Do you own a restaurant and want to promote it to attract new customers? If YES, here are 10 powerful marketing ideas & strategies for local restaurants.
This is a continuation of the article i wrote on how to start a restaurant business. Now it is a known fact that most restaurateurs are usually so preoccupied with their products and services that they forget about the marketing aspect. While it’s important to constantly think of ways to improve the quality of your offers, even more important is marketing because it’s the only strategy that will help you attract customers to those offers.
N.B-: This article was culled from the “Complete Guide to Starting a Restaurant Business.”
As a restaurateur, you need to find new customers, retain current customers and have them checking back regularly, and establish a reputation of excellence for your restaurant. Only with marketing can you achieve these goals.
Now, marketing your restaurant isn’t as daunting a task as it might seem. So I advice you check out these 10 low-cost and easy, but highly effective marketing ideas that will boost sales at your restaurant.
However, before you proceed, I recommend that you spend a minute to learn how to write a marketing plan for a restaurant; as this is vital to the successful execution of your marketing strategies. Here’s also a sample restaurant business plan you can use for FREE.
10 Powerful Marketing ideas & Strategies for Local Restaurants
1. Tweak your menu
Your menu is one of the strongest factors that determine the success or failure of your restaurant. A boring and outdated menu can send signals of low value. So, you must ensure that your menu is well written, enticing, and fresh. And adopt various tactics to influence customers’ choices and sell more of the menu items that are most profitable.
2. Implement frequency marketing
You are wondering what frequency marketing is? It is the adoption of various tactics for motivating your customers to keep checking back regularly. An example of such tactics is to offer discounts to repeat customers.
Regular guests are seen as your most valuable resource. Attracting repeat customers will help you get most profits from your business, since it will help you save huge advertising costs. Aside that repeat customers will check back regularly at your restaurant, they will also help you market your restaurant through word of mouth.
Another smart way to market your offerings is to up-sell. This involves reading the customers and suggesting appropriate side dishes or drinks that they will most likely be interested in. You should teaching your waiters, servers or cashiers to read the customers, suggest right side drinks, dishes or deserts. This will simultaneously increase your sales and improve the customer experience.
Amazon uses the strategy for selling more items. Intending buyers are shown some items related to their orders that they will most likely need, too.
4. Offer take-out and delivery services
If you are not offering take-out and delivery services, then you are doing your restaurant business a huge disservice. That is, you are leaving a lot of money on the table by practically cutting out the sales that could have come from those who want to eat their orders elsewhere and those who want their orders delivered to their homes or offices.
Since many people prefer these services, you need to offer them to increase sales. If you already offer both services, you need to market them, so that more people will be aware that you offer them.
5. Go green
It is important that you start implementing eco-friendly practices in your restaurant. Aside helping you lower utility costs and reduce pollution, this will give you an edge over the competition, since there is increasing awareness of the multiple benefits of going green.
Don’t just implement green practices, show and tell your customers how you conserve resources and reduce pollution; just to give them a health environment. This will send signals that your business really cares about customers and the environment in general.
6. Organize a contest
Organizing a contest among your customers is always a smart strategy for motivating them to check back frequently. It will also help you build a large customer base. An example of a contest idea is offering prizes for top three the highest spending customers over a 30-day period. There are many other ideas that you can use; it’s just a matter of brainstorming for contest ideas that people will be interested in.
7. Attract the press
While this may seem like it’s out of your control, there are actually plenty of steps you can take to ensure the local press takes notice of your business. For example, you may sponsor projects that will help your local community, make creative changes, sponsor local events, and do things that people will appreciate. Of course, you must make it obvious that your restaurant is the change maker.
8. Start a blog to promote your restaurant
Many consumers across the nation are now turning to the internet to make a decision of where they will eat out next. So if your restaurant do not have its own website, you are likely to lose a lot of potential customers. The internet is also a good media to boost your brand awareness.
Another good marketing idea is to set up a blog for sharing resourceful tips with your customers. For example, you can help them out in their own kitchen with tips on food prep, food freshness, complimentary food combos, and so on. Every week, you can teach a new recipe on your blog that visitors can try out.
9. Use social media
Social media is another effective tool for creating brand awareness and reaching out to potential customers. You can even build a brand following by setting up profiles for your restaurant on the major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn), and share relevant information with your followers to build credibility and customer loyalty.
10. Use email marketing
Email marketing is very effective for reaching and interacting with potential customers. Give them an incentive for signing up to your mailing list and send them useful tips, updates, holiday happenings, customer surveys, and email contests.
More Creative Marketing ideas for Restaurants
11. Network with other restauranteurs and customers
Another restaurant marketing idea is to join internet forums related with the business at hand. That way it would be easier to familiarize with the ins and outs in the industry plus it’s a great way to discover trends that the business might find useful in the future.
12. Start a Google Adword Campaign
Use Google AdWords for a PPC campaign. This is definitely one of the quirkiest advices among these others. However, the truth is that a PPC ad not only gives businesses some quality advertising space, but it also serves as an extra income generator.
13. Get testimonials from your loyal customers
Get testimonials from customers. Among the ideas shared in this article, this probably the most nerve-wracking. But it also goes to show that the restaurant is willing to listen to anything the customer has to say on the restaurant can improve its services.
14. Dress your employees in smart uniforms
Make your employees wear uniforms. It may not sound much but it can help customers distinguish the restaurant among its many competitions in the in industry at present. Plus it’s a great way to establish solidarity among each member of the crew.
15. Host events
To really attract customers to your restaurant, you should turn your restaurant into a place for tastings, parties, business and community gatherings, live music shows, stand-up comedy and other events. This will assist you to attract new customers and give your regular customers a reason to keep coming back.