If you have successfully opened your very own restaurant, then congratulations! You have taken the very first step of trying to make a name for yourself in the food business among thousands, with the belief that your restaurant is innovative and unique. After all, there is no such thing as an original idea anymore– just tweaked and revised. At the end of the day, this restaurant is just a business– and like all the rest, they come and go. Having good and scrumptious food is not the only factor anymore you can rely on to keep the restaurant afloat. You need to find a way to make sure that you stay on top of the food chain while maintaining that position. In the movie The Founder, Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton as the founder of the world’s largest food enterprise tells the McDonald’s brothers that: “Business is war. It’s dog-eat-dog, rat-eat-rat. If my competitor was drowning, I’d put a hose right in his mouth. I want to take the future, and I want to win!”
Before giving the restaurant strategies, I would like to point a few things from the movie. Prior to his position and title as The Founder of McDonald’s, he was a door-to-door salesman selling milkshake mixers and other things to the people. When opportunity came knocking at his doorstep courtesy of an order of eight mixers from the McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac, he took that opening by learning the tricks of the trade on how McDonald’s operated and made it his own, by buying the rights of the franchise when the brothers failed to see the bigger picture of the restaurant’s future. Part of his experience as a salesman, Kroc understood what progress meant more than anyone. That’s why it is always important to stay one step ahead of everyone, because if for a moment you decide to look back, it’ll be over. Here are some effective strategies for restaurant marketing you can use to full effect.
As we live in the 21st Century, you have to acknowledge that there are just some traditional methods that will not work anymore. So, get into the times and use whatever platforms that the internet can provide in order to boost your marketing strategy. As there are tons of social media platforms to choose from, when it comes to food, just remember that Instagram is King, Facebook is Queen and the rest are puns. For Instagram, it does not take much effort to post a picture of delectable food with some filters here and there to make it look more appealing. While for Facebook, consider making a page to post constant updates about the restaurant and its may promos. If you have no idea where to begin, consider hiring a social media expert to give you valuable insight.
Although having a page in Facebook is neat and all, a website would be more practical if you wish to rake the viewers in. Having a website for your restaurant business is equivalent to having a food shop in every part of the world. If you want your restaurant to grow big, then you’ve got to get a professional website. A website opens up opportunities for a much larger market of consumers. It makes it very easy for potential and even existing customers to find you. I know you’re thinking that putting up a website is lots of work but believe me, the reward is nothing compared to the work. Moreover, you could opt for hiring affordable professional website services to get the job done.
One way to bring in more people is to start your own contest– whether they be online or offline. What comes to mind when you think of online contests are the number of likes and shares collected by the said user and win some gift certificates and stuff like that for free (a few hashtags would also help). For offline or physical contests in the store, you will have to be a bit more creative with that. Although eating and drinking contests always seem to catch the eye of the crowd, creativity is also a factor that sets your contests apart from the rest of the establishments.
Even though social media platforms exist to get the word out fast and easy, email marketing gives that of a more personal touch to some of your contacts. There are two ways to grow your email list; by getting customers to fill forms in-person and by getting them to fill forms online. This is an efficient way to “bait” your customers and keep them coming back as you continuously showcase new additions to your menu and other exciting offers. However, email-marketing can be tricky if not properly executed. So if you’re new to email marketing, don’t fail to consult an expert to find the best email marketing strategy for your restaurant.
There is no shortage of food bloggers and personalities in the world. So while they are still around, considering reaching out to them as their subscribers (most of the time) would often take their word for it and eventually try the place out. Just as soon as enough attention is spurred between the masses, it will eventually the ears of bigger personalities and names in the media industry. And when that happens, do not forget to include them in your contacts to reach out to as well since would help promote advertise your business (for a fee).
Technology plays a big part in improving the helping society make their lives easier. Just as the social media is present to help promote the restaurant, there are also other apps and tools that have the same capability (in a different way). For instance, Zomato is an Indian restaurant search and discovery service founded in 2008 by Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah which currently operates in 23 countries, including Australia and United States. It provides information and reviews on restaurants, including images of menus where the restaurant does not have its own website. TripAdvisor, Inc. is not only meant for hotels, but also for restaurants as well. As for Foursquare is a local search-and-discovery service mobile app which provides search results for its users. The app provides personalized recommendations of places to go to near a user’s current location based on users’ “previous browsing history, purchases, or check-in history”.
According to Seth Godin, “ideas that spread win”. The power of the word-of-mouth brings a good impression to other people, especially to friends, colleagues and walk-ins. You can tap into the power of word of mouth by employing social paying. So, what exactly is social paying? This simply gives customers a chance pay for their food by sharing your delicacies on their social media pages. So if that one friend has at least a thousand followers on Facebook, all those followers would be sure interested to check it out. I guarantee that you’d get a couple of customers wanting to try those delicacies out!
In relation to the first strategy, social media marketing (SMM) is one of the most powerful tools for any business. This type of marketing can put your restaurant in front of thousands of potential customers as this goes beyond not just brand awareness, but also helps you gain insight into your target consumers. Social media marketing for restaurants serves as a way to gain insight and feedback from customers who can help improve the quality of service and restaurants. In order to get the best out of social media marketing, it must be executed by a social media expert. 99 Dollar Social is a top-notch social media service provider which caters to social media needs of businesses, restaurants included.
Nothing destroys a restaurant business like a bad review. Who wants to visit a restaurant with a “bland food” or “dead insect” review? All your efforts online could go to waste if you don’t have a good online reputation management strategy in place. Online reputation for a restaurant would simply involve responding to customer queries in a timely manner and responding to both negative and positive reviews in a way that would portray your restaurant in good light. However, if you have no experience with online reputation management; a great advice would be to employ an expert to tackle the polishing of your online reputation.
There are many ways aside from these strategies on planning your restaurant marketing. But you have to recall that the competition is growing by the day, and as the times change, so does the marketing strategy. There is no right and wrong strategy, but you always have to consider the most efficient method and discard the ones that are not working out.