below are our top 6 ways to market your restaurant – bringing in new customers and keeping the old ones coming back.
1. Reach Out To Local Bloggers
Local bloggers are a great way to reach a previously untapped audience. Many local bloggers blog about general topics related to the town and are usually more than happy to write about restaurants. There are a few ways to incentivize bloggers to write an article about your business. One of the best ways is to offer them a full-course meal for them and their friend(s) to enjoy for free in exchange for a review on their website. Make sure they know their review is appreciated by offering them discounted drinks and meals when they order from you again.
2. Use An Online Ordering System
Your customers want the process of ordering food to be as efficient as possible. By adding an online ordering system to your website, you can easily increase orders overnight. Although online ordering giants such as Seamless and GrubHub may seem attractive, know that they take up to 12% of all sales. That can easily eat into your profits margin (pun intended). It can be much more less expensive to go with an online ordering system such as NetWaiter, which takes a much lower percentage and allows you to be in complete control of the look and feel of your online menu (unlike any other online ordering service we’ve encountered).
3. Collect Your Customers Email Addresses
Email marketing is often overlooked by restaurant owners but it can be a highly profitable way to keep customers coming back. When you post something to Facebook or Twitter, you cannot be 100% sure that everyone that follows you saw it. Whereas with email, when you send something, you know it ended up in the recipients inbox. Email marketing can be a great way to offer incentives to past customers such as exclusive drink/meal specials.
4. Respond To Negative Feedback
Many restaurants try to ignore negative comments that are left on websites such as Yelp or Google My Business. A smart way to “flip” the negative into a positive is to use the public platform to show that you truly do care about your customers. Use these following tips when responding to negative comments:
- Ask what happened if the customer didn’t explain.
- Offer the customer a complimentary meal.
- Ensure the customer that the situation will never happen again and be sure it does not.
5. Increase Your Social Media Presence – Especially Facebook
Are you running advertisements on Facebook? If not, you should be. Facebook ads are a great way to hyper-target your demographic. They can work even better in local towns, where you truly know your town and customer. Not only should you be on Facebook but also Google+. While many people pass over Google+ as a social media platform, it is a huge factor in the local search rankings (the search results at the top of the page that include the business’ phone number and address). Having your business in the local search results can vastly improve the exposure you receive from search engines.
6. Optimize Your Website For Local SEO
When searching for a new restaurant to eat at, many people start their search with Google. that means optimizing your site so that search engines can easily read it is essential. Not only is it important to make sure that your site is optimized, you will want to begin creating content around specific search terms that potential customers might be searching, such as: “best mexican food hoboken nj” or “drink specials in red bank nj”.